You might have seen the rise of career-related hashtags like #lazygirljob or #girlboss over the years, but what do these viral workplace trends mean in the real working world and do social media trends really impact work culture? Our Account Manager, Abigail Henderson, takes a deep dive.
The lazy girl vs the girl boss
As with many recent social media trends, this conversation started over on TikTok, where feeds are being flooded with videos of users promoting the #lazygirljob. Widely praised as a safe haven for those suffering from burnout, a lazy girl job will help you earn a decent living and achieve a good work-life balance.
However, as a woman who entered the world of work when the #girlboss dominated social media feeds, this sudden shift in attitudes can be a bit jarring!
The term #girlboss was coined in 2014 by Sophia Amoruso, the founder of fashion brand, Nasty Gal, and one of Forbes’ richest self-made women. The term spurred a rise in female empowerment social media activity with other hashtags like #workingmum and #corporatequeen also doing the rounds.
Despite the popularity of the ‘lazy girl job’, one TikToker reported that she was hearing of people getting in trouble at their places of work for claiming to have one of these roles. @gabrielle_judge, said in a video, “It’s not you being lazy or being a jerk at your job… it’s that this job should be paying your bills and have so much work life balance that you should feel as almost you’re operating in a lazy state because it should be so shocking to you because you live in a work centric nation.”
The generation game
With that in mind, it is easy to see how labelling yourself or your role as ‘lazy’ would raise a red flag to employers. Especially in a culture that is increasingly geared towards hybrid working, a concept that is largely built on employer-employee trust.
Once upon a time, overworking was the key to success. A 2021 study found that workers across the globe were, on average, putting in just under 10 hours per week of unpaid overtime. This ‘rise and grind’ culture that glamourises long hours is not a new concept.
Financial planner, Jeremy Britton, reported in 2005 that when his team was reduced by 40%, they were told to work 10% harder to cover the change in personnel.
However, in a post-pandemic world, Gen Z have an entirely different outlook on what their working lives should look like. People Management explains that lazy girl jobs aren’t necessarily for the lazy, but are for those who strive for ‘enough-ness’, doing what the job requires and taking home their salary at the end of the day, fully switching off and devoting their time to outside interests, rather than pulling all-nighters worried about a presentation or losing sleep over an email from a manager.
But where does this leave us a workforce?
Research from staffing firm, Walters People, found that 59% of professionals feel that these hashtags play into dangerous stereotypes, while 71% state that these hashtags are based exclusively on the experiences of young people.
With young women seemingly pioneering this movement, what does that mean for the future of the workforce?
The study also revealed that a quarter of professionals believed these hashtags added to gender-based workplace inequality. Given how much fighting women have had to do (and are still doing) for equality in the workplace, are these hashtags doing more damage than good?
Just 13% feel that such hashtags empower female professionals and have had a positive impact on encouraging more open conversations, so are they a diversity and inclusion nightmare?
The Young Women’s Trust released a study that found that 50% of female workers in Yorkshire and the Humber have faced some sort of discrimination, rising from 42% in the previous year.
Over a third (34%) of HR decision makers reported that they were aware of instances of young women being discriminated against in the workplace, with sexist behaviour still rife.
While the hashtag might be triggering for some, the general ethos of setting boundaries and not letting work dominate your life is admirable and heralds a new era of work culture.
Company culture coach, Lizzie Benton, explained that this trend isn’t about being lazy, it is about setting boundaries and, “Women in particular being fed up of the pressures and demands of an unhealthy and an unrealistic workplace.”
A Grazia article explored this trend, with Sonya Barlow, diversity business coach, weighing in on the debate, explaining that companies may perceive this trend as “regressive behaviour for women”, but that when done correctly, lazy girl jobs can be a smart way to figure out what you really want to do. Sonya’s take, “It’s about defining your own version of success.”