In May, a 26-year-old TikToker lit up the internet by coining the newest workplace phrase: “lazy girl jobs.”
“A lazy girl job is something that you can basically quiet quit… there are lots of jobs out there where you can make 60-80K, so like pretty comfortable salaries, and not do that much work, and be remote,” says Gabrielle Judge, the influencer behind the viral TikTok term and trend and who’s known as the “Anti Work Girlboss.” She now has nearly 156,000 followers and 3 million likes on her TikTok. Here’s what a “lazy girl job” is, and what experts think about the trend.
What is a ‘lazy girl job’?
Judge gives a few examples of jobs that lend themselves to this—marketing associates, account managers or customer success managers. She further defines them as:
- “Safe”—Judge elaborates on this as not having to stay out late at night or be otherwise inconvenienced.
- Flexible—“It takes the pressure off childcare as a whole,” Judge explains. Specifically, she notes they shouldn’t have a specific start or end time, and kids might be welcome to float in and out of the room during Zoom calls.
- Work/life balance is top of mind.
- Secure—“Women are not meant to live paycheck to paycheck… We are so multifaceted… When you take away this pressure, such as jobs that are laborious on our bodies, we are just not operating at our fullest potential.”
Judge wants people following her lazy girl job application program, which she used ChatGPT to develop, to apply to 15-20 jobs weekly.
The lazy girl job trend points to a startling statistic about worldwide workplace happiness (or lack thereof)
Obviously, many employers would be hesitant to market openings as “lazy” in any way, so while it is an exceptionally catchy term, some experts find it to be a misnomer for an otherwise healthy concept.
Lori Gottlieb, psychotherapist and New York Times bestselling author of Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, weighed in. “What it’s really talking about is that expectations of work have changed significantly, and that’s what the trend is getting at… I don’t think people are saying we want to be lazy. They are saying we want to create an environment where we can have a healthy relationship with work.” She adds that “healthy” includes both emotional and physical health, and that there’s room for improvement in the level of engagement and connection that workers feel toward their jobs.
She recently collaborated with HP to expose a difficult statistic they found through a survey of 15,600 respondents in 12 countries: Only 27% of workers have a healthy relationship with their jobs. Researchers in the report conclude that the worker’s relationship with work is “at a breaking point—and its effects are pervasive.”
How lazy girl jobs sparked widely varying interpretations
Like any trend, viewers take what they want to hear and run with it. This resulted in widely varying reactions and interpretations to the trend. For example, Judge herself has had to go on the defense to ward off critics. For example, she posts a newscast from FoxNews where reporters shake their heads as they respond to her TikTok in which she suggests being the “second worst on your team and just go live your life.”
Some are mortified
“What a weird thing, man, I grew up in the generation of women who wanted to break the glass ceiling—now they just want to take a selfie next to it and call it a day,” one of the analysts suggests. The reporters specifically target Gen Z women in their response. One commenter responded to her TikTok, writing “I think they heard ‘lazy’ and just didn’t continue listening.” This points to a potential reaction from bosses, who might actually care about balance and flexibility, but are put off by the term “lazy.”
Some are proud
In a world where money has long mattered over fulfillment or balance, times might be changing. The HP survey shows that 83% of knowledge workers are willing to earn less to be happier at work. Eliza VanCort, transformation teacher and No. 1 bestselling author of A Woman’s Guide to Claiming Space: Stand Tall. Raise Your Voice. Be Heard, talks about her own daughter, who has a lazy girl job in order to have the flexibility to spend her free time volunteering for Planet Over Profit.
“My wonderful daughter is in such a job. She is dedicating her life to climate change activism. She’d rather have a job that gives her the flexibility to use her time saving this fragile little rock we are living on rather than make a little more money. I’m incredibly proud of her. To me that’s what Lazy Girl Jobs are really all about. It’s not about being lazy at all. It’s about focusing on our planet and the people on it, rather than lining our pocketbooks, sometimes to the detriment of ourselves and on a larger scale our world.”
She goes on to say that she hopes this generation of women prioritizes jobs that “promote your passions… and reject situations that make you feel small.” So to her, the trend is about women reclaiming space.
Some are concerned it’s inequitable
Judge has faced a backlash from an onslaught of workers who basically say, “That’s nice. But the rest of us have to head out to our shift now to put food on the table.” Roza Szafranek, CEO of HR Hints, an HR subscription company model that works with more than 70 companies globally, started her company after facing burnout herself.
“They are people who today can choose how much time they allocate to work, but in the past, they worked many, many hours a day. Unfortunately, the rest of the people need to understand that there is no such thing as easy money, overnight success and simply no success for those who don’t work,” she says. “That’s why it’s crucial to tell ourselves straight out what the problem is, on what terms we want to work with the people we hire as employers, and what we can give [of] ourselves to the company when we come to it as employees.”
Some see it as a life raft for parents
In a culture where paid parental leave and affordable childcare systems are all but missing, lazy girl jobs that help you get by might be essential for parents in a tough phase of life, according to Barbara Palmer, founder of Broad Perspective Consulting. She coaches people through life changes in regards to their careers and parenthood.
“For working parents, the high cost and low quality of childcare has driven many more parents to weigh the financial equation of work and career over the cost of nannies and daycare. In many situations, the analysis favors part-time, lower stress or no work over career advancement,” she says.
She adds that a lazy girl job may be good supplemental income for childcare needs, or might replace a traditional job completely, eliminating the need for childcare. “It may be in the individual’s personal best interest to not have the stress in their life. Or, many realize that if needs are minimized, a job that delivers a paycheck without worry can provide the life and lifestyle that is desired.”
Signs that you might want to find a lazy girl job… or at least a better job
The first thing to do is to figure out if you are one of those 73% who don’t have a healthy relationship with work. Gottlieb suggests asking yourself a series of questions, but notes that most of her clients already have a gut instinct about whether it’s a healthy relationship or not. If you experience the following, it may be time for a new job:
- You aren’t feeling seen, valued or respected.
- You dread going to work.
- You can’t take care of yourself in a basic way, like having enough time for a healthy lunch.
- You don’t have boundaries between personal and work time, so you can’t connect with family and friends sufficiently.
But before you post that resume, she also adds that it’s worth talking to your current boss first—even if they aren’t someone you’d typically categorize as open to suggestions.
Gottlieb recommends asking whether you can do more in a certain area you are passionate about or skilled at that would better utilize your talents. Or, ask for what you want in a way that feels like a small step for your manager: “‘I found that when I was working from home one day per week, I was more productive. Can we try that for a month and see what that does?’ When you take baby steps like that, people are more open to experiment.”
She adds, “Sometimes people will surprise you.”
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