A woman looking bored at a lazy girl job

From ‘girlboss’ to ‘quiet quitting’ the all new ‘lazy girl job’ – what can these trends tell us about the changing faces of women at work? 

Our Head of Marketing and Engagement, Germaine Fryer writes about the growing trend among women to take a more holistic approach to their lives and work.

It was in the late noughties that the term ‘girlboss’ was coined. It characterised the rise of gritty, go-getting, goal-setting women determined to top the career ladder in an all-too-often toxic male environment.

It was a time when women welcomed ‘hustle culture’ and competitive busyness was de rigueur. Movies such as The Devil Wears Prada painted a parody of the stone-cold ‘She-E-O’ and normalised, even romanticised, the demands on her exhausted executives.

But variations of the term have deteriorated in the decade since and the ‘girlboss’ has become a painful parody of itself.

The narrative has changed. Women are no longer glamorising ‘the grind’. Instead, more and more of us are choosing to pursue work-life balance, rather than the race to the top jobs.

And perhaps we have the pandemic to thank. Changes to the way we worked and operated as a society during lockdown prompted many of us to consider our priorities.

Unlike hungry-for-success millennials before them, generation Z (people born between 1996 and 2010) were introduced to a world of work where loyalty was not instilled and longevity was not expected.

Furlough, reduced hours, receding rates of pay, and redundancy became almost the only guarantees and women were the worst impacted.

But now, in the age of the career-influencer and side-hustle culture, we can’t help but wonder, has the pendulum swung too far the other way?

In more recent months we’ve become familiar with terms such as ‘quiet quitting’. The term is used to describe giving the bare minimum to a job in which a person feels improperly compensated for going the extra mile – and it is on the rise.

Research from LinkedIn shows that the appetite for new jobs now far outstrips availability, and job-market immobility is leaving swathes of people feeling frustrated and unfulfilled.

Coupled with the cost-of-living crisis, also disproportionately impacting women, it is little wonder that ‘lazy girl jobs’ have become so sought after.

Gabrielle Judge, who calls herself “antiworkgirlboss” on social media, coined the phrase in May, admitting she had an easy but well-paid job.

Since then, ‘lazy girl jobs’ has trended on TikTok, amassing more than 47 million video views on the platform.

But is the idea of an anti-pressure life propagating anti-ambitious women? Is the pursuit of a stress-free life eroding any desire for accomplishment?

It’s also important to point out the potential pitfalls of using gendered language in a pejorative context. Women are no strangers to being put down with glib labels.

An article published earlier this week by Forbes proposes that the idea of work-life balance is a myth. It says: “Work and life are not opposing forces but two parts of your life. Two pieces that makeup one whole life.”

It suggests that we should shift our mindset and seek both success and fulfillment. 19th-century American writer Mark Twain said: “Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

That perhaps is too much to hope for. Even the most enjoyable job will have its negative and mundane aspects. However, it is reasonable to aim for employment, or even self-employment, that motivates but doesn’t consume your life.

If you find yourself at a crossroads then it can do no harm to speak to someone. For a quarter of a century, we have supported thousands of women to make positive changes to their lives.

If you are looking to enhance your employability, supercharge your career by learning new skills, or maybe you are thinking about starting your own business, then come and talk to us. You may be surprised at how many options you have.

Drop us an email at hello@thewo.org.uk or give us a call on 0151 706 8111

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