#QuietFiring has stolen #QuietQuitting's thunder

You can debate quiet quitting, you may even find it justifiable (under a given set of circumstances). But you cannot argue in favour of quiet firing

By Sushmita Bose

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Published: Tue 6 Sep 2022, 11:25 PM

It’s being called quiet quitting’s “evil twin”. You almost wonder why the hashtag — the modern world’s virtual weapon of mass destruction — #QuietFiring didn’t precede #QuietQuitting, but it’s really a lot like the chicken-and-egg situation, we don’t know which came first to our workplaces. After a frantic few weeks when everyone deliberated (at times, not very quietly) if quietly quitting is a work in progress in their own work lives, or whether it’s something they’d embark on sooner rather than later to ensure a better — and more woke — sense of work:life balance, quiet firing has suddenly stolen all its thunder. Reason?

It’s more identifiable. One, because unlike quiet quitting — which is interpretative and subjective — quiet firing is more on point. Consider this post, that went viral on social media as a doff: “If your employer regularly expects you to do more than your job description for the same pay, call it what it is: quiet firing.”

Two, as a logical extension of it being interpretative and subjective, quiet firing doesn’t have the agency that quiet quitting has. You can debate quiet quitting, you may even find it justifiable (under a given set of circumstances). But you cannot argue in favour of quiet firing. If firing has to happen, there better be an audible — and articulate — explanation.

Cut to the chase. Are you being made to feel like you are not relevant at your workplace — or being taken for granted? Is your boss icing you out — by giving you grunt work (that you are not supposed to be doing) or not including you in “important” meetings and (on) communication threads? If you are nodding your head vigorously, then you are probably in the line of quiet fire. It’s as simple as that.

The natural progression is that the quietly fired (read: frustrated) employee quits on his or her own accord, saving the boss/bosses — or the HR department — the somewhat messy or outright messy ‘episode’ of having to actually fire him or her. Of course, one may argue that when you feel you are being quietly fired, you may be taking yourself too seriously. You may be vainglorious. You may be reading too intently between the lines. But more than 83 per cent of respondents on an online LinkedIn survey posted late last month claimed they had either experienced quiet firing — or witnessed it. Something’s got to give.

One corporate coach I spoke with sometime back talked about how, often, candidates are given certain expectations when they are hired. Once they come on board, they realise that the role they are supposed to fulfill is completely out of whack with the workplace reality. If they resist the tempo, the bosses give them a hard time — aka, ice them out.

An out-of-depth recruitment drive is only one of the many reasons why an employee may have to work with the Damocles sword of quiet firing hanging over his/her head. The list goes on. Poor inductions. A short-sighted personnel matrix. Insecure bosses. Lack of communication. And so on.

In a telling article on worklife.news, it is being argued — rather convincingly — that “passive-aggressive work habits and management techniques are being dragged uncomfortably into the spotlight”. As quizzes on ‘Is your boss quietly firing you?’ fly furiously on social media, one thing is for sure: dysfunctional HR departments appear to be more commonplace than accounted for.

#QuietFiring is a clarion call for managements and human resources departments to be less bristly and more empathetic. And to be more aligned to organisational structures and processes so that human capital — long considered the most important asset a company possesses, automation or no automation — is not made to go to seed. - sushmita@khaleejtimes.com

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