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I I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to read with rage about “the rage app”. I did not so quietly sour on the “silent shutdown”. And if another email arrives in my inbox about “silent hiring” or some other supposed trend, it goes straight to the spam folder.

Already enough.

After three years of pandemic-fueled remote work, record numbers of resignations, increased burnout, and now mass layoffs, I feel like there should be a name for stress, turnover, and disturbances of recent years. Indeed, perhaps that’s why – not to mention the relentless cycle of journalists, social media posts and PR reps repeating and redistributing these terms – we won’t stop making up words about work, as Vox’s Rani Molla recently wrote.

But talk to anyone who leads HR teams, and you’ll get an eye roll — and an earful — when you mention one. People have always applied for new jobs – and yes, several at once – out of frustration in their current jobs. “Silent recruiting” is repackaging internal mobility, which may seem like a sinister way to avoid recruiting new employees, but can also help reassign underutilized people who might otherwise be laid off.

“To do what [these terms] must always be alliteration? Why do they have to be two words? I guess we like short communications,” Paul Rubenstein, human resources director at Visier, said in a recent interview. “None of them are truly unique.”

Of course, engagement is lower than it was. Employee engagement arbiter Gallup released its latest numbers on Wednesday, and it sees a further drop in the data. In 2021, employee engagement in the U.S. saw its first annual decline in a decade, from 36% “engaged” employees (which it defines as a measure of engagement and enthusiasm of employees in their work) to 34% in 2021 .

That continued into 2022, Gallup reported Wednesday, with now just 32% of full-time and part-time employees engaged. The percentage of actively “disengaged” employees increased by two percentage points compared to 2021. Young workers, women and people whose work could be done remotely but had to be on site daily – unsurprisingly – experienced the biggest drops in engagement.

But while the numbers have gotten worse – and may be worse than they’ve been in a decade – it’s not like they’ve never been here before. Gallup data shows that 32% is still above the line for the number of “engaged” workers between 2000 and 2013, with some years dipping into the mid-20s in percentage terms.

“People check and burn out at different stages of their careers forever,” Amy Zimmerman, human resources manager at Relay Payments, told me recently. “It’s just the whole concept of engagement” — or disengagement.

The real question, of course, is which direction the line will go from here. If a bad recession is worsening people’s relationship with their work and the line is consistently falling below where engagement has bounced over the last 20 years, then maybe something fundamental has changed and deserves a new one. mandate. Whether it stays where it is, or whether the threat of a recession reminds people that doing the bare minimum might not help them keep their jobs, I’m not so sure.

In the meantime, let’s try to remove the repetition of these goofy terms. At a time of mass layoffs and ongoing gun violence and mental health issues, workers — and the people who lead them — have bigger issues to focus on. Yes, companies are filling positions with temporary workers or reassigning people to jobs where they need them most. People struggle with burnout and stay engaged in their work. And tired workers are now looking – and always will be looking – for other jobs when their current job isn’t working. We don’t need a catchy name to talk about it.


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Practical insights and tips from contributors to build your career, lead smarter, and find balance.

Nobody likes the “what is your biggest weakness?” ” question. Here’s how to answer it.

There are benefits to being fired at the office. Try to focus on them if you’re worried about losing your remote work privileges.

There are many reasons why diversity, equity and inclusion efforts fail. Here are three of the biggest.

Compassion, not fear, is the key to the most successful leaders.

To prevent stress and burnout, focus on progress, not results.


News from the world of work

Microsoft’s big bet on AI: ChatGPT maker Open AI has secured a ‘game-changing’ multi-billion dollar investment from Microsoft, according to Bloomberg, as the tech giant adds to its commitment to the viral artificial intelligence chatbot, which could have big impacts on the way we work.

Increase in layoffs: Spotify cut 6% of jobs, and the cuts recently hit 3M, crypto exchange Gemini, Alphabet and Wayfair. Tech stocks surged as investors cheered mass job cut announcements even as employees around the world face a job security crisis, according to a survey of 35,000 workers. Nearly 60,000 people were laid off in January alone as big companies increased their cuts.

A consultant for the Ring: Ron Klain, President Biden’s chief of staff, will be replaced by former covid czar Jeff Zients, according to multiple reports. The former consultant will face a tough job, navigating a divided Congress, growing questions about Biden’s handling of classified documents and the build-up to the 2024 election.

Another founder passes the baton: Netflix’s Reed Hastings is stepping down as the streaming service’s co-CEO after a turbulent year as one of the few big tech founders still in place steps down from the top job.

Ardern’s surprise resignation: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern shocked the world when she announced her resignation, saying she no longer had “enough in the tank to do” justice to her leadership work. The decision sparked a parade of comments about women, leadership and burnout – about how other women can relate to the impact her association with the pandemic may have had on her career.


An expansion of our quasi-weekly book selection to include links, surveys and other web-based reading.

deep work author and Digital minimalism attorney Cal Newport speaks with the New York Times about “low productivity”, the problem of context switching, and why working on a personal computer all day hasn’t really made workers more efficient.

Layoffs are really bad for business, writes Bloomberg columnist Sarah Green Carmichael, citing surprisingly consistent research that shows the downsides for employers — and people — who stay.

Jeff Pfeffer, a professor at Stanford University’s business school — one of my favorite people to talk to about what companies go wrong when managing people —Stanford News interviews why there are so many layoffs in the tech sector and the role of “contagion” in their expansion.

Performance Coach Stefan Falk released a new book on February 7 Intrinsic Motivation: Learn to Love Your Work and Succeed Like Never Beforewhich explores how to become happier and more productive relies on the inherent satisfaction of our work rather than external rewards.

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