'Quiet quitting,' 'coffee badging': 10 trending workplace terms

Various phrases have made their way into the workplace in the last couple of years as employees reassess their jobs and roles. Members of Generation Z in entry-level jobs have often coined these phrases in reaction to increased dissatisfaction at work. Other phrases have also gained traction on social media and in the news related to the workplace.

From "quiet quitting" to "coffee badging," here are 10 phrases that have entered the workplace, as reported on by Becker's:

1. Quiet quitting. "Quiet quitting" — referring to a phenomenon in which employees reduce their enthusiasm at work and stick to the minimum expectations of their role — gained traction on social media and in the news in 2022. Now the hashtag: #ActYourWage has become a mantra among quiet quitters. 

2. Grumpy staying. "Grumpy staying," coined by Insider in late June, refers to high-potential employees staying at jobs they are unsatisfied with but hesitate to leave in a tightening labor market, Fortune reported Aug. 9. Fortune described grumpy stayers as "typically employees who recently switched jobs only to discover that their new position isn't what they hoped for or feel stuck in a position they've held for years with no chance of upward mobility."

3. Bare minimum Mondays. "Bare minimum Mondays" refers to a practice where employees come to work to only do the bare minimum on a Monday, Fortune reported in February. Marisa Jo, a TikToker, has made multiple videos about the trend, which went viral. In one video, she said she views the mental model behind bare minimum Mondays as similar to the mental model behind quiet quitting.

4. Rage applying. The term "rage applying" debuted on TikTok and describes workers who emotionally apply to numerous jobs at once, primarily due to dissatisfaction with their current job, according to William Vanderbloemen, CEO of Vanderbloemen Search Group. An article published on topresume.com, written by Ken Chase, stated that those who rage apply "tend to be more focused on trying to avenge perceived wrongs than locating a better job and work environment. These employees become so disenchanted that they submit a flurry of applications and resumes to multiple employers, often without any serious research into whether those jobs are a good fit for their employment needs."

5. Lazy girl jobs. The phrase, coined by 26-year-old TikToker Gabrielle Judge in the spring, refers to the desire for jobs that require minimal effort while providing a good salary and work-life balance. "A 'lazy girl job' does not mean that you're being lazy," Ms. Judge previously said in a social media video. "It's that this job should be paying your bills and have so much work-life balance that you should feel as almost you're operating in a lazy state."

6. Quiet thriving. In a Washington Post article, Lesley Alderman, a psychotherapist and writer based in New York City, makes a case for "quiet thriving" as an alternative to quiet quitting. She writes that quiet thriving involves people "taking specific actions and making mental shifts that help you to feel more engaged on the job." Ms. Alderman went on to provide 10 steps for people to thrive at work, including finding one thing to love or like about your job, cultivating a best friend at work and setting positive intentions for yourself. 

7. Quiet cutting. At the crux of "quiet cutting" is companies' efforts to avoid hard layoffs. The Wall Street Journal reported on the trend in August, which involves still cutting jobs by reassigning employees to different roles. In healthcare, outsourcing may be one way the trend is showing up.

8. Loud quitting. Gallup defines "loud quitting" as those who are actively disengaged. Actively disengaged employees "tend to have most of their workplace needs unmet and spread their dissatisfaction — they have been the most vocal in TikTok posts that have generated millions of views and comments," according to Gallup. In healthcare, labor action could be an example of loud quitting, according to Jeremy Sadlier, executive director of the American Society for Healthcare Human Resources Administration. 

9. Career cushioning. "Career cushioning" refers to employees looking for "plan B" jobs and taking actions like networking and job board scanning to prepare for the possibility of layoffs. "Cushioning" comes from the dating world, where individuals keep their romantic options open to "cushion" an unexpected breakup, according to Bloomberg News, which reported on the topic in November 2022 and later discussed it on CBS News. The trend gained more traction in the workforce as companies such as Twitter and Amazon conducted layoffs.

10. Coffee badging. "Coffee badging" refers to workers showing up to the office for their morning coffee and required attendance, but then leaving the office and working from home the rest of the day, according to CNBC. Fifty-eight percent of hybrid employees coffee badge, and an additional 8% say they have not but would like to try it. The findings come from Owl Labs, a company that makes videoconferencing devices. Owl Labs surveyed 2,000 full-time workers in the U.S. in June.

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