Episode 2

Published on:

5th Oct 2023

Quiet & Loud Quitting with Soma Ghosh

Tazmin is joined by Soma Ghosh, an expert in career happiness to talk about quiet and loud quitting, the impact of both and why people find themselves in this position.

About Soma:

Soma Ghosh is a careers adviser who has previously worked in education and helping young people with career advice and job hunting. She has a PGdip in Careers guidance as well as and degree in Psychology and Criminology. Soma runs her own career mentoring business where she helps ambitious women find their dream job and career and understand what their idea of career happiness is.

Where to find Soma:

@the_careerhappinessmentor on Instagram

Soma's Website

Soma Ghost LinkedIn

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Hello, everyone, and welcome to another episode of the SEO Mindset Podcast, where we aim to help SEO professionals optimize not just their careers, but also the whole of their lives. Today, I'm joined by the wonderful Soma Ghosh, who's an expert in career happiness, to talk about out the concepts of quiet and loud quitting, their impact, and why people even find themselves in this position. I've been really excited to talk to Soma. We've been chatting on LinkedIn for a long time, and I knew she did great things. But even I was gobsmacked when I learned even more of the great things that she does. And this is just a few. She owns her own career mentoring business, where she helps ambitious women find their dream job in career happiness and understand what their idea of career happiness is. Not only that, but she supports parents of teenagers who want better career advice. She mentors business owners who want to understand and gain and achieve their idea of business happiness. She's a writer, she's written for lots of major publications, and she's also a fellow podcaster, with her podcast being called the Career Happiness Podcast. So I am absolutely sure that today promises to be jam packed with value before Soma and I get chatting. A quick reminder that if you like what my co host Sarah McDowell and I are doing on the SEO Mindset podcast and you'd like to support it, there's a few ways that you can. So the first way is the buy me a coffee donation, which the link will be in the show notes, but more importantly, share. If you are enjoying the content, please tell your friends, your family, fellow colleagues, anybody who isn't not just in the SEO field, but even wider, because the things that we talk about can be of value to probably anyone and everyone in your field. So please spread the word. So soma, welcome.


Hi. It's great to be here.


We've been chatting about all sorts of things, including the topic for a while now. And before we started recording, I said to you that I'm very keen to learn, because being the age that I am, I think this idea of quiet quitting, loud quitting, feels a little alien to definitely to me and maybe people in my generation. So let's dive in. What are quiet quitting and loud quitting, and why do people find themselves in that position?


So, first of all, I'll start with quiet quitting. Quiet quitting is basically when people do the bare minimum in a job. And that might not sound counterintuitive, but what I mean by that is they might just stick to their core hours. So if their core hours are nine to five, they'll do the nine to five. It means also that they might not do the extra due diligence that's required. So they might not volunteer for tasks, they might not do overtime. It's sticking to doing your job in a way where you're basically not doing extra things. And that's kind of what quiet quitting is, essentially. Loud quitting, on the other hand, is essentially when if you're unhappy at work, you're making it known that you're unhappy at work, you might resign. And before you resign, you might then end up shouting in front of your colleagues and telling everybody how unhappy you are or what you think of the company. And so there is a difference between the two. But the main difference is the quiet quitter will be a lot more introverted and quieter about how they approach things, while the loud quitter will very, very vehemently, when they quit, tell everybody why they're quitting. And that's kind of the main differences between quiet quitting and loud quitting.


So if I've understood that quiet quitting, the individual is almost checked out of the job. They're doing what they need to do, but there's no fire anymore, there's no passion anymore. Okay. And with loud quitting, you said that when people leave, what if a loud quitter doesn't leave? Is that a thing?


Yeah. So sometimes with loud quitters, what they might do is if they don't leave, they'll just constantly tell people in the workplace what's wrong, they'll be very negative. So if they have to do extra cover or extra things, they might complain about it and just be very negative. But the impact of that is because they're very frustrated and they're unhappy. So even though loud quitters are sometimes seen as troublemakers, they're not troublemakers, they're just acting that way because they're mentally exhausted often. Yeah.


