Quiet Quitting, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, and the Parable of the Fisherman and the Businessman

A teacher’s take

Dani Mini
6 min readOct 1, 2022


Photo by sasan rashtipour on Unsplash

Allow me to establish two things from the get-go:

  1. Quiet quitting is nothing new. Though the term is new-ish, it relates to age-old human realities: ever-changing priorities and the fact that time is limited.
  2. There’s no agreed-upon definition for quiet quitting. In fact, different sources define it in vastly different ways.

Let’s begin, then, by establishing a definition for the purposes of this article.

What Is Quiet Quitting?

I’m going with the language from a 17-second TikTok video that went viral:

You are quiet quitting when “you’re not outright quitting your job, but you’re quitting the idea of going above and beyond,” and “you’re still performing your duties.”

The rest of the video goes into specific reasons for quiet quitting, which we’ll consider here separate from the definition. As we shall see, the why’s have much to do with who’s doing the quitting or talking about it.

Why Quiet Quit?

I’ve come across a great many explanations from all kinds of people. Some come from quiet quitters, others from backers and critics.

  • Feeling taken advantage of by bosses (or co-workers)
  • Professional burnout
  • Rejection of workplace hustle culture
  • Unwillingness to continue sacrificing family and mental health
  • Feeling unappreciated
  • Extra effort not being rewarded or recognized
  • Employees feeling that going above and beyond is not helping them get ahead
  • Gen Z and younger millennials are lazy
  • Not being valued by the boss or the company
  • Gen Z and younger millennials are entitled and spoiled
  • A recent job market marked by low unemployment and plenty of hiring
  • The pandemic and remote work (especially with kids at home) highlighted the need for setting boundaries



Dani Mini

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