On Resenteeism

Another new name for an old idea

In recent weeks, a new term has surfaced to describe a trend taking place in corporate America - Resenteeism. Just as with Quiet Quitting, workers who exhibit Resenteeism are putting in less effort than they once did, meaning they aren’t as productive and effective as they once were. The trend resenteeism takes its name from the resentment at the underlying core of the behavior that is observed.

What separates Resenteeism from Quiet Quitting is that the latter focuses on the end result - doing less work - while the former calls out the cause - resentment for how one is treated at work or as a reaction to one or a series of events.

In my previous post on Quiet Quitting, I outlined three causes: poor work environment, poor return on investment (ROI) for one’s effort given, and one’s purpose lies outside of work. Resenteeism can arrive from either a poor work environment or a low ROI on extra effort expended.

Poor working environments, which often arises from a lack of respect for people, will often lead to feelings of resentment. While some can suffer from a poor working environment stoicly, others will let months or years of disrespect build into resentment.

Workers putting in less effort due to a perceived poor ROI may do so for a variety of reasons. It might be due to an emotional response. It could also be a calculated, logical response after working hard for little reward. From the outside, one might attribute the behavior to resentment.

Resenteeism sounds like a new trend, but it’s just a new interpretation of the ‘Quiet Quitting trend we’ve seen over the past few years. Yet, as I shared in my original post on Quiet quitting, this trend is not new, though is more widespread. Understanding the underlying cause can help go a long way to overcoming this trend, but overcoming it will require concerted effort from leadership.