So you said about the person is not happy. Whether they're quiet quitting or loud quitting, they're not happy. So the next part when I asked why do people find themselves in this position? Are you saying it's because that happiness has gone?


Yeah. But also it's because maybe they're working in quite a toxic workplace culture. And as a result of that, if they're a loud quitter, for example, they're speaking out and they're telling their boss or their manager on a day to day basis, I'm not happy about this and they're getting ignored. So what might happen at the beginning is they're saying it in a very mild mannered way. And after a time, because they keep on getting ignored, they keep on getting ignored, the frustration and anger comes out. And a quiet quitter in that example would perhaps, maybe not have a very good may not have a very good relationship with their manager. Or if they're working from home a lot of the time, the interactions will probably be a lot less. They might not have their camera on during meetings. They may not want to attend meetings and make excuses, that kind of thing. So I would say that maybe some of the main reasons behind this is because they are actually trying to speak out, but they can't. And they could even be in a position where they want to grow in their job, but they're not supported by their colleagues or other members of staff.


So for people in leadership, what are the signs that they should be searching for? You mentioned the camera. There's a change in an individual's behavior. Camera on to camera off. What other things should they be looking out for? Especially with the quiet quitter, because a loud quitter sounds like they're making it known. Yeah.


Quiet quitter. I think if you notice perhaps suddenly that somebody is retreating a little bit and maybe they're not engaging as much. A manager maybe should have a one to one with them, ask what's going on. It could even be that they're not quite quitting. It could be that something else is going on at home, or that perhaps they're not happy about the fact that they've got some personal problems. So having a one to one would be the first stage. And if you are seeing that they are not engaging in the way that maybe they were engaging before, there's a dramatic change in them pulling back. It could even be has mean that they are already looking for other jobs, but they're not telling their managers. And often that's another reason why people retreat. They might be interviewing for other jobs, they might have got a job offer, but they're keeping it quiet. So they're thinking, yeah, I'll just do the bare minimum till my three months is up kind of thing.


Gosh, it's quite complex, isn't it? And it seems as if the quiet quitting is more complex than the loud.


Yeah. And with a loud quitter Tazmin an example could be recently with the whole healthcare strikes because basically you're campaigning, you're trying to say that these are the issues. I want help, I want a pay increase, et cetera. So that's a very kind of strong example of a loud quitter because you're using your voice to speak, but nobody's listening. Whereas with a loud quitter, you're internalizing those feelings and emotions and you might have become a quiet quitter because maybe you've been bullied at work. And interestingly enough, when I was bullied at work, because I've been bullied at work before, I didn't border on the quiet quitting because for me, trying to do everything right in my job was very, very important when I was a careers advisor. But I have noticed when I've seen other people unhappy in their work, they've done this, they've retreated.


There was a time when there was some bullying happening by a team member towards me and bizarrely, even towards the manager. And I went down the I can handle this, I'm just going to carry on doing my job as best as I can. I'm going to ignore her comments to me. But what I didn't realize is internally, my self esteem, my resilience, was being chipped away at slowly, slowly. And then when it came to a head, even the manager couldn't do anything about it because she too was feeling the impact. So it's not just people who are being managed, it's even those in leadership positions?


Yeah, definitely. And I think the people in the leadership positions who might be quiet quitters or loud quitters, what might be happening there is there's a culture, there's a cultural pattern happening. And I know that when I was working in a job many, many years ago, there was a boss who would watch everything I would do because she was being watched by her manager and there was quite a toxic culture in that workplace. So, yeah, that can often be a reason as well.


So what role do you think COVID played? Or is it COVID? Was this always around and just not given a name?


