What People Miss About ‘Quiet Quitting’

An image to accompany a story about quiet quitting
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(This article was originally published in NextIdea, our weekly newsletter on side hustles and pursuing financial independence. Sign up for it using the box below.)

When the phrase “quiet quitting” burst onto the scene earlier this summer, everyone had an opinion.

“I’m not going to go extra,” noted one Generation Z employee in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, which reported on the story about a month after the term began trending on TikTok. In case you need a refresher: quiet quitting is a buzzy new phrase that young people began using on social media to indicate their plans to do the bare minimum at work.

Quiet quitting is an anti-hustle sentiment in which workers are less willing to go above and beyond for a promotion or a raise. The strategy isn’t new, but the fresh moniker has given the approach more visibility and generated lots of conversation on what a successful career looks like in our modern world. For some, the movement shines a lot on the rat race that is our modern-day workforce. Others say that quiet quitting slashes your earning potential by leaving a stable job or being unwilling to work your way up the ranks in your industry.

@scottseiss #fyp #work #bgcdramaeffect #quietquitting ♬ original sound – Scott Seiss
@weekdayremedy #quietquitting #careeradvice #careertok ♬ original sound – Emily Smith

Some managers are mad. But when it comes down to it, quiet quitting is about setting boundaries with your time and your attention, and you’re going to need bionic boundaries to get your financial independence (FI) aspirations off the ground.

In order to start pursuing your FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) goals, you need bandwidth. You need to calculate your FIRE number and take a good hard look at your spending. You probably will need more income streams. And you need to know the basics of investing to ensure your excess income is pulling its weight for you in the form of passive income and compound interest.

FIRE experts agree that preserving mental bandwidth for other income-generating efforts is a good idea. “Instead of pouring every ounce of extra energy and time into your career in the hopes of a promotion, focus on building streams of income that you enjoy doing that live outside of your day job,” says Kiersten Saunders of Rich and Regular. Perhaps a more civil interpretation of quiet quitting is that setting boundaries at work will free up energy to cultivate your financial failsafe, rather than focus only on one career ladder that could unexpectedly topple without warning.

@managermethod #quietquitting #worktok #hrtiktok #pov #worklife #workstress #corporate #hrtok #whattosay ♬ original sound – Manager Method
@corporatedropout_mom Thought I would provide a hot take on quiet quitting by generation 🤣 #corporatetok #corporatemillennial #xennial #boomer #genz #millennialsatwork #corporatehumor #quietquitting #workjokes #worktok #9to5life #workproblemsbelike #quietquit ♬ original sound – Corporate Dropout

Diversify Your Career

Here’s an example to get you inspired.

As a dentist, Jake Andersen loved helping people. But he didn’t love the parts of the job where he would be on the phone with insurance companies all day long, and he knew he didn’t want to scale. (He also has student loans — to the tune of $420,000.) Instead, Andersen and his wife hatched a side hustle: a business called Whake Studios that makes ‘bucket list boards’ using a 3D printer. The small business success has helped him downshift his dentistry to two days a week and map out a payoff plan while also raising a toddler; he says a portfolio career has greatly improved his worklife balance.

Read his story here: This Dentist’s Side Hustle Makes $10K/Month, But Not One Penny Goes Toward Extra Payments on his $420,000 Student Loan. Here’s Why

Start looking at your money today, and figure out what habits or mindsets you need to “quiet quit” in order to steer yourself in the direction of financial independence.