‘Loud quitting’: When employees go ‘scorched earth’ on their companies


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If you’ve ever dreamed of quitting your job in a fit of rage, or going full “scorched earth” in a resignation letter and then posting it online, you may be part of a growing segment of the population fed up at work and not afraid to show it.

Following the Great Resignation trend of “quiet quitting” — when employees are tired of going above and beyond at work for little recognition or reward and strive to do only what is necessary to stay employed — loud quitters are dramatically voicing their dissent and/or leaving their jobs outright.

Gallup’s 2023 State of the Global Workplace Report recently found that almost one in five employees engage in loud quitting, with some going so far as sharing their resignations on social media in a way that can temporarily make them a “star” in online circles.

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The consulting company defined loud quitters as employees who take actions that “directly harm” the organization, while undercutting its goals and opposing its leaders. If they aren’t quitting, they’re actively disengaged from work and aren’t even trying to be productive.

The report, which surveyed more than 122,000 global respondents, found that loud quitters experienced a “severely broken” trust with their employer or had been “woefully mismatched to a role, causing constant crises.”

“(Loud quitting) is when people aren’t just unhappy at work — they’re resentful that their needs aren’t being met and they’re acting out on that unhappiness,” Jim Harter of Gallup’s Workplace Management Practice told Good Morning America.

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Laura Gassner Otting, a bestselling author and career coach, told the outlet that a loud quitter will often send disruptive emails or make “inappropriate outbursts” in the office. They might post sensitive company information on social media or put the managers on-blast in a public way.

Loud quitting in Canada

Looking more closely at workplace trends in Canada, resume builder Resume.io found that the majority of Canadians dream about tendering an aggressive resignation letter.

A survey polling 1,000 Canadians across the country found that 68 per cent would love to send a scathing takedown of their company or management while quitting, but 23 per cent said they “could never be that unprofessional.” A further 11 per cent said they could “maybe” gather the courage to pen something aggressive.

Of those who said they’ve written an aggressive letter in the past, 20 per cent said they’d written a fairly safe “general criticism of management,” while 19 per cent called out their “toxic” workplace.

Another 13 per cent weren’t afraid to get critical of their co-workers’ performance.

Should you loudly quit your job?

While loudly quitting your job in a public way might feel cathartic in the short-term, most job experts do not recommend this practice.

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“When employees actively undermine the company, they are burning the proverbial bridge with the company and its leadership,” Niki Jorgensen, managing director, client implementation at Insperity told Fox Business.

Click to play video: 'What is ‘Quiet Quitting’ and why it’s so popular'

What is ‘Quiet Quitting’ and why it’s so popular

She said that sharing life changes to social media might feel natural for younger generations who have grown up online and they might feel as though they are helping other people, but it’s best to remain professional.

“The business world can be small, especially in niche sectors, and news of a less-than-ideal exit spreads quickly,” she warned.

Gallup found that loud quitters often feel more workplace stress than other employees and are much more likely to be looking for another job. If you feel these disengagement indicators creeping into your work life, Gassner Otting says it’s time to take control.

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“No one loud quits without becoming frustrated that they aren’t seen or heard first, so make your voice heard,” she told GMA.

“Raise your concerns, your hopes, your expectations, your confusions with your manager. It might be that you simply can’t see the sightlines into why your work matters, how it will speed your career trajectory, or bring you increased salary or satisfaction in the near term unless you ask.”

If you’ve already made the decision to quit, it’s time to get deliberate in your job search in order to find an opportunity that’s fulfilling.

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“First, think about what you like about the job, culture, or mission, not just what you don’t like about the job, culture, or mission,” she said, adding, “Second, in your deliberations, think both about the job itself, but also how the job affects other parts of your life … the next job you’ll want will need to satisfy both the on-the-job time but also the off-the-job time too.”

What loud quitting means for companies

And while employees should attempt to exercise self-control and bow out of their company gracefully, the onus does not fall solely on them to keep a workplace free of drama and toxicity.

Gallup’s report points out that if a company is garnering a lot of loud quitters, it’s an indication that the workplace is deeply flawed and exposing itself to major risks — deleterious actions of loud quitters damage morale and productivity, and can impact a company’s reputation.

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What is a stay interview and why are employers using them?

Not only are loud quitters a distraction, but they can lead to losses in productivity from remaining staff, an increase in employee turnover, the loss of lucrative talent and place an increased burden of work on those in the company.

Leadership and management “directly influence” workplace engagement and organizations can do much more to help employees thrive, according to the report.

Leadership should face loud quitting head on, and immediately, advises Forbes jobs contributor Jack Kelly. By asking for feedback from disengaged staff and prioritizing the well-being and mental health of their employees, they can begin to rebuild confidence and trust in the workplace.

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If you are going to loudly quit…

Maybe you’ve thought through all the above and decided that you’re going to take the Office Space route. [Ed. Note: Global News is not condoning or encouraging “loud quitting” behaviour.]

In such instances, Resume.io has come up with a range of resignation letters, ranging from sweet to peppery, fiery, and ultimately, “scorched earth.”

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And while the organization “strongly recommends you stick with a sweet or a ‘little salty’ tone of letter,” they do offer up some hilarious-yet-bridge-burning insults one could hurl at a company while resigning, including:

  • Sucking wound of a thousand micro cuts by stupidity, mismanagement, and incompetence.
  • Endless audition of Canada’s Got Talent (with absolutely no talent)
  • Groundhog Day movie (without the charm)

Click to play video: 'Are Bare Minimum Mondays the next workplace trend?'

Are Bare Minimum Mondays the next workplace trend?

Jokes aside, Resume.io strongly recommends that scorched earth letters only be written as a therapeutic measure — vitriolic venting can help alleviate some of the bad feelings, so long as you don’t accidentally hit “send.”

Instead, they recommend that employees leaving a company try to take the high road if possible. A letter of departure from an organization should be clear, courteous and concise, even if it’s a little bit curt, they advise.

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