With all of the talk of being quiet these days, from quiet quitting to quiet firing to quiet promoting, it seems like workers are keeping their grievances at work to themselves. These trends are indicative of disconnects between employers and employees that need to be addressed, but the latest moniker to be added to the “quiet” list just might be the positive outlook we need. In fact, it’s one is what we should all strive for: quiet thriving.
Who is Quiet Thriving?
Psychotherapist Lesley Alderman introduced the term in an article for The Washington Post, and it means making changes to shift your mental state so that you are more engaged in your job. And it’s quickly gaining speed.
A recent survey of 1,000 full-time employees by JobSage found that 63% of respondents are quiet thriving in their current position. When asked what that means to them, 46% of people are more than satisfied with their work-life balance, 32% are more than satisfied with the work itself and 22% are more than satisfied with career advancement opportunities. Other ideal conditions for quiet thriving include flexible hours, a favorable salary and a supportive manager.
I define quiet thriving as making the best of a situation so that you can be more present at work. Whether that’s temporary until you find a more suitable role or whether you decide to stick it out in your current position for the long haul, people who quietly thrive in their careers are taking back control. They are in the drivers’ seats of their own well-being, and it’s refreshing.
‘Great Resignation’ Regrets
It’s a big change from where we thought the Great Resignation in 2021-2022 would end. Almost 100 million people quit their jobs in those years, citing higher pay and better working conditions as reason for their exit. But now, a new study from Paychex finds that eight out of ten professional who left their jobs during that timeframe regret their decision.
Gen Zers top the list at 89% of respondents who regret quitting. They left for better job perks, benefits and company culture, but now they say their mental health is suffering. These young workers also feel their work-life balance has declined, as well as their chance to be rehired.
A lot of workers who left their jobs during the Great Resignation were already quiet quitting, but instead of actively quitting, maybe they should have given quiet thriving a chance.
Mental Shift to Present
I’ve seen two recent coaching clients make the shift to quietly thriving, and the extraordinary thing about both cases is that there was no external factor involved. Both clients made the internal mental shift to a more positive outlook. Let’s meet them.
Andrew had recently started a new position and wasn’t happy with it. During our coaching sessions, he complained about his boss never being available. He grumbled that the work wasn’t what he would have thought he would get to do and that it was unfulfilling. He blamed the company culture and his regret at taking this job for being “checked out” and essentially quiet quitting.
Meanwhile, Rebecca had been at her organization for a long time and was recently promoted. She was feeling overwhelmed like she was floundering in deep water and wasn’t sure what to do. There was definitely some quiet quitting happening here as well.
With both clients, there was not any external change to help bring about their mental shift to deciding to be present at work. There was no change in the structure of the organization. Their job responsibilities remained the same. But what did change was their mindset.
Of course, we worked on this quite a bit in our coaching sessions. We talked about finding the gift of the moment so there was a lot of redirecting of negative thoughts. We discussed where they were in the moment and how they could make the most of where they were currently. We discussed their short-term goals to help each of them with their longer-term ambitions. Although they were in two entirely different places in their careers, the similarities of their transformations were pretty remarkable.
Andrew decided to make the most of where he is today to prepare himself for the future. He knows this job isn’t the right fit for him forever, but while he’s there, he has recommitted to learning as much as he can so that he can set himself up for success in his next role. He says being present gives him energy and the drive to keep looking for other jobs.
Rebecca made the conscious decision to no longer be “checked out” and just go through the motions every day. This mindset shift transformed her experience of the work. She was able to forge new connections with people, tackle her new position with renewed energy and feel proud of her work again.
In both cases, we were able to turn quiet quitting into quiet thriving, which should always be the goal.
How to Quietly Thrive
Here are five ways to make the transition to quiet thriving:
1. Consider Job Crafting: Job crafting as explained in Harvard Business Review involves redefining your job to incorporate your motives, strengths, and passions. If you show an interest in a special project, you could gradually redefine your job description to include more of the work that you love and eventually hand off the duties that don’t fulfill you. The change is driven by you, not your supervisor which makes you feel more invested in the work. One word of caution: be sure you are taking on the extra work because it truly energizes you rather than trying to please others. If not, you find yourself in a quiet promoting situation (LINK ONCE ARTICLE IS LIVE).
2. Rewrite your Narrative: Just like Andrew and Rebecca did, it is possible to retrain your brain to think about a situation in a different way. Write out a list of the things you like about your job and keep it in plain sight during the day. Maybe you finally start that gratitude journal you’ve been thinking about for a while. By reminding yourself that you have things to be grateful for, you can help keep pessimism at bay.
3. Foster a Network: Creating and sustaining workplace friendships will have a positive impact on you. According to a 2021 survey by Wildgoose, 57% of people say having a good friend at work makes the job more enjoyable. But even more impressive is that 22% report feeling equally or more productive with friends, and 21% say friendship makes them more creative. So, gather a group of people who make you feel safe together for happy hour more frequently to build and nurture those friendships.
4. Celebrate your Accomplishments: Whether major or minor, I always encourage celebrating milestones. When you recognize that you are good at what you do, it can make you feel more confident in your current role. Write out a record of your wins, no matter how insignificant they may seem. Reviewing these on a regular basis will eliminate any thoughts of imposter syndrome and raise your spirits, not to mention, you’ll have a valuable resource for the next time you need to update your resume with a professional resume writer.
5. Engage a coach: If you are feeling trapped, seek advice from a career coach. We can help you draft a plan to improve your mindset toward your current job or even a strategy to help find your next position.
Quiet thriving is the antithesis to quiet quitting, and it allows you to take back control of your career and of your life.