The Power of Y.O.U. and Quiet Quitting: Part 1

Power Quote of the Month

“The gift of willingness is the only thing that stands between the quiet desperation of a disingenuous life and the actualization of unexpressed potential” Jim McDonald

“Quiet Quitting” is a newly minted term coined by Zaid Kahn, a 24-year-old engineer in New York City whose TikTok video on the topic recently went viral. This notion of quiet quitting has an eager audience as this trend has been spurred on by continued backlash to the 24/7 hustle culture following the great resignation. Put simply, quiet quitting is not about literally quitting one’s job. It is a stand employees are taking to set firm boundaries between home and work and regain some sense of balance by fulfilling only the basic requirements of the job, and nothing more. 

Employees’ resistance is a way of saying “I feel disengaged at work and have lost my incentive and motivation to perform at a higher level.” They also likely feel they have the upper hand to push back as employers struggle to attract new competitive talent while retaining their best talent. Employees are fighting their way to take their power back rather than allowing the employer to have power over them. A very recent Gallop poll reports that 50% of U.S. employees are “quiet quitting” at work, with 82% of that population stemming from millennial and Gen Z employees. 

But will this approach be sustainable for employees to achieve what they genuinely want while feeling heard, validated, and respected in the long term? Whose job is it to open the lines of honest communication leading to constructive solutions? How will healthier versus toxic work cultures be created in the future? 

Over the last two decades, starting with the events of 9/11, employees have increasingly sought greater purpose and meaning from their work because of global, financial, and health crises. These traumatic events create an urgency for individual curiosity and reflection to be about the relationship between work and personal life. They continue to seek how to make a positive impact in the world. 

This is WHAT drives employee engagement.

Now, more than ever, with Gen Z and millennials soon to be the dominant generations in the workforce, employees want relationships with progressive and thoughtful leaders, managers, and mentors who can coach them to amplify their growth and development. 

This is WHO drives employee engagement.

In my three decades of providing career development coaching, internally and externally, for both employers and employees, the phenomenon of “doing the basics” or coasting while job searching for another job is nothing new. When ready to move on, employees prefer having a job while searching for a new job or researching different career options. Distracted, they are unable to give their all. Likewise, employers are often slow to discipline underperforming employees who are not viewed as a good fit. Employers often fear starting over with a new employee along with the high price tag of new hire replacement costs or worse, litigation. 

Under these circumstances, concealing the truth combined with a lack of direct, balanced communication about the needs, goals, and values of both parties, is a recipe for serious disengagement, acting out, and decreased productivity. 

Quiet quitting is a larger cry for help in dealing with broken and outdated work cultures. The bigger long-term trend, I believe, will be about leveraging this disruption in designing more healthy and productive workplaces for the future.  Working and living in quiet desperation is not a healthy way of being. 

While there is no quick fix or simple solution to address this complex ecosystem, in next month’s newsletter I offer some reflective questions to help both employers and employees generate ideas leading to a more honest and open dialogue for creating fresh solutions.

Stay tuned for next month’s newsletter.

In the meantime, please email me your thoughts and ideas about Quit Quitting at

30 Day Power Challenge

Begin answering the questions above or generate your own questions and answer those instead. Commit to taking one small action a day to facilitate re – engagement. Positive actions are contagious! 

I want to hear from you. Send me an email and please let me know how you did with this month’s challenge and the power resources and tools. You can also connect with me via my email: to learn how my services can benefit you and set up a complimentary discovery call with me.

Are you ready to take action and be accountable for your desired results?

Do you want challenge yourself to grow professionally and personally? If your answer is YES to both for creating sustainable change, then contact Nancy to learn more about the steps for getting there.

Nancy Friedberg

Nancy Friedberg, M.A.

Master Coach and President, Career Leverage, Inc.
Marshall Goldsmith Certified Stakeholder Centered Coach
Certified Now What? Facilitator

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