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Forget 'quiet quitting' – 'quiet thriving' may be the next big workplace trend

‘Quiet quitting’ isn’t your only solution to a disappointing work life, says author and women’s leadership expert Selena Rezvani.
Selena Rezvani is a women's leadership speaker and author of the award-winning book, "Pushback: How Smart Women Ask - And Stand Up - For What They Want."
Selena Rezvani is a women's leadership speaker and author of the award-winning book, "Pushback: How Smart Women Ask - And Stand Up - For What They Want."Gabrielle Smarr

When thinking about “quiet quitting,” the character Penny Lane in the movie “Almost Famous” comes to mind. “If you never take it seriously, you never get hurt. You never get hurt…you always have fun,” Penny says.

Similarly, when the job you once hoped for turns out to be nothing but a source of stress and burnout, “quiet quitting” may seem like the best response. You simply go to work, do exactly your job description without getting emotionally invested, and cash that check.

Although this mindset might protect your feelings, you will learn (just as Penny did) that remaining aloof can backfire in other ways. Penny missed out on a chance for love. And in the case of your career, you may end up spending 40 hours a week at a job that doesn’t fulfill your psychological and emotional needs.

In a Washington Post article, psychotherapist Lesley Alderman presents a healthier alternative to “quiet quitting”: “quiet thriving” – a way to find purpose in an otherwise frustrating environment and, just maybe, protect your peace and have fun.

How to “Quiet Thrive” at Work

Neuroscientist and success coach Laura Ellera says “quiet thriving” is a two-fold process that involves “the mental switch that we need to work through in order to see our career from a different, more positive angle, and the physical actions we take in order to shape the reality of the role into one that makes us excited to go to work again.”

Here are a few ways to put it into practice:

Identify Your Values

Focusing on meaningful work can bring a sense of fulfillment, even in challenging circumstances. Take some time to reflect on what matters to you – why you took the job in the first place. Even if your number one motivator is money, something must have drawn you to this position at this organization.

Once you clearly understand your values, seek opportunities within your workplace that align with them.

Have Fun with Passion Projects

Tap into your unique skills and apply them to existing projects – or make your own. For example, if you love photography, you can create a visually stunning photo album or digital presentation that documents your company’s year and pass it around after the holidays. Or, if you love writing, you could start a newsletter to celebrate accomplishments, share exciting news, and create a sense of community within your organization.

Because you aren’t required to do these little extras, it shouldn’t feel like you’re adding to your workload. They should feel fun!

Find a Work Bestie

An employer who encourages everyone to treat each other as “best friends” or “family” might indicate they expect you to blur the lines between your personal and professional lives, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a trustworthy person to lean on.

According to Gallup, having a work bestie is good for your mental health, job satisfaction, and organization. A close, trustworthy friend can help you feel less lonely, make you more productive, give you the confidence to innovate and openly share ideas, and contribute to an overall positive feeling about your job.

Control What You Can

When your boss is rude, your workload is too heavy, and your co-workers don’t show any interest in being friendly, it can feel like you’re stuck in a miserable situation. However, there are always things you can control and improve.

Ellera suggests listing the things that frustrate you and determining where you have control, influence, or no control. “If you believe your boss is an overbearing fool, you have no control over how they behave,” she says, “but you do have control over how you react to their behavior.”

Wherever you do have control, decide to adjust your behavior daily for a more desirable outcome.

Find Community Outside of Work

If you have found anyone to connect with inside your organization, join online groups made for people just like you. Many isolating experiences are quite common, but we’re unaware of that fact because we often feel like it’s just happening to us, making us feel even more lonely.

Share your experiences – the good and bad – with a community that can offer support, advice, and a reminder that you’re never alone.

“Quiet quitting” might have been the solution to a disappointing work life, but doing so isn’t your only outlet. You don’t have to be miserable or complacent with your current situation. You deserve to thrive at work! And who knows? “Quiet thriving” may lead to loud thriving in the form of a promotion, a raise, or a pivot to your dream job.

Selena Rezvani is a leadership coach and the author of the new book, "Quick Confidence: Be Authentic, Boost Connections, and Make Bold Bets on Yourself." For more information, visit: