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Breaking The Silence of Quiet Quitters: Who is accountable and what we can do about it – Part III

Are employees quitting too soon?

As we know, quiet quitters can be leaders and managers alike. But what about our role as an employee reporting to those folks? Assuming we have other options, (which we currently do in the U.S. based on recent reports stating there are about two jobs open for every job seeker), maybe we can try a few things to improve our situation before quietly quitting. I don’t see these as going “above and beyond.” I see them as taking full responsibility for our own situation and doing something to improve it.

Here are three questions for employees to consider before leaving their current employers:

1. Have you said something?
Seven times, at least. I know it’s a lot, especially if you’re already burnt out, or if you’re an introvert who prefers listening to speaking. But the “7X7” change communications model is a proven go-to: Communicate changes you’d like to see at least seven times, in at least seven different ways. If nothing changes, bummer, but you will have gained the integrity of putting in the personal effort. Nobody can call you a quitter for that.

2. Have you done something?
Did you receive little to no reaction to saying something seven times? Then model the change you want to see, which is another change truism. Maybe meet halfway between working fully remote and what your manager’s requesting. Set new boundaries your boss and your team agree to. Come up with ways to increase transparency of your work. Get a group of colleagues together to brainstorm ways to build a safer, more inclusive, and positive workplace. We’re all in this together. It might be worth trying a few things together rather than quietly quitting on our own.

3. Have you owned something? 
We’re accountable for our own self-care. Have you made more massage appointments, started new workouts, courageously dug deeper to explore who you really are and what you love doing most? Be honest. Maybe you chose your current job for the wrong reasons. It’s OK. Many of us do. And we change over time. Own the process of re-discovering the best of who you are. Then give your best to your current employer, a new one… or do it through Esty, Fiverr, Guru – whatever your favorite freelance platform is.

Quiet Quitting Inforgraphic

Silence is a good thing.

When things do quiet down, answers appear for all us – as leaders, managers, and employees.

I think we should be careful, though, whatever our corporate role is. If we hunker down too long and hide in the shadows of polarities like quitting and being engaged at work or in life, we can stay stuck and “languish” – a term coined by sociologist Corey Keyes as “the absence of well-being.” Organizational psychologist, Adam Grant, describes it “as if everything in life is in grayscale as opposed to vivid color — the sense of being a little joyless or aimless.” Languishing like that can dull motivation, interfere with our focus, and on average, make us three times more likely to cut back on work. Watch Grant’s YouTube video here. Then watch the signs for yourself!

Be accountable to you.

How can you do what’s in your control to  balance corporate and creative passions? Consider this haunting but inspirational quote from American poet Mary Oliver: “The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time.”

Sure, let’s quit on employers who don’t value our best work. But let’s not quit on ourselves. Let’s crank the volume on the best versions of ourselves and send that into the world where it’s needed most.


This article is third in a series of three posts about leaders, managers, and employees.

About the Author

John NielsonClient Lead

“Think like a marketer. Act like a change agent.” It’s John’s mantra when working to accelerate the digital change journeys of Fortune 500 organizations for the past 20 years. Expect his deep expertise in developing and deploying organizational change-management strategy & readiness activities, building and writing communication campaigns, and managing sponsors, teams & projects to educate, align, and engage all stakeholders in critical business initiatives. John also brings a fresh energy that inspires everyone to have a little fun along the way and make change stick. Proven. Creative. Gritty. Count on John for digital change leadership that sparks business transformation.

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