Do you get the feeling that your manager has avoided engaging with you or perhaps you have noticed a prolonged absence of meaningful feedback? Or conversely, if you are honest with yourself do you feel withdrawn or apathetic when it comes to your work? There are highs and lows in any job and sometimes a break and time to unwind is the perfect antidote. The end of year holiday season is however an opportune time to stop and reflect on your career and decide if the timing is right to start seriously looking at new opportunities.

The lowdown on buzzwords

There has been significant flux in the labour market of late, fuelled in part by the transformative impact of a global pandemic. Quiet or “soft” quitting is a trending term popularised on social media that refers to employees who are not going above and beyond at work, essentially just meeting their job description. Depending on which camp you sit in, quiet quitters are either working fewer hours than expected without putting in extra effort, or, simply doing the work they are paid to do. This could manifest itself in intentional or unintentional actions. Similarly, quiet firing can be either deliberate or inadvertent actions by a manager or workplace that create an environment that encourages employees to quit – you are ignored or overlooked to the point where you decide to leave.

What to look for

Quiet quitting:
If you are a people leader and concerned about individuals who you think may be quitting quietly, the first obvious sign is withdrawal. There can be a lot of reasons why someone is not engaging in their work, so it is always best to be upfront with team members and offer support and advice. But if this behaviour descends into negativity and or an obvious lack of interest and enthusiasm, then you may have a problem.

If you are the “quiet quitter” well it’s time for a bit of self-reflection. Not every day will be a bunch of roses, there are times when you enjoy your job more (or less) than other times. There’s no issue with simply doing the work you are paid to do, so long as there is no underlying animosity driving your behaviour. The problem is that any negative feelings that you just can’t shake will fester and overtime they will impact your performance – others will notice too which can have a detrimental effect on your workplace relationships and your reputation.

Quiet firing:
The first sign of quiet firing is communication. For managers, are you finding that you are interacting less and less with a member of your team that for whatever reason you find challenging? If you feel that you are in fact being quietly fired, it’s important to remember that in some instances this situation is a reflection of your manager’s approach to leadership (or lack thereof). If your workplace is not providing opportunities for development, growth and learning, or has a lacklustre approach to performance management, then raise the issue and ask the hard questions of your manager or HR department. Give yourself a timeframe for the situation to improve and if there is no discernible change, consider your options carefully.

What next?

Changing jobs is hard. We often hear from job seekers that pursuing new opportunities is a job in itself. Changing careers, well that’s next level challenging. In fact, the Holmes-Rahe Life Stress Inventory rates a change in career alongside that of experiencing the death of a close friend. Pretty scary stuff.

Of course, there are a whole bunch of things to consider and weigh up with any major change in life. What are the risks associated with changing jobs/careers? Maybe you really enjoy your co-workers and are just slightly frustrated with your work or lack of advancement, is that motivation enough to change jobs?

The advice we consistently give is if you are not in a job you enjoy and have some frustration, regardless of what that is, if not dealt with that feeling will not magically go away. Most times, it will snowball. Of course, your job or career does not define who you are and there are other ways outside of work to seek fulfilment and joy. But for most of us, that’s a seemingly unachievable balance to achieve. Which begs the question, is your current work situation worth the suffering when there is something that can be done to ease the burden?

Need help?

Decipher Group is a market leading, independent recruitment firm specialising in management, executive and governance level placements. We have been connecting talented people with exciting opportunities for over 15 years. Reach out to our team today – empowering and enabling talented people to meet their career ambitions is part of the Decipher difference.

The Decipher Team

To stay on top of current recruitment trends and technologies follow Decipher Group on LinkedIn.

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