Quiet Quitting Isn’t New (345)

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Quiet Quitting

In this episode, I talk about Quiet Quitting. We’ve heard a lot about people who are quiet-quitters, especially since the “end” of the Covid pandemic, around the time everyone started going back to their offices.  

But Quiet Quitting isn’t what I thought it was, and it certainly isn’t new. That’s what I go into on this podcast. 

I hope you’ll join me for this episode!  

To connect with Mike:
– Website: https://mikemalatesta.com/
– LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mikemalatesta/

Full transcript below.

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345. Quiet Quitting Isn’t New.01.20.2023

Thu, Dec 29, 2022 1:28PM • 9:25


quiet, quitting, quitters, matters, podcast, work, people, disengagement, polling firms, episode, phrase, employee, valuable, engaged, stares, investing, thought, cooperative, catchy name, spotify


Hey, everybody, it’s Mike. And this is the How’d It Happen Podcast, solo series, the short episodes that I do every Friday, they drop every Friday. And they are about things that I am thinking about something that I’ve heard something that someone has shared with me that I kind of put my own little take on and then share with you in the hopes that if it was interesting to me, it may very well be interesting and instructive, and valuable to you. And if you’re familiar with the show on Mondays, I do longer conversations with successful people from all walks of life. Those are about an hour. And in those I get to really dig, dig into how it happened for them, how this success happened for the person on the show. But more importantly, why it matters, why it matters to them, why it matters to you, why it matters to me, why it matters to the world. So if you haven’t checked that out, please feel free to check that out on Monday. 

So this episode I’m calling ‘Quiet Quitting Isn’t New.” Quiet quitting isn’t new. So play on words there because quiet quitting, you’ve heard of that right? Quiet quitting is ike the quote unquote, new human resources or HR phrase of the year, a phrase that I think was born in pandemic times. And while the phrase might be new, it’s sentiment, like what it’s designed to describe, is far from new.

And here’s what I mean, I’ve been an employee or a business owner for more than 35 years. And damn, it hurts to say that that’s all that’s a long time. But anyway, that’s the truth. And from either perspective, either as an employee or as a business owner, I can say for sure that people have been quiet quitting forever.

When I first heard the term, I thought it was meant to describe people that people were “quitting” by working from home or just not doing the work. Now, that’s new. That’s new. But as it turns out, at least, at least as I understand it, if I have it right, quiet quitting doesn’t mean that at all.

Instead, it means that millions of people aren’t going above and beyond at work. Yeah, they’re just doing what they have to do to get by. And when I discovered that, I thought, well, that’s not new. I mean, that’s far from New.

Gallup and these other polling firms have been telling us for what seems like forever, that a high percentage of people are actively disengaged at work. And it feels like nothing moves the needle on that in terms of improvement, vis-à-vis less disengagement, the the numbers always seem to come out and they just don’t seem to move, no matter what businesses do to move it. I know that that was something that I’ve struggled with my whole career; what do you do? What do you do to actually move that needle? I know there are a lot of experts out there who probably have not actually done it themselves, but who can tell you, you know, what they think you should do to keep people engaged, but I feel like no matter what you do, there’s always going to be a group of people who just aren’t going to be fully engaged, but that’s another story for another podcast.

With the quiet quitting thing it’s like to me maybe calling it something new, quiet quitting instead of active disengagement, for example, will be the thing that unlocks movement towards improving this disappointing metric, and I hope if it does that, then I’ll be a fan of this whole quiet quitting thing. And let’s face it, quiet quitting is a much catchier name, for sure, than active disengagement or than disengagement. I hope so. I have to admit to you that I’m a little skeptical because employees are people and people are a fickle bunch. No matter how much we have to be happy about, like, we have freedom, we have music, we have books, we have games, movies, etc. And yes, we have work, too. But we get a lot of enjoyment, or is it satisfaction, from focusing on what we’re not happy about unfortunately. And we’re also willing to accept less from ourselves than we accept from others. Like our kids, for example, when’s the last time you told your kid not to go above and beyond? Or not to cooperate and help others do their best? Have you ever done that? I know, I’ve never done that.

So back to my 35 years of experience. Yeah, that hurts. Yes, some people have been quiet quitting forever. I don’t know what you can do about these people, but I believe they are a small number, way smaller than they’re made out to be, way smaller than justifies a new description. 

Most people, and I mean by a wide margin, want to contribute to their work, to their co-workers, to their company’s customers, and yes, even to their companies in a meaningful and cooperative way. They may have good and bad days, and let’s face it, who doesn’t, but they are light-switch on 

more often than they’re light-switch off. 

So what should we call them? Quiet stayers. I don’t know. It’s not a really good word. That’s not really good phrase, but it’s best I could come up with. So are you paying attention to? And are you celebrating your quiet stayers? Or are you spending all your time trying to fix the quiet quitters that may be beyond fixing.

So I’m interested in where you come down on this. I come down on it like this; I desperately want to convert quiet quitters or disengaged people, I want them to be quiet stayers, and I want them to be engaged. But I really do think it matters more for me to focus on the people who are in the game, who are the quiet stayers, who are engaged, because those are the ones that are going to help me achieve my mission in life. And those are the ones that I think are going to help you achieve your mission in life as well.


As for the quiet quitters, I don’t know what to do about them. I don’t know what I owe them. I don’t know what I can do to make them happy. And maybe there’s nothing, but I wish that more people would be quiet stayers. Make the best of the situation that you’re in. you chose it. Let’s face it, you chose it. It didn’t choose you.

Something to think about. Thank you so much for investing your time with me today. I’d love to hear from you. If you have anything to say about this episode or any episode, you can reach me on my website, just my name Mikemalatesta.com. Or you can hit me up on LinkedIn. If you have not, or are not subscribed to the podcast, please consider subscribing, hit the subscribe or the Follow button on Apple or Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. I do appreciate you investing your time with me. I know it’s valuable, and my job is to bring you valuable that makes it make sense value that makes it make sense. So until we meet next time, please maximize your greatness and make your future your property, a future that you want to own

Mike Malatesta

Mike Malatesta

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