This is a very good question has been because my work as a careers advisor and what I've seen is that these issues did exist pre pandemic. They were there. But I think what happened during COVID is everything got magnified. And what I mean by everything got magnified, I mean that unhappiness was being ignored less. And for me, one of the main reasons why I feel this has happened is because when we were in the COVID bubble of everything that was happening, we were seeing people dying, people getting ill, and we were all in lockdown, we were all at home, many of us. If we have families, you have big families, everybody was together. And if you were having to homeschool your kids I saw lots of videos, I remember, and I know lots of my friends, what was happening is they might have been in one room altogether trying to get everything done. And so everything was being magnified. But I think the whole working from home thing, what actually ended up happening, I feel, is that the highlight of burnout, some of my clients were coming to me and saying that John, I'm working until at 1011 o'clock at night because I'm having to do the homeschooling, I'm having to do this. I'm so unhappy, I'm exhausted. I just am running on empty. Right? So the whole thing around flexible working and working from home and four day week came about as a result of the pandemic, even though it already existed, right? So if we think about the quiet quitting and the loud quitting, the reason why these issues came up a little bit more is because we started to talk more about the gender pay gap, we started to talk more about equality, diversity, things that happen with BLM. Everything just erupted during the COVID thing. And I think what I did notice pre pandemic has been is that people were quitting. They were quitting and people were going through burnout because that's another reason why people usually are quiet quitters. They're actually going through burnout in secret. Right? They're not telling anyone, like you were saying. But us talking about our well being was often put on the weren't we were just like, oh, yeah, we'll be all right. This is part of the job. We work in a corporate job. We've got to hustle. We've got to work these hours. And I think what COVID did is it highlighted some of the cracks in the system. Plus, one other thing I want to mention is we didn't have a recession. So the recession impacted people who were going through furlough. And when people were going through furlough, they had time to reflect. They had time to think. They were thinking, okay, I've been in this career maybe about four or five years as a lawyer or as a marketer. I'm not actually very happy. I'm going to go start a business, or I'm going to take some time out, have a sabbatical, and then go back to work. So I think pre pandemic, people were quitting. But these things exacerbated have it been exacerbated as a result. That's how I would respond to this.


Know, so much of what you just said has resonated, because during Lockdown, I was working in SEO at Argos, which is one of the few retailers that were able to carry on trading because of the Sainsbury's stores, and work just ramped up. It was a good time. Our numbers were good, but it still meant that there was a lot of work to do. But the lockdown meant that my mother in law, who just before lockdown, her health had started slide, so we couldn't get any carers, and it was up to four women in the house to look after her. And although it was something that I took on as a privilege as opposed to a burden, it still meant that because of flexibility, and we were all allowed the flexibility. I remember being in bed at midnight, literally falling asleep as I was finishing my work. I would type something, fall asleep, and then suddenly jolt back up again, realize where I was, write something else, because you get your work done. That's the ethics and culture that I grew up with. And it was during lockdown, where they said, Take a week off, and I thought, I've got nowhere to know. You can't go anywhere. I really wanted to go to Kerala because it's one of the most beautiful places I've been, and I thought I wanted to go to well being retreats, so I pretended, like, created myself a well being program, and I wrote it down in the morning, I'm going to go for a walk. We live near a canal. So I was going to do that, and I was going to do yoga, and I was going to reflect, and I did everything that I would have wanted from a well being retreat. But I was in Milton Keynes, not in, you know, why let geography get in the way of something like that? But it did create that. I pondered, I reflected, and it did change life. It completely changed my life. But I can see what you're saying. About. That was a very unusual time in our history where the world said, right, we're going to press a pause button, which people weren't doing for themselves. Definitely we've spent some time and I don't feel like we're even scratching the surface. If anybody wants more information on this, let us know. We'll get Soma back on to talk more. But we've covered in general what the two terms mean, why people are in that position, and the role that COVID played. But actually they always were around but geyser something else. So we're going to take a short break and when we come back, we're going to talk about the impact on individuals, how people can manage that, and what organizations can do as well now. So welcome everyone back to our conversation with Summer about loud and quiet quitting. Before the break, I certainly learned lots. I hope everyone listening learned lots. Soma I want to talk a little bit now about what's the impact of quitting to the individual and I'd imagine it's going to be largely negative. How can that impact be minimized?


