Elite Business Magazine: The ‘lazy girl job’ trend and why businesses don’t need to be afraid of it

Categories: Salford Business School

Authored by University of Salford Business School’s Dr Jonathan Lord, Senior Lecturer in Human Resource Management, for Elite Business Magazine

The term ‘lazy girl job’ can be attributed to a Tik Tok influencer named Gabrielle Judge who defined it as a low stress, fully remote job with little oversight and a good salary offering financial freedom

A man in suit smiling

The ‘girlboss’ trend

The term ‘girl boss’ was coined by Sophia Amoruso who began a fast-fashion retail site known as ‘NastyGal’ in the early 2010s, as highlighted in her book ‘#Girlboss’. There were other high-profile ‘girlbosses’ and although it has a condescending signature it had a certain utility which allowed woman in business to talk about herself solely as an entrepreneur.

However, if the 2010’s was the decade of the ‘girlboss’, the 2020s is shaping up to be the decade of anti-work where we have witnessed the Great Resignation of 2021 where millions of people across the world quit their jobs in the space of just a few months. The discussion has infiltrated pop culture, too, with  Kim Kardashian infamously commenting in an interview with Variety that “it seems nobody wants to work these days” and advised that women should work and surround themselves by people who want to work.

The rise of the ‘lazygirljob’

The term ‘lazy girl job’ can be attributed to a Tik Tok influencer named Gabrielle Judge who defined it as a low stress, fully remote job with little oversight and a good salary offering financial freedom. She claimed it was a job you could just quiet quit, that pays well but are non-technical roles, which fall within a 9-to-5 schedule and have struck an ongoing chord with workers, especially women. Judge explains the concept in comparison to her previous consultancy roles where she was working up to 50-to-60 hour a weeks which she felt was not normal or sustainable, and one that ultimately eroded both her mental and physical health. 

The ‘lazy girl job’ has been misconstrued and therefore aligned with the latest iteration of anti-work culture where roles are taken up because they are undemanding, stress-free, with no obligation to work overtime and where you are allowed to take as many breaks as you want. However, the concept is actually more about re-evaluating your life and place of work that is particularly prominent within younger generations such as Generation Z’s  of which only 49%  claim work is central to their identity compared to 62% of Millennials. 

While the phrase might be relatively new, an anti-work, anti-ambition sentiment has been fermenting among generation Z for quite some time now who have witnessed the rise and fall of the ‘girlboss’ as well as the consequences of a hustle culture. This generation would rather just take home a solid monthly wage and enjoy life within the parameters possible as they feel it is too difficult to get their preferred jobs, such as  in the creative industries, and focus on having a less stressful career whilst finding meaning and life satisfaction in other areas of their lives.

Although the term has been vilified Judge has tried to clarify the concept by defining it as being based around four criteria (1) a sense of safety (no long shifts, arduous commutes or dangerous working conditions) (2) remote-or hybrid friendly (3) a “comfortable” salary; and (4) a healthy work-life balance. 

How employers can relate to and tackle the issue 

Rather than the job being lazy and just for women, the concept is more around employers adopting a healthy work environment that enables workers to prioritise themselves and their work life balance. Employers will need to address this issue as the workforce is currently more empowered and less endowed to their employer with 77% of employees actively look for a new job or be willing to consider one if their company’s flexible work policies were to be reversed

Although the ‘lazy girl job’ concept is predominantly aimed at Generation Z, the rise in different generations working together has meant that employers will need to be wise to consider what is most important about work for all generations and treat people as individuals as well as listening, empathising and providing for as much choice as possible.

The worry is that the trend affects individual employees and does not manifest itself into company culture. Businesses need to be more proactive about ensuring that there is a proper sense of balance and no overworking which can lead to burnout. Hard work needs to be reshaped and redefined so that it does not have to lead to burnout. 

The term ‘lazy girl job’ has deliberately started a debate around work with employees seeking more work-life balance overdeliver at work in a way that risks compromising their well-being and personal life. Employers need to be reassured that what ‘lazy girl job’ actually means is showing up for work, doing it to the best of their ability for a job that they are literally being paid for. 

Workplaces should ensure they are not enabling a culture of burnout which can be detected through red flags such as a Lack of Autonomy, Lack of Fairness, Unsustainable Workload, Lack of Reward, Lack of Community Support and Misaligned Values. There is a clear link between mental health and productivity which is why businesses need to ensure these red flags are continually monitored and addressed if they do become part of the organisational culture. 

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