The newly popularized phrase "quiet quitting" celebrates completing work duties without going above and beyond. While many Americans define quiet quitting differently, the current discussion largely has followed the lead of a TikTok post from Zaiad Khan, who helped popularize the concept in a July video as "not outright quitting your job" but instead "no longer subscribing to the hustle culture mentally that work has to be our life."
While Khan's definition of quiet quitting describes a longstanding attitude toward work-life balance in many workplaces, the phrase has inspired recent analyses, think-pieces, and now — a poll. A new YouGov survey of 1,000 U.S. adult citizens indicates that 47% of Americans support the idea of doing a job without taking on additional responsibilities that do not offer added compensation. About one-quarter (27%) oppose the idea, and 26% are uncertain.
This poll's questions — like the popularity of the phrase "quiet quitting" — are new, so we can't say if attitudes have changed. Further research is needed to understand if there is a new focus on work-life balance or simply a new way of talking about it.
Despite quiet quitting being associated with younger generations, the poll finds similar margins of agreement for the idea among each of four major age groups. Adults under 30 (24%) are slightly more likely than people in older age groups to "strongly support" quiet quitting, but each age group is more likely to strongly or somewhat support it than to strongly or somewhat oppose it. Overall, Democrats (56%) are more likely than Independents (47%) or Republicans (37%) to support finishing a job without opting into added responsibilities. Attitudes among full-time workers are similar to those of Americans overall.
The current conversation around quiet quitting is largely influenced by the phenomenon of workplace burnout, or chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. Three-quarters (76%) of Americans consider burnout a very or somewhat common issue in the United States. Two-thirds of adults who are working full-time or part-time (67%) say burnout is common in their workplace, and most American workers (57%) say it is common for them.
Though a question in this poll defined quiet quitting as "doing a job without taking on additional work," many Americans would define the phrase differently. In a question that referred to quiet quitting and was asked before the one that defined the phrase, more than one-third (37%) who said they have heard about quiet quitting said it means doing the bare minimum amount of work needed to not get fired. About one-quarter of this group believe it means resigning from a job position without telling anyone, and 19% say it refers to declining additional work that you are not being financially compensated for.
To account for the lack of a universally accepted definition for quiet quitting, YouGov also asked Americans whether they agree with basic statements about work. There are clearer age divides for many of the questions. For instance, 64% of adults under 30 agree that employees should only do the work they are paid for — no more, no less. That agreement decreases significantly among older adults. Just 28% of adults 65 and older agree with that statement.
Adults under 30 are less likely than their older counterparts to say that employees should always try to go above and beyond at work. Two-thirds of Americans (68%) agree that employees should always try to go above and beyond, compared to 50% of adults under 30. This belief is especially strong among Americans who are 45 and older: 77% of this age group agree with this claim about what employees should do.
There is some consensus across age groups that employees should set boundaries around the amount of extra work they do: 71% of Americans agree with this statement, as does between 66% and 79% of each age group.
This poll was conducted on August 22 - 25, 2022 among 1,000 U.S. adult citizens. Explore more on the methodology and data for this poll.
Image: Adobe Stock (Vasyl)