Most cells in nature are not actively dividing, yet are able to return to the cell cycle given the appropriate environmental signals. There is now ample evidence that quiescent G0 cells are not shut-down but still metabolically and transcriptionally active. Quiescent cells must maintain a basal transcriptional capacity to maintain transcripts and proteins necessary for survival. This implies a tight control over RNA polymerases: RNA pol II for mRNA transcription during G0, but especially RNA pol I and RNA pol III to maintain an appropriate level of structural RNAs, raising the possibility that specific transcriptional control mechanisms evolved in quiescent cells. In accordance with this, we recently discovered that RNA interference is necessary to control RNA polymerase I transcription during G0. While this mini-review focuses on yeast model organisms ( Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Schizosaccharomyces pombe), parallels are drawn to other eukaryotes and mammalian systems, in particular stem cells.