“Lazy girl jobs are my faves, all I do is copy and paste the same emails, take 3-4 calls a day, take my extra long break, take more breaks and get a nice salary." That’s the text overlay on a TikTok from creator Rahel, one half of TikTok duo @raeandzeebo that, at the time of writing, has 1.5 million likes, and a comment section filled with a chorus of people either celebrating their own “lazy girl jobs” or expressing their deep-seated desire to have one.
This all began when TikToker Gabrielle (@garbielle_judge) coined the phrase “lazy girl job” as a way to describe jobs that are safe, require little labour on behalf of the employee, offer extremely flexible working hours, are often remote and provide a decent wage. These are the jobs, according to Gabrielle, that we should be aiming for, rather than pushing ourselves to hustle and grind in our younger years to amass enough wealth to retire young.
On its surface, the “lazy girl job” trend seems great. Isn’t a perfect work-life balance exactly what we’re trying to make the norm nowadays? Aren’t we trying to rid ourselves of the idea that our worth is defined by our careers? And, full disclosure, I’ve had many a “lazy girl job” in my lifetime. They were what allowed me to work full-time, make enough money to live comfortably out of home and, at the same time, study my bachelor’s full time online. I spent my days sending my 2-3 emails and answering the odd phone call, all while studying and writing essays at my desk.
I’m sure there will be people reading that who would be horrified and think that, in some way, I was taking advantage of my workplace, or that I was being a “bad employee.” But, as I figured back then, if I was getting all my work done to a high standard, then what did it matter if I also used the time to do my own thing?
That period of my working years was the most low-stress and low stakes of my life – I was never kept awake at night obsessing over issues and never came home raging and spitting about something that happened at work. Work was work – the focus was predominantly on everything outside of work, whether it be studying, friends, relationships or, simply existing.
When we think of a “lazy girl job” in that way, the appeal is certainly clear, particularly in the age of “quiet quitting”, "act your wage" and “bare minimum Mondays.” We are currently undergoing a cultural reset of how we view work, realising, as the cost of living crisis explodes around us, the futility of the capitalist hamster wheel. “Lazy girl jobs” are just another way of rebelling against a system that is perpetually designed to drain us and keep us doggedly chasing the next paycheque, the next promotion, the next big corporate move. With our “lazy girl jobs”, we're disengaging with the rat race, content just to earn an easy paycheque.
But, when we consider the concept a little more deeply, there are layers to the “lazy girl job” that feel, well, ick.
There is an inherent privilege in being able to work a job that demands little and pays decently, and this privilege is predominantly going unacknowledged on TikTok. When we consider people – particularly young people – working two or sometimes even three different jobs to make ends meet, bragging about taking extended lunch breaks feels particularly on the nose.
Another issue arises from the term itself – “lazy girl job.” The idea that having a job that doesn’t require much thought or effort is inherently “lazy” is a little problematic. And there are other connotations of the term: it seems to imply that not performing above and beyond at work is being “lazy.” And look, if we’ve learnt anything as a society, it’s that words matter. So using the word “lazy” can't be taken lightly.
No part of the “definition” of a “lazy girl job” involves neglecting work or “slacking off” – it’s simply that the positions that these people work in aren’t particularly demanding. People are still performing the basic duties required of them. There is, then, nothing “lazy” about it, and so by attaching this label, there is a small part of me that thinks that we’re perpetuating this myth that just doing your job is somehow not enough.
Of course, I know also that everything online, and particularly on TikTok, is said with a sense of irony. I also know that we’re forever in pursuit of reclaiming certain words. Is calling these jobs “lazy” just us transforming this term into something we can claim?
The final thing to consider is the type of jobs people are listing as “lazy girl jobs” and, in conjunction with this, the use of the word “girl.” Look, I know – everything is branded as “girl” nowadays. Girl dinner, girl maths, girly girl, girlies...don't even get me started. But still, the use of the word makes the term incredibly gendered and when people start applying it to positions like administrative assistant, we’re reinforcing the idea that the jobs that are often performed by women in offices are small and inconsequential. And I’ve been an administration assistant at a number of businesses, and can tell you that there are offices that would collapse if there wasn’t someone quietly working behind the scenes to keep the day-to-day operations running.
It’s also probably worth considering whether you should really be posting about your extended breaks and minimal tasks at your “lazy girl job” on an online forum where your employer might see.
Like, people, please – do you want to get fired?