If you have been on TikTok this summer, you have likely heard about “lazy girl jobs.”
In May, Gabrielle Judge, a content creator who popularized the term on TikTok, called it a job “that you can basically ‘quiet quit.’” Lazy girl jobs are ones where you can have “pretty comfortable salaries, and not do that much work and be remote,” Judge said in her video. Examples she gave in the video include non-technical tech jobs like marketing associate and customer success manager.
Judge told HuffPost that “lazy girl jobs” are not reserved for a few select careers. She said she has given specific examples to help people brainstorm, but she considers the “lazy girl job” to be more of a “mindset/ethos than related to a specific job.”
Judge thinks the trend is resonating because “the traditional career advice no longer works when the internet offers so many money-making opportunities, there are so many employers to chose from, and last year the average raise was nowhere close to the average rate of inflation.”
“People are also more interested in agency in their careers due to so much freedom during the lockdown,” Judge said.
What do lazy girl jobs look like? In TikTok videos, they usually are pictured something like this: a person at a desk is looking at a screen, typing on a computer, acting unbothered and unhurried. Captions overlaid on the video can read “all I do is copy and paste the same emails, take 3-4 calls a day...AND get a nice salary,” “me at my lazy girl job that has no dress code,” “I love my lazy girl job where I sit at a desk from 9-4 and post invoices in my own time and can read.” Elevator jazz music plays on in the background.
The implication is that “lazy girl jobs” are frequently remote, or are often ones where you get to sit down at a desk, uninterrupted by noisy co-workers or belligerent customers, and have the autonomy to do work how you please. An ideal lazy girl job gets a comfortable salary with benefits and flexible hours, without any strain needed.
But that’s not necessarily “lazy,” that’s just how many of us would prefer to do work if we had a choice.
Why more people want “lazy girl jobs.”
Studies have found that we value autonomy above other metrics of success like a fancy title. In a 2016 study of more than 2,000 people published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, researchers discovered that people were more likely to give up the opportunity to get promoted if they had the ability to gain more control over how their workdays went.
As people who claim to have “lazy girl jobs” on TikTok put it, getting one can offer much-needed boundaries between the demands of your job and inner peace. One university coordinator said they are “thriving at my lazy girl job after a chaotic decade in teaching middle school science” while another TikToker said theirs was a “calm office job” that was a stark contrast to being “stressed and overworked for years in retail and customer service.”
“A lot of what people are calling laziness or quiet quitting, or resenteeism, or whatever else, is just having really healthy boundaries,” said Devon Price, a social psychologist, author of the book “Laziness Does Not Exist” and a clinical assistant professor at Loyola University Chicago.
Jess, a New York City-based senior specialist in mortgage banking posted a TikTok about loving her “lazy girl job.” “I don’t have to talk to people, only come to the office twice a week. Literally just to punch in some numbers, eat candy, catch up with coworkers and make a decent salary,” the caption to her TikTok states.
“I think ‘lazy girl jobs’ are trending because for so long people thought they had to exhaust themselves in order to make a living and seeing that isn’t the case, strikes interest,” Jess, who asked not to use her full name because of potential career retaliation, told HuffPost.
For Judge, “LGJ is about reducing unnecessary work, the trend is not about not doing your job,” she said.
If you want a “lazy girl job,” “I suggest people look for roles like operations analyst, etcetera, but honestly I think your management is super important because I’ve had previous jobs [with the] same title and had a completely different experience,” Jess added.
In this way, the possibility of a “lazy girl job” can be more dependent on the people you work with, more so than the actual work you do.
Is calling your job “lazy” harmful?
“I added ‘lazy’ into the term because lazy girl jobs offer so much work-life balance it should feel as if you are almost operating at a lazy state when compared to the American hustle culture,” Judge told news.com.au.
Not everyone is understanding the trend though. In response to criticism that the work she is describing is misinformation and not lazy, Judge said in a follow-up TikTok that she doesn’t actually think these kind of jobs are “lazy”: “It’s called ‘lazy girl jobs,’ not because we are being lazy, it’s an anti-hustle dig...Honestly the term ‘lazy’ was put in there for marketing.”
Price said in the best-case interpretation, a “lazy girl job” is a playful joke that is gender neutral, but the phrasing also reflects how the gender binary is becoming more entrenched on TikTok. Similar to the “girl dinner” trend, it is part of a “tendency to infantilize anything that women do and to treat women’s desires or traits or behaviors as just completely separate from anything that men are doing, even if men are doing an equivalent thing,” he said.
Using the word “lazy” carries societal and moral judgments, too. Price cautions against using the term “lazy,” calling it more harmful than helpful.
“We use laziness to write off a lot of different things. Unhoused people get called lazy, even though just staying alive when you’re unhoused or you’re unemployed is just about the hardest thing in the world and you’re working all the time. Teachers call their students lazy when they can’t see what’s going on in that student’s home life and it’s making it impossible for them to focus,” Price said. “There’s just a lack of curiosity about the whole social context around the person that happens when we call something lazy.”
So if the trend is appealing to you, he suggests reflecting deeper into the root cause. “If you feel unfulfilled in what you do to make a living, like why is that the case? What is it about your job that is so unappealing to you? What would you like your life to look like in a way that would be motivating, because most human beings, we do actually really want to believe in something and to work on something we find rewarding,” he said.
See if you can use the time and energy you gain back from having a “lazy girl job” into doing something meaningful for your community, he suggested.
“If people are doing less at work, and they have more time to pursue art and be in their community and just think about deeper questions than the work stress that would be keeping them up at night, that’s a beautiful thing,” he said.
“I am all in favor of people half-assing their jobs a little bit more because we do more than previous generations did for less pay. Like we all deserve to slack off and be a little bit lazier at work, however you want to describe it,” Price said. “But I think we’re even more effective at doing less if we do it collectively and work together.”
Be careful when calling your job a “lazy girl job.” Employers are not likely to be thrilled.
There can also be serious job consequences when you call your role a “lazy girl job,” too. Keep in mind that whether you see it as positive or not, employers may see you calling your work a “lazy girl job” as judgment against them.
“I don’t think there is any harm in letting others know that these jobs do exist, but I won’t say where I work, who my managers are,” Jess said.
Kenzie Lee, a recruiter that has had “lazy girl jobs” in the past, cautions against identifying your role as a “lazy girl job” online.
“I wouldn’t recommend sharing anything about your specific company on social media unless the company is OK with that,” she said. “Employers don’t love to hear those words and might entirely misunderstand. Although I love ‘lazy girl jobs,’ an employer might have a different thought of the meaning compared to you or me.”
Judge said that she purposely didn’t talk about “lazy girl jobs” until she quit her job “as I knew the wave the trend would make and needed full control over my time and content strategy to make a difference.”
“A ‘lazy girl job’ mindset is all about creating as much freedom and space in your personal life as possible through efficient work days, although not everyone will understand,” she said. “If one puts themselves at risk for retaliation via viral social media posts, it’s much harder to have work-life balance.”