'Quiet Thriving' Might Boost Your Overall Job Satisfaction

Last year, Gallup reported that more than half of U.S. employees embraced "quiet quitting," a trend characterized by disengagement in the workplace. Quiet quitters only do the bare minimum at work rather than going the extra mile to thrive in their roles. "You're still performing your duties, but you're no longer subscribing to the hustle culture mentality that work has to be your life. The reality is that it's not — and your worth as a person is not defined by your labor," explained engineer Zaid Khan in a TikTok video.

Quiet thriving is all about putting yourself first in order to achieve a healthy work-life balance, and, therefore, it can boost your overall mental well-being. But even so, it's not necessarily the best approach. If you love your job and want to reach peak performance, you'll go above and beyond to get things done. Plus, there are steps you can take to feel more engaged and find meaning in your work.

One solution is "quiet thriving," a philosophy that involves making small but impactful changes to achieve fulfillment in what you do. With this approach, you can find meaning "even in a job that may not be ideal," notes Boyd Matheson, the host of KSL Radio's "Inside Sources". "More importantly, if you're delivering excellence, that's going to put you in a better spot when that next opportunity does come along," he said in his show.

Quiet thriving could be the key to a more fulfilling career

Some say that quiet thriving is the "antidote" to quiet quitting, and they might be right. You can't expect to be happy at work if you start with the premise that your job has no meaning. "When you're feeling stuck in your job and miserable every weekday morning, it's easy to assume that everything stinks — and will never get better," said Insider columnist Shana Lebowitz Gaynor in her book, "Don't Call It Quits" (via The Washington Post).

Employee happiness and engagement go hand in hand, according to executive coach Eric Karpinski. "When people are engaged, they feel all kinds of these 'activated positive emotions' like being inspired, enthusiastic, proud, or having a sense of belonging, well-being, or purpose," he told Forbes. Happiness, on the other hand, drives employee engagement and productivity. When you feel good, you're more motivated to get things done, push through barriers, and thrive in your role. But that's not all.

Engaged employees are happier in their day-to-day lives and feel they are better able to cope with any problems that may arise at home, reports a 2009 study published in Science Daily. As the researchers note, work engagement influences our mood and job performance. Quiet thriving is based on the premise that work engagement can be cultivated by taking small, specific actions, such as practicing gratitude. With this approach, you'll regain your mojo and find satisfaction in your work — even in less-than-ideal conditions. 

Embrace quiet thriving to fall back in love with your job

If you're ready to embrace quiet thriving, think about what you need to find joy in your work. Psychotherapist Lesley Alderman suggests asking your boss for small favors, such as organizing extracurricular activities. You may offer to work on a project you're interested in, start an office sports team, or help with employee onboarding. As Alderman told Inside Sources, employees often feel intimidated to speak up, which affects their morale and job satisfaction.

You'll also want to set work and home-life boundaries, says Alderman. Failure to do so can result in stress, burnout, frustration, and disengagement. For example, a Deloitte survey found that nearly 80% of employees have experienced burnout in their current roles. Setting boundaries isn't always easy, but you can start with small steps, like switching off your work phone as soon as you get home.

Another piece of advice comes from George Elfond, Rallyware's founder, who recommends doing little things that bring you joy. "The simple things — like stocking your desk with better snacks, going for an afternoon coffee, or working somewhere outside the office — could soon add up to consecutive good days," he said in an interview with BBC Worklife

Last but not least, focus on what you enjoy most about your work, whether it's a particular task or the time spent with your team. Go one step further and set intentions for the day ahead so that you have something to look forward to.