Is your workplace beginning to feel like it is coming to a bitter end? Are your work accomplishments being pushed under the rug and your efforts aren’t being appreciated? If you feel like you are slowly being pushed out of your workplace, you could be right as your supervisor might be “quiet firing” you. Here are the signs to look out for and what you can do to take charge of your career.
What Is Quiet Firing?
Quiet firing refers to when an employer indirectly influences an employee to resign by failing to provide support and career development. This usually creates a negative work environment where over time, the employee feels a lack of motivation and appreciation.
- You receive mostly negative or receive very little feedback.
- Your wage remains stagnant and you get overlooked for promotions despite producing a solid work ethic.
- You get assigned the least desirable job tasks compared to other colleagues who have similar job titles.
- You are suddenly burdened with a heavier workload.
- Your employer takes advantage of the fact that you are an hourly employee.
- You are excluded from department meetings that others in similar positions are invited to.
If you are wondering whether you are being fired, it is important to look at the big picture. Consider if things are changing compared with your past experience at work and with your colleagues. For example, if everyone is overworked, you might have a negative work environment due to understaffing. On the other hand, if you are being personally targeted to a level that goes beyond potential quiet firing, you might be experiencing workplace bullying.
Why Would Companies Quiet Fire A Current Employee?
Quiet firing can reflect a larger problem in the work culture at your current company or it could potentially be specific to the ongoing relationship between you and your supervisor. Here are some of the most common reasons that employees might be quiet fired:
- An inexperienced or overworked supervisor who fails to help their subordinates thrive.
- A negative workplace environment due to a toxic supervisor or one who reflects the larger culture within the company.
- An intentional strategy that will get an employee to resign in order to avoid paying unemployment as a retaliation for a lawsuit or related dispute.
- Discrimination that can be based on your race, sexual orientation, gender or even your religion.
What Is Quiet Hiring?
If you already know about quiet firing, you might also know about quiet hiring. Quiet hiring is not a negative concept. It involves temporarily shifting employees around within the company itself in order to fill a pressing need for additional headcount during times that are slow in their own department. In some cases, this can be a benefit for you to try out new tasks and gain more experience, but it can also be a sign of a financially stressed or disorganized workplace.
Quiet hiring can also be used as a strategy to get someone to quit their job. It becomes a problem if:
- The assigned tasks are easy so in turn you become unmotivated and unchallenged over time.
- The new tasks are very difficult and you don’t have enough qualifications or guidance to do them well.
- The additional workload is too high and you feel burned out.
- The new tasks are different from the job you were hired for and you resent taking them on.
What Is A Quiet Promotion?
A quiet promotion is like getting promoted but without the higher status, title and pay. Needless to say, a quiet promotion is not a great deal for an employee. Employers often give out quiet promotions to employees because they value cost-cutting in order to avoid paying a higher salary but it can also be used as a strategy to push someone to quit. This is because it can make you as the employee feel unappreciated. If you are suddenly assigned tasks that usually belong to a higher-level employee, you might have gotten a quiet promotion. A quiet promotion is similar to getting a really promotion but without a salary increase. It actually differs in that the “promotion” is only implied and never discussed officially, your title and pay remain the same.
How To Respond To Quiet Firing
If you are being quietly fired, you may have done nothing wrong. It is often a direct result of an unhealthy work environment and it is beyond your control. Quiet firing can be a response to an employee becoming disengaged at work and doing the bare minimum. Quiet firing is always a bad management strategy overall. It results in a negative work environment and dampers productivity in the workplace. An open and honest supervisor should discuss their concerns directly with their employees.
If you think your employer is quietly firing you in response to your reduced work performance, consider changing your work ethic and putting your best effort in while still maintaining your boundaries.
In most other cases, being quiet fired might be difficult to manage but you can try the following strategies:
- Keep track of everything. If you have a toxic work environment to the extent that it could be illegal, this can later be used as evidence in a lawsuit.
- Discuss your concerns openly with your manager or supervisor. It is best to use specific examples during your conversation.
- If talking one on one with your supervisor is not an option, discuss your concerns with higher management. If you have a toxic boss, you may need to go beyond them in order to get help, such as to their supervisor or even the HR department.
- File a lawsuit. If the employer is making the workplace intolerable to the point that you feel forced to resign, you might consider contacting an attorney about whether you have a case.
- Involve your union. If you are a union member, contact them for further support.
If you are unable to change your work situation, your best bet is to look for another job where your contributions will be valued. Do not look at quitting in terms of winning and losing. If you quit, you may give the employer what they want. Think about it…do you really want to stay at a workplace where you are not valued? Quitting can give you new opportunities which will increase your job satisfaction, performance and even your quality of life. In the end, you will be the winner.