So I think mentally the impact is probably going to be quite grueling for them. So I think often when people have quit, they might overthink their decision as mean. They might think, did I do the right thing? Wow, I left my job, I've left the security oops. So the overthinking part I think about whether or not it's the right thing because they may get judgment from friends and family and even though it's something where they're concerned, it doesn't help. And the overthinking might contribute to that. But if they have supportive family and friends, they'll just get that love and support. But I think the first thing is overthinking. The second thing is worrying about job and career stability because often you might hear people say that if you quit you're not going to be able to get another job because then you have to explain it to your new employer, et cetera, et cetera. So that can be another impact, another kind of negative impact that people might be thinking about. But what I would say to that is usually if you quit, then that shouldn't impact you in your career progression because if you are good at your job and then you find a workplace culture that you're happy in, it's not going to contribute. But I think that that can be an impact. And the next thing I would say is if you're a loud quitter and sometimes loud quitting, as I said, I'm coming from a place of empathy because I've had clients who've been in this position. Loud quitters can seem aggressive or they can seem hostile or they can seem as troublemakers, but essentially they're not. And so the impact of that is that maybe I overreacted. But remember the reason why they've ended up becoming a loud quitter is because they're so frustrated and they're so angry and it's almost like when a child has a tantrum. I'm comparing it, but it's different. But as an adult, what's happened is the volcanoes erupted, right? And people might see them as aggressive and loud, but actually you've got to remember what their skills and quality are. But that could be a negative impact of you beating yourself up because maybe you're a bit loud, but those are some of the things I would say. But in terms of the minimization and the things that you can do to ease those effects, the first thing I'd say is get support. So talk to a counselor because there's a mental health aspect here that needs to be addressed with the burnout, the stress, et cetera. Get support. So if you feel though you want to get like a career coach, careers advisor like myself, reach out to somebody like me and get that support. If you find that your physical health because burnout isn't just about mental health, it's about physical health as well, you could be getting a lot of stomach problems, et cetera. Go see your GP. But the first thing I would say is get support. Take a break. So what I mean by take a break is go on a holiday if you can afford to, even if it's a staycation somewhere for a week or a couple of days on a weekend. Because what this will do is this will put you in a different environment and allow you to think less negatively. Because if you're just at home binging on Netflix and watching things that like reality TV, that's probably make you feel worse, it's not going to make you feel better when you're going through this. So having a break in a different environment will help you. And the third thing I will say is making sure you don't jump into a new job straight away. And I know that might sound a bit scary for people who've quit because there's a financial obligation to get money and pay for mortgages and bills and rent and stuff. But what I find has been is when people jump right into a new job, when they've gone through a lot at work, they've gone through maybe a traumatic experience at work. What ends up happening is they end up having the same experiences at work because they might end up being in another kind of environment like they were before and they're going to quit again. So take time to really nurture your job hunt and find a job that's going to make you happy is the third thing I would say.


Just one question and that's all brilliant advice, I suppose it's almost like when you've broken up from a relationship, don't jump into another one. It's rethinking what's important to me, what sort of things are making me feel fulfilled. So you talked about the impact of somebody who is loud, quitted and actually left. What about the person who isn't leaving, who's quietly burning inside that would impact your self esteem because you'd think, would you end up thinking I'm not good enough for this job?


You might go through imposter syndrome. You might also Tazmin one of the things I want to say is you might actually end up, you know, you were saying know, quiet quitting and them burnout and everything. They might even start to withdraw from their friends and their family. When I've been reading and doing more research about quiet quitting, essentially a lot of quiet quitters are perhaps going through depression or anxiety as well at the same time. So for the person who is staying in that situation, they're going to perhaps isolate themselves more and more, especially if they only work from home. If they go into the office a couple of days a week, maybe they might be socializing, maybe they might have some interaction with people. But I actually think the impact is going to be that after a while, because I've had people who are quiet quitters come to me and they just say, oh, I have to accept it trauma because I can't leave. My job because I've got a mortgage or I can't leave my job because my kids are going to a private school or whatever reason it is. I'm just giving some examples there of their financial obligations or in some cases if someone is a solo parent, my mom was a lone parent because she was a young widow, there are more financial obligations there to think about. So what ends up happening to that person? The impact is mentally they're going to be drained at work. They might even be living two lives because they could be quite fulfilled in their personal life at home. But at work they become a different person and they're minimizing who they are.


