The #LazyGirlJob Trend Could Backfire on Gen Z

Flexible, remote jobs are likely to be among the first cut, writes Megan McArdle
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 29, 2023 12:10 PM CDT
The #LazyGirlJob Trend Could Backfire on Gen Z
Think twice before dropping that 9-5 job, say columnists.   (Getty Images/fizkes)

The idea behind the viral TikTok trend #lazygirljob, touted by influencer Gabrielle Judge and others, is to find a low-stress, extremely flexible, remote job that pays the bills while allowing for a decent work-life balance. The trend isn't specific to women. It's "the latest iteration of 20- and 30-somethings of both genders redrawing the blurry line between life and work postpandemic," and some adherants "celebrate striking work-life balance gold" with job titles like "freelance digital marketer" and "customer-success manager," reports the Wall Street Journal. It may sound great now, but as Washington Post columnist Megan McArdle points out, "your 26-year-old self doesn't necessarily know what 40-year-old you will like" and working hard early in one's career can lead to a better job down the road.

Of course, "workweeks that routinely stretch to 60 or 80 hours aren't for everyone. Nor should they be." But "maximizing self-care and travel opportunities might not be as appealing when you have backaches and toddlers," McArdle writes. "By then, you might rather have money for more bedrooms and better after-school care. Unfortunately, you'll probably figure this out only when it's too late to call backsies." She aims to warn Generation Z against ignoring the "significant long-term costs" of falling into a #lazygirljob with insight from those who've come before. Part of the problem is that "with the brief exception of the early pandemic ... Gen Z has experienced only a market with more jobs than workers to fill them," she writes.

But millennials and Generation X know "the kinds of jobs that are most fun to have in boom times are often the most risky in a downturn." That's when those jobs are likely to be cut. New York University business professor Suzy Welch offers a related take in a Journal editorial, noting that to become an amazing person—something Judge says a #lazygirljob will help you work toward—you actually need "hard and decidedly unlazy experiences." Basically, "you have to get knocked around by life." But she doesn't blame Gen Z for seeing the allure of the easy road. Their parents of the Baby Boomer generation "did everything to prevent our kids from feeling hardship or discomfort," Welch writes, leaving them with a "strong desire to avoid anxiety at any cost." (More work stories.)

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