If your boss is asking you to do more at work for the same pay, watch out — you're being 'quiet hired'


Olivia, a part-time employment attorney at a local college, gradually became overwhelmed with her workload as her boss piled on more tasks without acknowledging her existing workload. She compared this feeling to the tale of a frog in boiling water, stating that it felt like the workload slowly increased without her noticing until it became unbearable. Despite requesting help, her requests were ignored due to budget constraints and a decrease in enrollment. In the current economic climate, with job cuts and hiring freezes, some companies are increasing the demands on their employees without offering raises. This is not a new phenomenon during economic downturns, but it is exacerbated by the recent pandemic and high levels of worker burnout. Workers are feeling overworked and underpaid, and some are questioning whether their employer is considering the quality of their experience. This unsustainable practice, sometimes referred to as "quiet hiring," is leaving many employees feeling exhausted and undervalued.

According to a recent survey by Mmhmm, a videoconferencing platform, about 65% of US knowledge workers feel that they are being given work outside their job description or without appropriate compensation. This phenomenon is referred to as "quiet hiring" by Gartner, a research firm and consultancy. Though it is considered a win-win for both companies and employees, many workers, who call this phenomenon "resenteeism", do not agree. They continue to work despite their resentment because they fear losing their jobs and don't have alternatives. The pandemic has made matters worse as many companies have laid off workers and cut down on benefits. Some workers, like Wendy, a senior project manager for a tech company, are frustrated with management's lack of empathy and transparency in these tough times. She believes that companies should take into account the human side of things, and not just kowtow to shareholders if they want to boost employee morale.

An analyst named Parker, who works at a major Tech company that recently laid off some employees, has expressed that he feels the need to constantly prove his worth as he has noticed an increase in his workload. Despite feeling tired and stressed, Parker hasn't brought this up with his boss because he doesn't want to lose his job. However, this highlights a problem that employers need to be more empathetic and transparent, especially in light of the pandemic and the growing awareness of overwork and burnout. While reshuffling employees and reallocating workloads are necessary for an uncertain economy, employers must understand and acknowledge the impact it has on employees. Failing to do so is shortsighted and tone-deaf to the workers' experiences. Employers should show gratitude to their employees and make them feel valued even if they can't increase their salaries. Building trust is essential instead of increasing demands and expecting compliance. Employers who want employees to fight for the company during a downturn need to fight for them too, according to Brooks, an organizational behaviorist at Yale.

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