It's quite heartbreaking. That last statement that you made, minimizing who they are. Gosh all right, so let's take it to what can organizations do and what should they be doing, do you think?


Well, I do think that organizations are already under a lot of pressure. I want to firstly say that and be kind for a minute because I think organizations usually get the tail end of it and I think they are trying their best to retain people. Employee retention is important, but I think the first thing that organizations should be doing is they should listen to their employees. I think the key thing is if you see people leaving after, let's say, two months, I'm hearing a lot of new starters, like literally leaving within the first three months. Tazmin because they are so unhappy at work, they end up quiet quitting. So what can you do about employee retention? Can you ask the people within your organization who you are employing? Can you understand what some of the things are that they want? And I'll give an example of what I mean by this. Suppose you have a chronic illness. Suppose you've got rheumatoid arthritis and you're working in a job where you're in a senior position and you know that you might have to go into the office a couple of days a week, but there are some days you can't even get out of bed. How are you going to be able to discuss with your manager that I know I'm in a senior position, but I can't turn up five days a week? What are you going to help me with? How are you going to allow me to still do my job? In some of these cases, people who have been speaking out about their health conditions and any other commitments that they have, they end up job sharing or they end up having a way where they can work more flexibly. They go part time. So first thing I would say is work together with the employees so that they are happier. So not that it's just flexible, but it's also around if they have a health condition, if they're a parent, suppose accounting for that and allowing them to work in a way where they can still be for their kids and be happy at work. So if they want to go down to four days a week, suppose allowing certain tasks that maybe they might be responsible for, giving that to another team member or training somebody up. So that's the first thing that I would say. The second thing I would say is implementing changes to reflect what the employees need. So not just that focus on staff retention, but making sure that employees are happier at work. So if you know that there's a big project coming up and there might be people who are going through burnout or are working very late at night, what can you do to make sure that you have certain days? Not necessarily well being days, but having trainings and having people come in to talk about stress and talk about things that are going to flourish and help your team be happier at work. But those are some of the things that I would say. There's obviously more that employees can do. But the key thing is communicating and asking employees what they need more of so that it doesn't come to a point where they just come to you and quit one day because then it's too late because if you ignore them, they are going to leave. And the other thing I want to say as well, a lot of people have been quitting recently in Tazmin because they cannot work from home. I read an article yesterday from the BBC where they were saying that people there's now a policy for some organizations where people have to go into the office. And this is causing a lot of contention, especially in the States. I saw a video in the States ages ago where they were saying that no, you must come into the office. If you don't come into the office, you're not working productively. Some people do work more productively at home. So if organizations don't have a policy that covers that, then people are not only going to quit, they might even start thinking, okay, I'm not respected here, I'm just going to go off and find somewhere where I will be able to work from home. But yeah, those are some of the things I would say.


But with the first one that you said listening, you hear it time and time again. How do I get better in my relationships? Listen better. How do I get better at being me? Listen to yourself. And it's something that is so taken for granted that we just don't do it. And the faster we're getting, the harder it is to pause and listen. Key skill. I think we've recorded an episode on listening skills. I'm going to put it in the show notes as well. You know what, I can't believe we've been talking for more for half an hour on this topic and I really do feel that it's actually created more questions in my mind than put the topic to bed. So we may have to get you back on again, but just an episode. Wrap up then. What are the key things you think people should take away from what we've talked about?


I think some of the key things to think about is that burnout is still an issue, is the first thing that I want to say. Career happiness is a key element of one of the reasons why so many people are quitting. And another thing that I want to say as well is that people will continue to quit. We can't really do much about that. There will be people, even if an employer is trying to make them happy, they'll quit because they might find another job, they might career change, et cetera, right? But some of the key things that I would want to say is that I would encourage people to educate themselves about quiet quitting, loud quitting, and to really, really understand that these things there's a term even called rust out as well, which is similar to burnout, which is a bit more of a lower process. Educate yourself about all of these things because I think if we don't educate ourselves, then we won't know why people are leaving in the first place. And that's the key thing that I.


