Upon Further Inspection

29 Signs Your Co-Worker Is “Quiet Quitting"

Find out if Sally from marketing has some semblance of work-life balance.

by Ginny Hogan
Quiet Quitting
Michael Erhardsson, Ngampol Thongsai, EyeEm, Jose Luis Pelaez Inc, Ian Dennis, Karl Tapales/Getty Images

Quiet quitting” is a trend sweeping the nation, referring to workers who do the bare minimum, aka have some semblance of work-life balance. While it’s been percolating for years, the pandemic exacerbated the rate of quiet quitting: decreases in total members of the workforce have led to existing employees being asked to do more for the same pay, and many have had enough — and they’ve taken to TikTok to share their experiences. It’s not the same as quitting — these quiet quitters aren’t officially part of the “Great Resignation” yet, since they keep their jobs — but it’s a step in that direction.

While you might not yet be brave enough to jump on the bandwagon, you have some co-workers who definitely have. If you want to find out whether or not Sally from marketing has turned in her quiet notice, read on.

  1. They’re leaving work while the sun is still out. I mean, the sun sets at 7:45 p.m., but still.
  2. They walk in at 8:59 a.m. without a hint of shame. The workday starts at 9. You’ve been here since 6:45. The indignity!
  3. They seem energized. It took you a while to figure this one out, since you so rarely see people with energy.
  4. They only drink three cups of coffee per day.
  5. They suddenly now know how to golf.
  6. And garden!
  7. They’re phoning it in, which is to say, they only use their work phone when they’re in the office.
  8. They don’t refer to your boss as “the boss.” They call him Steve.
  9. You’re very jealous of them, but you can’t quite put your finger on why.
  10. They eat the entirety of their lunch away from their desk. As in, there is no eating happening at their desks. The only thing that happens at their desk is exactly eight hours of work. But the Sweet Greens — that happens elsewhere. You don’t know where, which confuses you.
  11. They’ve started talking about how much they love unions.
  12. They somehow work the number of hours per day they’re paid for.
  13. They have a clear sense of their job responsibilities. Like, if someone asks them their job responsibilities, they can recite them back.
  14. They only respond to emails from 9-5. And not even 12-1. Because that’s when they’re consuming Sweet Greens at an undisclosed location.
  15. They ask for overtime pay for working overtime. Odd — it would never have occurred to you to put those two things together.
  16. Their Instagram is popping. They seem to always be amongst leaves. How do they have so much free time to hike? It’s almost like they’re free all day Saturday.
  17. They’ve started to seem vaguely European. Maybe it’s their new accent, or the fact that they took all of August off.
  18. They sometimes say “no.”
  19. There’s a certain “joie de vivre” in the way they act around the office. Maybe it’s their sweatshirt — the one that literally says “joie de vivre” on it. When do they have time to shop for new clothes?
  20. They say they’re not burnt out, and you believe them. You’ve never believed anyone who said this before. You thought burnout was a constant part of the human experience, like acid reflux or your partner’s annoying mom.
  21. They claim to feel younger.
  22. They look younger.
  23. They seem younger.
  24. They smile.
  25. More than smile — they whistle.
  26. They put a poster that says “Live Laugh Love” above their desk, and what’s worse … they seem to be following its instructions. You only ever take the first step, at most.
  27. You seek to copy their every move.
  28. They actually quit, and they’re much happier.
  29. You quit and all of a sudden you realize you don’t have a plan. You should have quietly quit, first.