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‘Lazy girl jobs’: Why a TikTok trend captivated millions of viewers

Gaining 18 million views and counting, a video which ignited a TikTok trend known as the ‘lazy girl job’ recently sparked online controversy. Focusing on the ethos that sustainable salaries, work-life balance and well-being should come first, the post by Gabrielle Judge resonated with many workers.

With the title acting as a red herring, the trend is not gender-specific, while the ‘lazy’ aspect was intended as a play on the traditional workplace mindsets that contribute to overworking and burnout.

As stated by Judge; “Everything that I’m talking about here is considered lazy if you compare it to the toxic corporate workplace expectations.”

What are ‘lazy girl jobs’?

Defined by Judge, the core components of a ‘lazy girl job’ are as follows: 

  • A salary that allows for a comfortable lifestyle. The example bracket given is “$60,000 to $80,000,” the equivalent of approximately £47,000 – £63,000

  • A safe environment; “no long shifts, arduous commutes or dangerous working conditions”

  • Flexible (remote or hybrid) working and a healthy work-life balance

  • Arguably the key component in her video: “A lazy girl job is basically something you can just ‘quiet quit’”. This means completing the required day-to-day tasks to fulfil a job, whilst applying the minimum energy and effort needed. 

Essentially, a ‘lazy girl job’ is a role with regular hours (no overtime) and with minimum stress levels, meaning it’s easy to switch off once the clock hits 5pm – leaving enough energy for personal life and hobbies.

‘Lazy girl jobs’ vs ‘hustle culture’

Despite being mostly named online as a Generation Z trend, the ‘lazy girl job’ has also been embraced by millennials. Working during the era of the girl boss’ and hustle culture, millennials are overly familiar with the previous online movements which pushed relentless entrepreneurship and overworking.

In 2022, research by LumApps revealed that approximately “88% of UK employees have experienced at least some level of burnout over the last two years,” a figure which demonstrates why cultural ‘antiwork’ trends such as the Great Resignation, ‘quiet quitting’ and now ‘lazy girl jobs’ have become so popular. 

Previous generations and ‘lazy girl jobs’

An apt example of other generation’s opinions towards the trend – and by proxy, younger workers, can be found in Suzy Welch’s article for the Wall Street Journal; “Just when you thought Gen Z couldn’t get more annoying, it has a new trend: Lazy Girl Jobs.”

In this piece, Welch, an NYU Stern School of Business professor references a previous interview with Jennifer Sotsky, “a psychiatrist specialising in Gen Z anxiety.” Welch here states that at the root of ‘lazy girl jobs’ are “baby boomers like me [who] failed to prepare them for adulthood’s challenges.”

Following this, in a subsequent CNBC broadcast Welch made the statement that parents who were “overprotective” created “a bunch of 20-somethings who have never really had to make hard decisions or do very hard things.”

This sentiment towards younger generations of workers isn’t exclusive to Welch, Sotsky, nor caused solely as a result of ‘lazy girl jobs.’ As Gen Z and millennials demand better flexibility, work-life balance and workplace cultures, labels such as “difficult,” “exhausting” and “easily offended” have been used in a number of online opinion pieces.

This perspective does not represent all baby boomers; in fact, a group interviewed in 2021 by The Guardian praised younger generations for their “adaptability”, “tenacity” and “greater empathy.”

 The millennial and Gen Z perspective

“As a result of their war on work, Gen Zers have been dubbed entitled or anti-capitalist. Yet they’re not; Gen Zers want it all – and are willing to work hard for the right employer.” – Ali Francis, BBC, 2022

In an economy where the cost of living and house prices are soaring, the traditional rewards for placing work above personal priorities can seem much lower than for previous generations. As pinpointed by Serena Smith for Dazed:

“…those born after 1997 have already experienced two recessions, seen house prices spike to record highs and are currently living through a period of mass economic anxiety. For young people today, all signs seem to suggest that hard work doesn’t pay.”

Rather than citing this generational disillusionment as a reason to avoid work, millennials and Gen Z alike have shifted their motivations to focus on aspects other than salary alone. Instead, they are becoming more selective to ensure their current and future workplaces match their values.

“Having observed older workers experience burnout, time poverty and economic insecurity at the grindstone, they’re demanding more from workplaces: bigger pay cheques, more time off, the flexibility to work remotely and greater social and environmental responsibility.” – Ali Francis, BBC, 2022

Our recruitment perspective 

As leading recruiters across the East Midlands and London, we speak daily with candidates, gaining unique and thorough insights across generations.

When online trends such as these emerge and rapidly gain a large audience, they can be an effective indication of workers’ needs – and their shared perspectives towards the job market.

In one example of this, we’ve observed that these groups are increasingly willing to decline a job offer or leave their current role, based on whether an employer has committed to sustainability and minimising their negative environmental impact.

This trend, known as ‘climate quitting’ is a result of the rising need to align personal values with work.

It would therefore be a mistake to quickly brush off Gen Z – or millennials as “difficult.” As the next age of employees, the changes they influence can bring benefits to all – whether through demands for better flexibility, equality in the workplace or reframing the role that work plays in everyone’s lives.

How to find the right cultural fit

At its core, counterculture trends such as ‘quiet quitting’ and ‘lazy girl jobs’ can be seen as a response to unsupportive workplaces. Here at Distinct, we get to know candidates as individuals; matching skills and ambitions with businesses that will provide opportunities to grow and develop.

If you’re currently in a culture where overwork and burnout are rife, contact our Nottingham office today to discuss how we can help to find your ideal next move.

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