Quiet Quitting or Quietly Working Second Jobs? Understanding Gen Z Mindsets

Since the early 2000s, when the first wave of Millennials started showing up in the workforce, BridgeWorks has been helping companies around the globe struggling to understand, embrace, and engage a new mindset in the workforce. At the time, the buzz around Millennials was so pervasive that generational consultants started popping up all over the place to help address the “problem.” The primary advantage that BridgeWorks had out of the gate was that our focus was on what the generation brought to the table and how they could serve as an asset to organizations rather than an issue. When others were talking about how to handle this “lazy,” “entitled,” “participation trophy” generation, we were spotlighting the value that their collaborative, passionate, and innovative mindset could offer.

While our approach to bridging diverse perspectives in the workplace remains the same today, the workforce “newbies” have shifted to Gen Z, who lately some refer to as the “quiet quitters” of the workplace. The trend of quiet quitting is the antidote to “hustle culture;” in other words, still performing the required responsibilities of your job, but abandoning the “above and beyond” mentality. And while many scrutinize this phenomenon as lazy and self-serving, it is simply a manifestation of the generation’s prioritization of work-life balance and self-care and their sense of disillusionment of the role of work in their lives today. As one Gen Z TikToker put it, “I’m not going to put in a sixty-hour workweek and pull myself up by my bootstraps for a job that does not care about me as a person.”

However, headlines today suggest that Gen Z’s bare-minimum approach to work is not in fact attributed to quiet quitting, but a byproduct of the time and energy that they are putting into second jobs and side hustles. So while some employers may believe Gen Z is checked out of work, the truth is that they are actually checked into the realities of what it takes to pay the bills and make ends meet in a high-inflation world.

Understanding diverse mindsets and adapting to different needs, values and expectations in the workforce is critical to driving employee engagement and organizational performance. The experts at BridgeWorks can help.