The Great Resignation. Quiet Quitting. What The F***?

Pim de Morree
Written by Pim de Morree October 15, 2022

The Great Resignation was all the hype earlier this year. Then Quiet Quitting took over the headlines when hordes of people popularized "doing the bare minimum at work" on apps like TikTok. While it has a nice ring to it, the real question is: what the fuck?!

What is the great resignation?

Some call it the Big Quit, others refer to it as the Great Reshuffle, but you’ve probably seen the trend dubbed the Great Resignation by the majority of folks talking about it.

So, what is this all about? It’s all pretty simple: around early 2021, tons of workers started resigning from their jobs en masse. And it’s still happening on practically every continent.

Despite having “resignation” in the most popular name of the trend, don’t assume that people are simply walking away from work altogether—quite the opposite, actually. People are resigning from their jobs to find better ones, even those who had been in their positions for years.


So, what’s driving all this? As with most labor and work trends over the last few years, the main catalyst seems to be the COVID-19 pandemic and its subsequent fallout. The pandemic shined a bright light on a lot of the pervasive problems in the workforce, while also forcing organizations to come up with new ways of getting work done—remotely and otherwise. And, of course, it also brought out the worst in a lot of companies. Put that all together, and you have a situation rife for a gigantic shake-up.

Guess what? People aren’t putting up with bullshit anymore; there’s more leverage than ever in some respects. They’re gonna go find someplace better to work, and there’s really nothing their (now-former) companies can do about it.

This is an exciting time.

The Great Resignation. Quiet Quitting. What The F***?
Click to tweet

What is quiet quitting?

This new work environment we now find ourselves in has also given birth to another phenomenon that is entirely understandable in some respects: quiet quitting.

Quiet quitting is when you’re still showing up for work but doing the absolute bare minimum to get by. This trend has resulted in workers pushing the limits for just how little they can do on the job without getting reprimanded or fired for it. In many cases, it’s easy to assume that many people doing this don’t give a damn if they get in trouble and are simply seeing how long they can get away with it.

Again, this is not the result of people just suddenly deciding to be bad. Quiet quitting is often a direct consequence of shitty workplaces that don’t value the time or mental health of their employees. Yes, a viral TikTok may have given the trend a spotlight earlier this year, but it’s all just a culmination of many organizations outright exploiting their workers for decades.

But the pandemic, its fallout, and an increasing labor shortage blew it all up.

4738 1140x0
Feeling inspired? Discover 8 radical lessons from 150+ pioneering organizations to spark change in your workplace.

Join us to explore these transformative insights and unlock the first chapter of our book, on the house! GET YOUR FREE CHAPTER NOW!

What's new?

I remember quiet quitting; I did it myself for quit some time before finally quitting for real to start Corporate Rebels. Afterward, we learned that it's nothing special to feel like that in a job. With the vast majority of people being disengaged (or even “actively disengaged”) on the job, work isn't working for most people. And it hasn't been for decades.

So while these terms are very much hyped up these days, the problem isn't new. Not at all.

As mentioned earlier, one of the reasons why it's more popular to quit (quietly or loudly) is the fact that it's an employee's market these days. Unemployment rates are at extreme lows while staff shortages abound. Employees have much more to choose from and retain more bargaining power than they had some time ago.

And that's a great thing. Employers have to change to become more attractive to employees.

Time to let go of the:

It's time to become a place where employees find passion, meaning, and motivation while being respected on all levels. Even though that “time” obviously arrived long ago, hopefully, the issues caused by these two movements have ramped up the pressure on organizations to actually care about their workers and their overall well-being.

The tides have indeed turned (even if just a bit), and we’re excited to see how it all plays out.

Written by Pim de Morree
Pim de Morree
As co-founder of Corporate Rebels I focus on: researching, writing, speaking, and building our company.
Read more
Nov 19, 2023
Ethical AI and Self-Organization: Charting a Path Forward
Joost Schouten Written by Joost Schouten
AI at scale in our society scares me. With wealth inequality perpetually growing, anger in public discourse on the rise, and little…
Read more
Oct 29, 2023
From Sociocracy to Deep Democracy: Comparing Decision-Making Methods
Lennard Toma Written by Lennard Toma
When it comes to decision-making, there are several types of consent to choose from. Which one is best for your organization? Should you…
Read more
Oct 15, 2023
The Power of Good Jobs and Progressive Management
Joost Minnaar Written by Joost Minnaar
In August, we traveled to Hanoi for Bucket list visits to a group of progressive Vietnamese businesses that challenge the status quo. On…
Read more
Oct 08, 2023
Mastering Group Decision-Making: Striking the Perfect Balance
Lisa Gill Written by Lisa Gill
At the heart of any organizational culture is how we make decisions. In traditional organizations, there usually isn’t a particularly…
Read more
Oct 01, 2023
Rethinking Workplace Transformation: The Art of Subtraction
Joost Minnaar Written by Joost Minnaar
Why you should always ask employees to delete things, not to add things.  During workshops with our clients, we often do this simple…
Read more
Sep 24, 2023
Shattering the Illusion of Uniqueness Bias in Leadership
Joost Minnaar Written by Joost Minnaar
“We are too small.” “We are too big.” “We are in retail.” “We are in health care.” “We are a non-profit.” “We are in highly regulated…
Read more
Read all articles

Download: Free Guide

Unlock our in-depth guide on trends, tools, and best practices from over 150 pioneering organizations.

Subscribe below and receive it directly in your inbox.

    We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at any time.