Enrichment Arts & Culture

Here are a few ways that remote workers can tell if they are being ‘quietly fired’

Here are some red flags that a boss may be following this passive aggressive tactic.

Story at a glance

  • TikTok videos on “quiet quitting” took the internet by storm recently, followed by “quiet firing.” 

  • But the concepts behind both terms are nothing new.  

  • “Quiet firing” stems from poor leadership and can look like being left out of important conversations pertaining to your work or not having talks with your boss about goals.  

“Quiet quitting” and now “quiet firing” are two terms that have flooded social media channels in recent weeks.  

While the terms are new — and, really, misnomers — the concepts they represent are not. “Quiet quitting” refers to when employees stop going above and beyond in the workplace while “quiet firing” is when an employer makes working conditions unbearable in the hopes that an unwanted employee will leave their position of their own accord.  

The first thing that every worker should know is that “quiet firing” comes from bad management and doesn’t necessarily reflect on an employee’s worth or skills.  

“There are some organizations that are really good at maintaining a culture and performance management and collaboration and then there are others that are terrible at it,” said Laurie Chamberlin, head of recruitment solutions, North America at LHH, a talent and job recruitment company.  

But even though both practices have been going on for decades, noticing when either one is happening, particularly quiet firing, can be tricky.  

And the fact that now more Americans are working entirely from home because of the pandemic, can make it even harder to tell if a boss is passive-aggressively trying to give someone the boot.  

Traditional signs of “quiet firing” look like a manager leaving a certain employee out of conversations that concern areas that they are working on, not asking for their opinion or in some cases leaving them out of meetings, according to Kevin Delaney, CEO and editor and chief of media and services company Charter.  

And those same tactics can be used for completely remote workers. Another “quiet firing” tactic is not setting up clear guidelines for workers and never having conversations about long-term goals.  

“It’s just not a fair way to treat someone who is underperforming,” said Delaney. “It doesn’t send a good signal to the people around the person who is experiencing this.”  

Instead, supervisors should set up a time every week to speak with workers to discuss short-term and long-term goals and work through any roadblocks that are getting in the way of those goals, Delaney added.