Quiet Firing and Quiet Quitting: The Dark Side and How To Deal With This As An Employee

The concept of “quiet firing”, a passive-aggressive workplace habit, is not new at all, in fact, it has existed for decades but used to be formerly known as “constructive dismissal”. Quiet firing is simply a practice where an employer purposefully treats staff poorly or ignores them in order to get them to resign rather than be fired.

But why do employers do this? This tactic is used by managers/employers to avoid firing staff members and paying severance pay. Also, in order to avoid having difficult conversations about subpar performance or creating an improvement plan, many employers often refer to this tactic, rather than to outrightly fire the employee.

There’s also what is being referred to as “quiet quitting”, but unlike “quiet firing”, here employees hold all the cards. They go about this by doing the barest minimum, indirectly asking for their termination.

It is crucial to note that “quiet quitting” could directly result in “quiet firing”, although “quiet firing” is typically the technique that is most common in the professional world today. To buttress this point, a recent LinkedIn News poll in which over 20,000 people participated revealed that more than 80% of them have either experienced or seen silent termination.


So how can you spot “quiet firing” as an employee?

You could just get to the office one day and notice that the attitude of your employer has changed towards you without realizing what the problems might be. Situations like this could even extend beyond the attitude of your employer and down to your colleagues when they notice how your employer behaves towards you. Oftentimes because they don’t want to become ostracized as well, they just play along, leaving you with a feeling of being disenfranchised.

This was the exact experience Kolade had, and in his exact words, he explained that something changed in the office even after being left out of important email trains and conversations. He also pointed out that he noticed a definite change in his colleagues’ body language, adding that there was a shift in tone, which was sometimes more formal.

There are 3 main indicators that an employer is using “quiet firing” to get rid of an employee. They include;

1. Closed communication channels

  • Your employer no longer provides you with feedback on your work.
  • Your emails frequently go unanswered.
  • It’s getting more difficult for you to arrange one-on-one meetings with your manager/employer.
  • You aren’t allowed to attend important meetings.
  • In the few meetings you attend, your ideas are discouraged, and your contributions are ignored.

2. Your career advancement stalls

  • You are continuously passed over for a promotion.
  • You received a considerably lesser raise than anticipated
  • Your fresh projects are put on hold, and you keep getting trapped doing the same thing over and over again.
  • You are frequently tasked with monotonous, repetitive jobs as well as challenging or unappealing duties.
  • Nobody ever asks about your career progression.

3. You experience ostracization 

  • You are no longer invited to impromptu team lunches or drinks after work with colleagues.
  • Fewer people drop by your desk to chat or ask you to join them for coffee.
  • You find that you are often the one who starts conversations with your manager/employer and colleagues instead of being approached.


What to do if you’ve been “quietly fired”

Accessing your own behavior would go a long way to help you take the next logical step if you find yourself in this situation. You’ve gotta ask yourself to know if you might have “quietly quit” without even realizing it. You see, oftentimes, most reasons for “quiet firing” arises when employers feel like an employee isn’t putting their best foot forward.

However, if after an honest introspection, you feel like this isn’t as a result of your work or input, here are some of the following things to do;

  • Keep doing your best work
  • Speak to your employer and find out more
  • Manage your emotions and do not result to “quiet quitting”