The pandemic will be remembered for many things. There’s COVID-19, a virus that will be forever etched on the minds of millions of people for years to come. Many lost loved ones due to the overpowering virus that is still hard to grasp. Masks were not just a temporary fixture but have become a permanent wardrobe piece for millions. Every single person in America experienced the frustration that comes with being quarantined. Then there’s quiet quitting. If you’re not familiar with quiet quitting, you will be. The pandemic upended the regular work routine for many businesses nationwide and left millions of workers rethinking how they worked.
However, quiet quitting may soon be a thing of the past, as many tech companies have taken to laying off thousands of workers — all at once. With such harsh work treatment from tech companies, is it time to rethink quiet quitting on your job? Let’s find out.
What Is Quiet Quitting?
Quiet quitting is a trend during the pandemic that refers to doing only the minimum on the job — no more than what’s needed to get the job done. Essentially, it means not expending extra effort on anything deemed unnecessary. It does not involve going above and beyond the call of duty. It involves doing as little as possible without getting fired.
A person who is quiet quitting lacks any motivation or enthusiasm for the job, and only intends on fulfilling their primary responsibilities and doing just enough to get a paycheck.
How Quiet Quitting Works
While quiet quitting seemed to become a thing during the pandemic, some say it started as early as 10 years prior but wasn’t as big. During the pandemic, when businesses shut down and left many workers jobless, people began to look harder at their work environment and where working harder got them. They had given the job everything but had little to show during the pandemic.
As a result, people’s eyes were opened, and they decided to leave their undervalued jobs for better ones. Those who stayed on jobs that didn’t value them decided to put themselves first. No more late hours, showing up early, attending unnecessary meetings, or doing work they didn’t need to. They concentrated on what was more important to them, went home to their families at decent hours, and avoided all the necessary work stress by not overworking.
Did Quiet Quitting Force Layoffs in the Tech Sector?
To many managers, quiet quitting can be viewed as slacking on the job. And many companies have responded in kind by firing employees who were quiet quitting, while others have found it difficult to fire them.
Recently, however, the tech industry has loudly laid off thousands of workers at a time, with no apologies in sight. Could it be that companies are finally fed up with quiet quitting?
From March 2022 through November 2022, many people in the tech sector suddenly found themselves without jobs. Twitter, Meta, Amazon, Netflix, Shopify, Zillow, Uber, Google, and other tech companies laid off over 150,000 workers. By early 2023, nearly 20,000 more workers were among them.
Are tech companies the first industries to begin letting go of thousands of employees who have decided to pursue quiet quitting? According to many of the companies who have experienced these layoffs, there are a few reasons for the layoffs. One of the main reasons can be accredited to the pandemic, but quiet quitting may have nothing to do with it.
Many tech companies over-hired employees during the pandemic — when people were getting online and work-from-home-gigs like never before. Not only that, but consumers invested a lot in technology when quarantined at home. Social media and technology upgrades with the latest gadgets in the home were all the rage, and tech companies profited like crazy. The assumption was that the demand for technology and online needs would continue for some time, and they hired as such. Now that the pandemic has subsided and life, as it was before, is resuming, the internet boom has faded, offline life has reopened, and what were those companies to do with all those employees? It seems like those companies weren’t prepared to handle the change in the market. Trying to keep all of those employees became just too expensive.
Are Tech Layoffs Representative of All Companies?
While the number of layoffs over the past several months may seem alarming, they pale compared to the overall workforce. Layoffs across the labor market are still very low compared to pre-pandemic levels.
Beck Frankiewicz, President and Chief Commercial Officer of ManpowerGroup says, “With 263,000 jobs added in November and unemployment remaining at 3.7%, this phenomenal labor market is showing little sign of slowdown. Today, there are 1.5 jobs for every person looking for work, and we’re still three million short of what we need for full employment.”
And while the technology sector may be scaling, other industries are scaling up. In essence, what has happened in the tech sector bares no resemblance or representation of what’s happening in the overall labor market.
The Bottom Line
It’s assuring to know that if you’re among the many who are still practicing quiet quitting, that you may not be a target for being laid off — yet. However, if quiet quitting is something you will continue to practice, you may want to ensure that you do it with the utmost accuracy as possible on your job. While it is great to set boundaries to prioritize what’s most important in your life, make sure the paycheck you receive is honestly earned without question. With at least 50% of the U.S. workforce classified as quiet quitters, should it ever come down to letting go of those performing the least, you want to ensure you have a leg up on your competition.
Check out these side gigs if you need something else to fall back on if you see signs of a layoff.