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Quiet quitting – doing what is asked of you at work, but not going above and beyond – is a symptom of highly disengaged workers. Employee disengagement is not a new phenomenon. However, it is new that workers are claiming their right to pursue what they want–en masse and made popular on Tik-Tok. The job market is also helping.

Disengagement is a costly proposition for employers, so it is important that employers do not brush off quiet quitting. And it’s an indication that employees are failing to get what they want from their careers, a subject I wrote about in my latest book, “Get Your Career In SHAPE”.

Workers who contribute beyond the call of duty (also known as discretionary effort) generate better business performance. And that is a good thing to have. Companies need high performers to meet growth and expansion goals.

According to a GALLUP poll, disengaged employees have higher absenteeism and lower productivity, leading to lower profitability for companies. For example, companies can lose 34% of a disengaged employee’s annual salary in lost productivity. And if a worker leaves, it can take up a third of their salary to replace them.

Nearly three years after the pandemic’s beginning, the waxing and waning of the economy and the growing prevalence of social justice issues that many have faced are leading many workers to rethink their priorities.

People are now looking to connect their purpose and passion to what they do for a living. They also want to reset the productivity bar that was raised during the pandemic. They want to know that what they do matters. Especially the high-performers on teams.

This focus is especially true for women who have borne the brunt of a lot of the caregiver, family planning, and social stability responsibilities for their families. Rebekah Bastian published a recent article in Forbes, “Not All Women Can Quit At the Same Volume,” where she highlights that “many women don’t have the privilege of quitting quietly.”

All this is to say that if an employee feels that their employer isn’t tapping into their purpose and the work that they are doing isn’t meaningful to society at large – they can begin to disengage. These workers will do merely what is expected and focus their extra energy on their interests. The result is quiet quitting.

The research suggests that quiet quitting is a symptom of a broader disconnect of employers to meet the needs of employees. However, there are steps employees can take to shape their career trajectory. As a scholar and author focused on helping women thrive in the workplace – avoiding situations that lead to quiet quitting, loud quitting, or failing to achieve their potential – I’ve begun asking women seeking career advice to consider three questions:

Do you have a career you need? For example: Consider if your career provides you with the income you need to cover your expenses. Or if your job provides the balance necessary for work and life.

Do you have the career you want? For example: Consider if your career drives your passion and purpose. Does your career serve your interests? And, do you like what you do for a living?

Do you have the career you deserve? For example: Do you believe your job provides you with the level of compensation you believe you’ve earned? Do you have the level of respect and access that you are due? Do your rewards match your contributions, experience, or training?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, I recommend women take steps to move closer to their goals and connect their passion and purpose to their roles. One way to get started is by getting your career in SHAPE.