The world of work is constantly evolving – including how we talk about it. From quiet quitting to squiggly careers and career committing, the job market has been flooded with career buzzwords that reflect the latest workplace trends and the shifting mindsets of employees.

Continue reading to discover the top 11 career buzzwords you need to know, as well as what they mean.

11 Career Buzzwords You Need to Know

1. The Great Resignation

The Great Resignation has been sweeping the nation. Otherwise known as ‘the Big Quit’, this career buzzword speaks to a wave of people who have left their jobs as a result of feeling unfulfilled, underpaid or underappreciated.

The trend was kickstarted by the pandemic and has been gaining momentum ever since. At the centre of ‘The Great Resignation’ is a spirit of discontentment. In fact, a 2022 survey revealed that of those who quit their jobs in 2021, 63% cited low pay as the reason for their departure, while 57% attributed it to feeling disrespected.

If you’re thinking of leaving your job, take some time to think it over and consider every option. We suggest reading this article, where City CV’s CEO, Victoria McLean, shares some important advice.  

2. Quiet quitting

While it may be implied by the name, ‘quiet quitting’ isn’t about leaving your job. It’s actually about putting in the minimal amount of work you’re required to do according to your job description. That means not taking on extra duties and not staying for ‘just an extra 15 minutes’.

Like ‘The Great Resignation’, quiet quitting is born from a spirit of discontentment. Workers no longer want to go above and beyond for a job where they’re not being recognised. 

3. Resenteeism

‘Resenteeism’ goes a step further than quiet quitting. This career buzzword describes people who stay in a job they resent due to a lack of career opportunities elsewhere. 

The difference between quiet quitting and resenteeism is that the latter is more in-your-face. As well as refusing to take on extra responsibilities, employees with resenteeism aren’t afraid to let their frustration show. If you’re suffering from this, try following these tips:

  • Speak with your manager. Don’t be afraid to express yourself, but keep it professional
  • Communicate what you need to feel fulfilled. In many cases, employers will listen – and they’re much more likely to listen if you come to them with solutions
  • Keep an eye out for other opportunities in your current company or industry

4. Squiggly careers

‘Squiggly careers’ are careers that prioritise change, self-fulfilment and opportunity. Gen Z are the true pioneers of this work trend, and while they can be unpredictable, squiggly careers are often characterised by following your passions and pursuing multiple avenues.

Victoria McLean describes squiggly careers as full of “twists and turns, and depending on the sort of person you are, that can either seem like an exciting adventure or a confusing career approach that doesn’t seem to have an end goal.” 

A squiggly career isn’t for people who want consistency and structure. But if you want the freedom to move in different directions, start a side hustle or change locations, the squiggly life may be for you. 

5. Quiet thriving

Despite the waves of resignation and quiet quitting, there is some optimism to be found in the workplace. ‘Quiet thriving’ is all about identifying what makes you feel most positive at work, and then peppering this throughout your day to make you more productive.

It’s about finding small ways to bring fulfilment into your day and adopt a sunnier outlook. If ‘quiet quitting’ is Wednesday Addams then ‘quite thriving’ is definitely Enid Sinclair. 

6. Rage applying

As you can probably guess, ‘rage applying’ is the act of applying for lots of jobs in a desperate attempt to get out of your current job. It’s fuelled by dissatisfaction and it can actually prove effective – but it has a downside, too.

The benefits of rage applying:

  • You cast a wider net, improving your chances of getting an interview
  • You’re more likely to find a new job quickly and get out of your current situation

The disadvantages of rage applying:

  • You may end up in a job or industry you don’t actually align with
  • You end up prioritising fear and resentment over following your actual values 
  • You could undermine you overall career strategy 

7. Career cushioning

Another career buzzword we see floating around is ‘career cushioning’. In a nutshell, this trend is about preparing yourself for the worst case scenario. Maybe you’re concerned about job security, the cost of living or getting laid off. So you start finding ways to cushion the blow. 

Career cushioning could look like:

  • Starting a side hustle for extra income
  • Learning new skills that make you more employable
  • Changing careers or looking for new opportunities in your current job

8. Rust-out

Rust-out’ is a term used to describe employees who feel uninspired and chronically bored by their work. This results in feelings of apathy, disinterest and even depression. It’s a sign that the work doesn’t challenge them mentally or fulfil their personal needs. 

If you’re suffering from rust-out, it may be because you’re overqualified for the role, or pursuing a career that doesn’t align with your values. Make a career change or speak with your boss about opportunities to progress your career within the company.

9. Career committing

In 2023, the post-pandemic attitudes of quiet quitting or resenteeism feel a lot riskier. The cost of living crisis and job security is becoming more precarious by the day. This has caused many workers to lay down their weapons and double-down on their work in a new wave of ‘career committing’.

Career committing is about pouring yourself into your career goals, whether that’s learning new skills, undertaking courses, pursuing a promotion at work or building your authority and network online. Career committing is the era of putting your best foot forward and pursuing a career that you’re truly passionate about.

10. Quiet hiring

Now let’s look at career buzzwords from the other side of the office. ‘Quiet hiring’ is a trend where employers offer existing employees upskilling opportunities in order to cut back on hiring new talent. 

While it may not be good news for those in the market for a new job, it does benefit existing employees with professional growth opportunities and the chance to grow their career.  

It bears weight to mention that the practice of quiet hiring has also emerged in response to the quiet quitting movement, and it has both positives and negatives. If your boss has asked you to take on new responsibilities or upskill, make sure to ask them these essential questions:

  • Will I be compensated for the new responsibilities with a pay rise?
  • Will my increase in responsibilities be reflected in a new job title?

11. Shift shock

The last career buzzword we have for you today is ‘shift shock’. Also known as ‘new hires’ remorse’, this speaks to that anti-climax of starting a new job you were really excited about, and then realising it’s not what you were expecting.

This is more common than you might think. One survey found that 72% of respondents experienced shift shock. What’s more, 80% of respondents said that leaving a job within six months of starting is acceptable if it hasn’t met your expectations – so shift shock isn’t something people are willing to put up with it for long. 

This signals a need for employers and recruiters to be transparent about job roles, what they expect from new workers, and what their company values are.

If you’re thinking about changing careers, or need some extra support with finding the right job, we’re here to help. Contact our friendly team today.