Would want people to awareness and education. Now, some more general questions for you. What's the best career advice that you've been given?


So I think the best careers advice I've been given is to not listen to too much of what people say. So throughout my life I've had loads of people give me advice. But I remember someone ages ago, I think it was in a particular workplace I was working in, like a manager of mine, because I have had people pleasing tendencies in the past. And she just said to me, don't worry so much about. What people think and what people say to you, because that's their opinion. And that's the best advice I've ever had, because in the past, I've allowed others opinions to dictate my career decisions. So don't allow anybody's opinions to stop you from doing what you want to do.


That's probably so in a way that's awareness and listening to yourself on that one, well, that's brilliant advice for most things in life.


Yeah, most things as well.


Who would you like to give a shout out to? Be it someone in the SEO community or the wider community that's doing some really great work.


A very dear friend of mine who I think has actually spoke at the SEO Brighton event, her name is Layla Akai. She's a brilliant lady, you may have heard of her. She has this organization called Diverse Minds, and I just love what she does, because not only is she talking about mental health and diversity inclusion, she's really, really making a positive impact in the world. And, yeah, any chance I have to shout her out, I'm going to shout her out. So please go follow her. She's also got a podcast as well.


Yes, I saw her. She was at the Women in Tech SEO festival where she talked about confidence. We've actually had her on this podcast to talk about confidence and impostor syndrome. So, yes, I am going to back your follow and your shout out to her because I do think she's doing some amazing work, but yet is extremely approachable and very down to earth when you talk to her. Brilliant. Thank you for that. Now, back to you. Where can people find you if they want to talk about careers or the topics we've discussed today?


So you can find me on my website, WW shomagosh.com. You can connect with me on LinkedIn. It's just shawmagosh. And you'll see thecareerhappiness mentor. I do post quite a lot on my page as well, my LinkedIn page. And also you can connect with me on Instagram at the Career Happiness Mentor underscore. So the career underscore. The career happiness mentor. Yeah, those are the places we can.


We will put all of those links in the show notes, but thank you for highlighting them. I'm really sad that that brings us to the end of this episode, but thank you so much. Thank you. Lots of great insights and lots of great advice. Thank you again and thank you to everyone who is listening. A quick reminder, if you are enjoying the content that Sarah and I are putting out, there are ways to support. One is the Buy Me a coffee, the link is in the show notes and spread the word. This episode highlights that it's not just for SEO professionals, it can be for anyone. So anyone that you think would benefit from it, let them know and get them to subscribe. Thank you very much. Thank you again.

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About the Podcast

The SEO Mindset Podcast
Personal growth tips to help you to optimise your SEO career and not just the algorithms!
The SEO Mindset is a weekly podcast that gives you actionable, personal growth and development tips, guidance and advice, to help you to optimise your SEO career and not just the algorithms.

The podcast is dedicated to talking about important topics that aren't often spoken about in the industry such as imposter syndrome, burnout, anxiety, self awareness etc. Sarah and Tazmin, along with their special guests highlight important topics, share own experiences as well as giving actionable solutions. Basically we have open, honest and frank conversations to help others in the industry.

Each week we cover topics specific to careers in the SEO industry but also broader topics. We will help you to not only build your inner confidence but to also thrive in your career.

Your hosts are Mindset Coach Tazmin Suleman and SEO Manager Sarah McDowell, who between them have over 20 years experience working in the industry.
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About your hosts

Sarah McDowell

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I've been in Digital Marketing and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for around 10 years, currently working as the SEO Manager at Captivate (part of Global), the world's only growth-orientated podcast host. I am a self-confessed SEO nerd (I find the industry fascinated and love learning how search engines like Google work) and a bit of a podcast addict (with this being the fourth podcast I have hosted). I am also a speaker and trainer. I hope you enjoy this podcast!

Tazmin Suleman

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I am a Life Coach, helping people grow and thrive, however my background has included careers in Development, Data Integrity and SEO. Through coaching, mentoring and teaching I help people build happier more fulfilling professional and personal lives by changing their mindset and habits. I teach courses on these topics and have incorporated a lot of the teachings in this podcast. I hope you find it useful.