You’re probably familiar with the term “quietly quitting,” which describes an employee who leaves without making a fuss. Here comes the inverse of the current fad: “quiet firing.” As we’ve already mentioned, the significance of people quietly leaving their jobs was exaggerated very quickly. It’s not “quit”ing your job if you put in the number of hours for which you were promised payment. Consequently, many have pointed out that, in the midst of the growing backlash to that viral term, our efforts would be better spent recognizing where employers are culpable: silent firing. An example of a quiet firing is when an employee is not rewarded for their hard work for an extended period of time.
The term “quiet firing” more accurately describes what has come to be known as “quiet quitting,” which is a misnomer. Neither of these terms describes an entirely novel phenomenon, but being “quietly fired” can have a devastating effect on your career. If you think you’re being “quiet fired,” you should know what that means and how to respond.
When someone asks, “What is quiet firing?” they mean
The term “quiet firing” refers to the practice of gently encouraging a worker to leave their position rather than firing them outright. It’s very close to the legal concept of “constructive discharge,” which means an employee has the right to sue their employer for essentially firing them by forcing them to resign. The recent uproar over the phrase “quiet firing” suggests the need to define a more nebulous phenomenon.
Many employers may unintentionally engage in “quiet firing,” but others engage in the practice on purpose. The cost of severance can be reduced or a drawn-out process for enhancing the employee’s performance can be avoided by terminating their employment discreetly.
The practice of “quietly firing” employees can take many forms, from providing workers with minimal support to overt discrimination. However, more often than not, employers will use covert methods, such as withholding promotional opportunities until an employee becomes dissatisfied and quits. The idea is to drive a worker to the point of quitting “of their own volition” by treating them poorly. The message of a “quiet firing” is the same no matter the form it takes: If you don’t like it here, leave.
Recognizing the Sound of Quiet Firing
As we’ve already established, it can be hard to spot and prove a case of quiet firing. What it might look like if your employer is engaging in a “quiet fire” is described below, especially if they are engaging in more than one of these practices.
- People are excluding you from professional and social opportunities by not inviting you or otherwise making it clear that you are not welcome.
- Your performance is being poorly rated without any explanation or justification.
- You can’t seem to get a hold of your boss for status updates, criticism, or any kind of help.
- The CEO publicly humiliates you in front of the staff.
- You’ve asked for a raise numerous times and been turned down each time.
- You haven’t gotten the recognition you deserve, and less-qualified colleagues keep getting ahead of you in the company.
- You aren’t given (or even considered for) the same promotions as your coworkers.
- You’ve been demoted, or you’ve been forced to prioritize busywork over important projects.
- The aforementioned issues have been brought up by you to your superior, who has thus far refused to elaborate.
It’s worth noting that women and people of color are less likely to receive support from managers and are more likely to be terminated in secret.
In the event of a sudden, unannounced termination, what to do
It’s tough to want to put in extra effort when you’re in a workplace that seems designed to push you out. Ultimately, the goal of a quiet firing is for you to quit so loudly that your former employer can’t ignore you.
Start keeping a diary if you feel like you’re being fired behind your back. You can also start using a employee friendly activity tracking tool such as CloudDesk. You can use this to voice your concerns to HR or as evidence in a legal case against the company.
You may want to request a private meeting with your boss if you believe that your dismissal was accidental. The circumstances of your dismissal may have been the result of careless management rather than any malicious intent.
After much thought, you may decide that it’s best to leave your current position. No one should have to go through the underhanded, demeaning tactics of a quiet firing, even if doing so makes them feel like they’re helping the company win.