What is the lazy girl job trend?
“Lazy girl jobs” are a viral social media trend in which younger generations of women tout switching their job (and often their career or industry) to find greater work-life balance. The tongue-in-cheek phrase flouts an American work culture that celebrates putting in long hours, acquiescing to high-pressure managers, and pushing personal productivity at the expense of sustainable wellbeing -- both inside and outside of the office.
Unlike the “quiet quitting” trend of recent years, self-proclaimed “lazy girls” aren’t avoiding work, but rather setting boundaries around their career. This can mean more flexibility, the opportunity to blend and split, fair compensation, and a general “anti-hustle” way of being.
So, is this just a “girl” thing? Yes and no.
Working women report persistent burnout at higher rates than men. And this gap widened during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, burnout went up for employed women and actually went down for employed men. Notably, this gap remains even for employees without school-aged children. In 2023, 33% of employed women say they experience burnout very often or always, while 25% of men say the same.
Additionally, Gallup finds that a majority of male and female employees say that better personal wellbeing is very important in their next job. However, women are significantly more likely to say better personal wellbeing is very important when considering a next job (69%) compared with men (58%).
The working woman renaissance
To be clear, women and men are looking for the same things at work. Income comes up equally as often for men and women. But women are more likely to report other factors as being very important in addition to pay.
That doesn’t mean that we are in Great Resignation/Great Reshuffling territory. According to recent BLS numbers, current quit rates (while higher than before the pandemic) are relatively low.1 Employees see job opportunities, but they are being choosy.
Women are significantly more likely to say better personal wellbeing is very important when considering a next job (69%) compared with men (58%).
But there’s another reason the “lazy girl” jobs phenomenon is worth watching: Women are entering the workforce at historic levels2 following decades of decline.3 It’s possible that the rise of hybrid and remote work has allowed women to work who otherwise would not. Regardless of the cause, the renaissance of working women will likely redefine what a “good job” means in the future.
When “wellbeing” means something else
Sometimes we link wellbeing to perks, such as greater autonomy or flexibility or lifestyle benefits. But Gallup research finds that unfairness at work, unmanageable workloads and unclear communication are primary drivers of burnout. (These are also, notably, the things “lazy girls” often mention they are trying to escape.) And these are ultimately issues management and team leadership -- not HR or a benefits package -- address. Great company policies can’t fix an unskilled manager.
When employees feel powerless to change their workplace, they may turn to working less, quiet quitting or looking elsewhere to find the balance they need to preserve their wellbeing. Working less (or caring less) at a job you hate is always an option, but it’s not a solution.
So, when women say that work-life balance and personal wellbeing matter a lot to them, it may be a way of saying: I want a manager who gets me.
Women also want a better challenge
There’s another thing women say they want in their next job: the opportunity to do what they do best. Sixty-two percent of women say the prospect of doing what they do best is very important when considering a next job (ranking above job security), compared with 52% of men. In other words, rather than looking for "lazy" jobs, most women are seeking work that fits their talents.
Surprisingly, this too is about personal wellbeing: Gallup has found that getting to do what you do best decreases stress and burnout. When you’re doing things that you are naturally good at, you’re more productive, more energized and more able to accomplish your work without feeling overburdened. As a result, one of the best things organizations and team leaders can do to improve women’s wellbeing is to enable them to identify their strengths and then adapt their role and responsibilities to match what they naturally do best. Encourage women to identify stretch goals and pursue opportunities that push them into new, energizing spaces -- doing so will advance your organizational goals as well.
When employees feel powerless to change their workplace, they may turn to working less, quiet quitting or looking elsewhere to find the balance they need to preserve their wellbeing.
It’s perhaps counterintuitive, but it’s true: One way to give someone an “easier” job is to give them a challenge they are passionate about and excited to solve. Don’t assume “lazy girls” want less work or fewer challenges -- assume they want meaningful work that feels lighter because doing what they do best comes easily.
Not only does matching talent to task improve how work gets done, but it also supports the wellbeing of women at the same time.
Create a workplace of wellbeing.
- Use the CliftonStrengths assessment to ensure employees get to do what they do best at work.
- Discover how to develop managers who understand their employees and act like coaches.
- Prioritize your employee experience and wellbeing with Gallup’s workplace solutions.