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What is Quiet Firing?


No one enjoys getting fired. It can be a jarring experience that’s unpleasant for all parties involved, so it makes sense that you might want to keep it quiet. But what exactly is quiet firing?

The Meaning of “Quiet Firing”

Much like quiet quitting, quiet firing is a bit of a misleading phrase. Your employer could be quiet firing while yelling and stomping their feet, and quiet firing doesn’t actually involve firing you.

Quiet firing involves an employer creating a hostile work environment in the hopes that it will cause an employee to quit (like, actually quit, not quiet quit). There are a lot of ways that employers could achieve this, but the main idea is providing employees with the absolute bare minimum and hoping those workers get the hint: They’re not wanted and should quit.

If that sounds toxic and dispiriting, you’re right!

Examples of Quiet Firing

Quiet firing can come in all shapes and forms depending on the workplace, the industry, and the upper limits of your boss’ cruelty. That also means that it can be increasingly hard to spot, but quiet firing can look like:

  • You constantly getting passed over for raises and promotions despite working with the company for years

  • Your boss never acknowledging your successes and/or fully taking credit for them

  • A worker getting a demotion and change of title without any actual changes to their duties and responsibilities

  • A programmer getting overloaded with all the worst projects, while their preferred projects get assigned to someone else

  • You performing incredibly throughout the year but receiving poor performance reviews without any legitimate rationale

  • A teacher asking about potential career growth opportunities and getting shutdown or completely ignored

Is Quiet Firing Good or Bad?

It’s bad. Where quiet quitting is largely about setting boundaries between worker and work to prevent burnout, quiet firing is playing at someone’s basic livelihood. At best, quiet firing involves creating a toxic, negative working environment; at worst, it’s downright abusive.

There’s really no good reason to give into quiet firing if you’re a boss or C-level executive. Aside from being a waste of your time and energy, you’re creating a workplace that is intentionally demoralizing.

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