A Workplace Trend That Went Viral On Tiktok Ep 577

A photo of a young TikTok user shushing. Imagine a world where you do less work and get more free time, feel happier, and get paid the same.

๐Ÿ“ Author: Hilary

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๐Ÿ’ฌ 1903 words โ–ช๏ธ โณ Reading Time 10 min

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Do less work, get more free time, feel happier, get paid the same. A New English Phrase.

Some people say Quiet Quitting is a way of leaving work in the office and having a better work-life balance. Some people think Quiet Quitting is kind of passive aggression in that it's caused by unexpressed resentment. The world has a new English phrase and it's time learn what quiet quitting is all about.

Today we take a look at a new English phrase that's slowly being added, to the rather large, English corpus of vocabulary.

Here's an English expression that's entering the language and which you might not have heard before. In this lesson I discuss all you need to know about a new English phrase Quiet Quitting. Lots of interesting viewpoints, and the changing face of the UK workplace are investigated in today's English podcast lesson.

Most Unusual Words:

  • Quitting: Stopping or leaving something, often a job.
  • Corpus: A collection of written or spoken material in a language, used for language study.
  • Disillusioned: Feeling disappointed because you discovered something is not as good as you believed.
  • Gerund: A verb form that ends in -ing and is used like a noun in a sentence.
  • Aggression: Behaving in a strong and forceful way to dominate or to fight.
  • Prospective: Likely or expected to happen or become in the future.

Most common 2 word phrases:

Much Fuss1
Much Bother1
Gig Economy1
Bare Minimum1

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The mp3 audio and pdf transcript for this lesson is now part of the Adept English back catalogue . You can still download and listen to this lesson as part of one of our podcast bundles.

Transcript: A Workplace Trend That Went Viral On TikTok

Hi there. Today let's talk about a new expression in English. This new expression is something I heard for the first time only last week. It may not have arrived yet in your language, but when I describe what this new expression means, you'll probably recognize the idea. The English expression that's new that I'm describing today is 'quiet quitting'. What is 'quiet quitting'? It's to do with jobs and the workplace. So listen on to find out. But listen on also to just more generally improve your English language learning. The power of Adept English is learning through listening. Simple listening to the right type of English will really bring on your English language skills.

Hello, Iโ€™m Hilary, and youโ€™re listening to Adept English. We will help you to speak English fluently. All you have to do is listen. So start listening now and find out how it works.

So the phenomenon of 'quiet quitting' is here. This is an expression which concerns the workplace, people's jobs, careers, their motivation. Vocabulary, first of all? The word 'quiet', Q U I E T is an adjective, one you know already. 'Quiet' means 'low noise, not much noise'. Or in this expression, it means 'not much fuss, not much bother', something you're doing 'on the quiet'.' Quiet' is different from 'silent'. 'Silent' means 'no noise at all'. And 'quitting'? Well, that's a noun, Q U I T T I N G. It's a noun and it's a special type of noun called a 'gerund' because it comes from a verb and 'quitting' comes from the verb 'to quit'.

It's like using the word ' running' as a noun. It comes from the verb 'to run'. Same idea. So if you 'quit' something, it means that 'you stop doing it'. 'To quit your job' would be 'to hand your notice in and leave', except with 'quiet quitting', this isn't what people are doing.

' Quiet quitting' describes a situation where someone is disappointed, disillusioned with their job, and instead of leaving their job and going to get another one, they just decide to do much less work. Sometimes that means 'bare minimum', as little work as they can get away with. That's called 'quiet quitting'. So it means just not putting the same amount of effort into your job, just not being as motivated in your job.


A photograph of a relaxed office worker. The only thing stopping you from doing less work, getting more free time, feeling happier, and getting paid the same is yourself.

ยฉ๏ธ Adept English 2022

There are situations where I can see why people might arrive at this. Remaining in the same job, being paid the same salary and just doing what your job requires, but no more, no extras. I can see why people might arrive at doing that.

I think that if you're doing the bare minimum, maybe that's questionable. Maybe you're not really doing your job properly and then that's not fair, if your employer is paying you. So I think there's a range of possibilities here within that term, that expression, 'quiet quitting'. Some of them more understandable than others.

Before I discuss this idea further, just a quick reminder about our most popular course and this Adept English course is the most popular because it works, really well! The Most Common 500 Words Course is still available on our website at adeptenglish.com and it's helping a lot of people improve their English. And it's a good basis for improving your speaking, as well as your listening and understanding.

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This notion of 'quiet quitting' has first been described on TikTok where various people posted about their 'quiet quitting', and why they were doing that. It really took off, especially amongst younger people.

You could say that 'quiet quitting' is wrong and unfair, but you might also see it as something of a reaction against the Terms and Conditions, the Ts and Cs that often operate in a modern place of work.

I've talked before in podcast 550, for example, about the pressures that people feel under in their workplace. And about how there has been a trend in recent years towards targets being 'unreasonable', people being under pressure and being expected to work long hours, way beyond their contract, just as a norm. This is part of our working culture and has been for quite a few years now. So unpaid labour, unpaid work has become the norm in many jobs.

And it's been an employer's market, meaning that it's been 'in favour of the employer'. Whatever job you apply to, there may be 20 other applicants, so employers have been able to dictate what happens. In recent times we've had recessions, we've had a pandemic, we've had a period of time where people's contracts in their places of work have been more uncertain, not quite such good terms and conditions as previously, a lot of temporary work and the so-called 'gig economy'. That's where people only get paid for the work that they do and that work is offered on a very uncertain basis. That's the 'gig economy'.

Listening Lessons

While jobs and work are more precarious, less good terms and conditions, paying your rent or buying a house - that's become much more expensive. That's certainly the case in the UK at least and I'm sure that's the case around the world as well.

And the promise is always that promotion or that bonus. Well, maybe the TikTok generation are 'a bit cheesed off'. Maybe they see that that bonus or that promise of promotion is not enough to warrant them working huge long hours and having lots of work pressure, high targets and the risk of burnout.

It's natural following the pandemic for people to look at their work life balance. I think 'work from home' has altered that. And I think the pandemic experience has made people think twice about how much they want to work, how much they need to earn and what their priorities are.

So quiet, quitting means a number of things. At its best, it means 'just doing what you are paid to do' and no more. You're still operating within your contract. You're doing your contracted hours. You're doing your job as described, but you're not doing all those extras, which employers might expect if you're going for promotion.

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At its worst 'quiet quitting' means that you basically do as little as you can get away with. I think many people would find that morally wrong. And of course there's already been a backlash against this notion on Tiktok where prospective employers are saying that if you post on social media, talking about your 'quiet quitting', and doing the bare minimum possible, it could harm your career. So watch out!

The positive outcome from all of this that I foresee is the possibility that employers will have to talk to their employees about their 'engagement', about why they've become disillusioned, why they might have decided to do 'quiet quitting'.

That might be a useful conversation. You want employees who are engaged, motivated, who believe in their organization and feel valued and respected. In the UK at least, I would say it's less of an employer's market now. There are more job vacancies, fewer people to fill them, so perhaps it's a different conversation. And perhaps that conversation is overdue.


Let us know what you think. Let us know what's happening in your country. But I think that's an interesting discussion. Listen to this podcast, a number of times to help you improve your English language.

Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.

Thank you so much for listening. Please help me tell others about this podcast by reviewing or rating it. And, please share it on social media. You can find more listening lessons and a free English course at adeptenglish.com




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