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  • Hallie Moberg Brauer

Quiet Quitting: A Question of Social Justice

Oct 31, 2022

It’s been hard to miss the TikTok buzz around the alliterative phenomenon of ‘Quiet Quitting’. There is a lot of talk about what quiet quitting is, why it’s coming to the forefront, and its causes and implications For us at ADR Consulting Group, ‘Quiet Quitting’ is about more than just job dissatisfaction. It is an issue with social justice at its core, and the best way to curb its impact is to correct the injustice.

What is quiet quitting?

Opinions vary a bit around exactly what quiet quitting is- some describe it as simply not taking your job quite as seriously. Others say that is the beginning of actually quitting your job, as you start to leave your job mentally, before you actually give that two week notice. And the most common description given by many Gen Zers who brought this concept to the forefront in the wake of the Great Resignation is when someone stops going above and beyond what is in their direct job description. Regardless of how exactly you define it, underlying the concept is an issue of social justice.

Why is it a social justice issue?

How could the viral TikTok concept of ‘Quiet Quitting’ possibly be an issue of social justice? For a lot of people who are quiet quitting, they are simply no longer willing to work for free. Going above and beyond your job description, often means doing work and meeting expectations of your organization, knowing you will not be fairly compensated in return. 

For a long time, companies and organizations have relied on the unpaid labor, the ‘above and beyond’ of their employees to increase profit margins and to be more competitive. And more often than not, that extra unpaid labor is done by women or people of color. The Women in the Workplace 2021 study, conducted by found that “Compared to men at the same level, women managers are taking more action to support their teams, from helping employees manage their workloads to checking in regularly on their overall well-being. Senior-level women are twice as likely as senior-level men to spend substantial time on DEI work that falls outside their formal job responsibilities.” 

Unpaid labor has a long history of falling on historically marginalized groups, and the controversy of unpaid labor and gender issues continues to disadvantage women greatly around the world. Women, particularly women of color are more likely to burnout in their roles because of expectations around unpaid and unrecognized, “Office Housework.”  Thus, as people start to say, “No, thank you,” to continuing to do work in their role that will never be recognized or compensated, it’s about workers rights, fair compensation, and desiring workplaces and workplace cultures that are more inclusive and equitable. That is why quiet quitting is a social justice issue.

What can leaders do? 

As more and more people opt to protect their time and only perform the work they are being compensated for, what can companies and organizations do to support this? Or if their business relies on this labor getting done, how can they ensure it does in fact, get done? We have a few suggestions.

  • Rewrite job descriptions- If what people in your organization need to do is go above and beyond their job description, change the job descriptions. Add in as much information and as many pieces of what the job entails and what is required of the person in that role. Then, when someone gets hired they have the full understanding of what the role is they will be taking on.

  • Offer fair compensation for the work being done- If the job description is changed to match what the role entails, then change the compensation to match that expectation. Make fair and equitable compensation a reality in the organization.

  • Change organizational culture- Create a culture of signing off in your organization. If it is not absolutely necessary to be available 24/7 don’t set that unspoken expectation, unless you are willing to compensate people accordingly. Along with this, be sure that the office housework is shared equitably, don’t let this work fall on one or two people, and be proactive about sharing the load. 

And for employees…

As always, you have to do what is right and best for you as an employee and a person. If it makes sense to stay in your role, but take a step back, as long as you are meeting the expectations of your role and your supervisor, it’s more than ok to set healthy boundaries.  And if you feel that you are not being compensated fairly for the work you are doing, then advocate for yourself to be fairly compensated. 

We here at ADR Consulting Group LLC, always want to hear from you. Do you have experience with Quiet Quitting? Share your experience with us!


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