“Quiet quitting”, “BYOD” and other terms for today’s marketplace

The economy is changing - and so is how we talk about it

By Morf Morford, Tacoma Daily Index

The term “quiet quitting” emerged earlier this year, and like almost everything else, is already fading into the background.

Get ready for terms like BYOD, digital amnesia and boomerang employees – and many others to make sense of, or at least attempt to define trends and dynamics of the economy we are passing through toward the end of 2022.


BYOD simply means Bring Your Own Device. This term is used by used by companies who allow employees to bring their own laptops, smartphones, or other devices to work and use them for work purposes.

The idea is simple; companies know that, for most purposes, workers have their own devices and are accustomed to using them.

Money is saved by the company.

And security? Yes, security is a problem.

Coasting culture

Remember “hustle culture”? This isn’t it.

In fact, you could call it opposite of ‘hustle culture’.

This describes employees who have put their feet up and are doing enough to get by. Barely.

This would be, on a good day, the staff of the Dilbert cartoon.

See quiet quitting.

Overemployment – Polywork

This is one of those trends that had to happen.

When the gig economy met the WFH (work from home) option, the obvious had to emerge.

More and more of us have multiple jobs at one time.

To put it mildly, this is a vague area.

In one way, why shouldn’t a set of transferable skills be literally transferred and used in two (or more) settings?

Company loyalty needs to be mutual, but when it isn’t, workers need to take care of themselves.

For companies and workers, one job and one employer should be adequate.

But we all know that in the recent economy (as in the past decade or so) one paycheck is not enough.

Inflation and tenuous employment contracts make a single employer even less tenable.

Quiet firing

This is similar to quiet quitting, but in this case it’s the employer who does the minimum.

By purposefully ignoring employees and limiting any career advancement, workers become disillusioned and isolated and are effectively forced out.

According to a report by LinkedIn, 80% of us have witnessed quiet firing.

Again, see Dilbert for examples.


Working in an office might not be appealing to some, but at least a line is clearly drawn in terms of when one is at work or not. Working remotely has blurred the lines – especially when it comes to when we are working, not working, available or unavailable.

This one describes a vacation where the person also works, or is at least available should they be needed.

In other words, most of us are semi-permanently on call.

WFH (work from home) has become WFA (work from anywhere), which in turn, has become WATTE (work all the time, everywhere).

It’s enough to make a commute and an office cubicle look inviting.

Re-recruiting and boomerangs

A worker might leave a company – but not for long.

Boomerang refers to those who leave a company, only to return at a later date. According to a report by UKG, one in five employees who left a company during the pandemic have returned.

It might be just another case of “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone”.

According to one study, about one in four of us who left a job believe that we may have been better off at the job we left behind.

Productivity paranoia

For many jobs, productivity can be difficult, if not impossible to measure and define. It turns out that there is a huge disconnect between how productive employees claimed to be (or believed themselves to be), and how effective their employers thought they were.

Digital amnesia

You could also call this Digital ignorance.

In other words, why should any of us bother to learn anything when we can find it online?

Why develop any skill when we can “learn” anything on a YouTube video?

We are essentially getting into the habit of deliberately being ignorant and helpless, ever more reliant on search engines.

Why should we seek and retain information of any kind?

Not only do too many of us not know anything, but we don’t even have the established habit of remembering things we need to know.

A generation ago, people left behind paper documents and photos, even newspaper clippings, but what will the current generation leave behind?

All-in or all out

In contrast to WFH or WFA, some companies, like Elon Musk’s Twitter, have enforced a strict “All-in or all out” work ethic.

Musk offered Twitter workers the choice to commit to “extremely hardcore” work or else leave the company.

In an in-house memo, Musk told employees that they could expect “long hours at high intensity. Only exceptional performance will constitute a passing grade.”

In the memo was a box to check. Those who did not check it by a set deadline would receive three months severance. You see details on the memo here.

With dismissals and layoffs, emerging and collapsing digital industries and currencies, defining where we are and where we are going is more of a challenge every day.

In other words, the ultimate “bottom line”, or even trying to explain it, is as elusive as ever.