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Why does everybody want a ‘Lazy Girl Job’?

Digi x Planet Woo on how Gen Z are prioritising themselves over work


We spoke to Planet Woo about the rise of digital trends such as ‘lazy girl jobs’, ‘bed rotting’ and ‘girl dinner’, deep diving into why they have become so popular, and how the younger generation’s sentiments towards hustle culture are changing.


Planet WooThere are several digital trends that suggest a shift towards a minimum effort lifestyle like ‘lazy girl jobs’, ‘girl dinner’ and ‘bed rotting’. Why do you think Gen Z is moving towards low effort routines in everyday life?

Digi: It’s no secret that Gen Z have started rebelling against last decades’ hustle and grind culture, and the capitalist rules other generations have played by. They are looking for loopholes, dupes and cheat codes to increase their enjoyment and decrease the effort required. One of Gen Z’s favourite terms is ‘quality of life’, championing the idea that there is no point in putting all your effort into work if it leaves you with no time or energy for fun.

‘Lazy girl jobs’, ‘girl dinner’ and ‘bed rotting’ all tie into this notion whilst also exposing a Millennial hangover Gen-Z just can’t shake; highly curating your online persona. Whilst on TikTok many may look aesthetically unbothered, they’re simply hiding the daily upkeep and personal responsibilities behind closed doors.

We’ve been seeing these lazy narratives led by Gen Z globally. Beyond lazy girl Tiktok trends in the West, In China there is the ‘lying flat’ (‘tang ping’) movement, and at a more extreme end, ‘letting it rot’ (‘bai lan’) – an ongoing pushback against China’s extreme 996 culture (working 9am to 9pm, six days a week). For the most part, Post ‘90s and Post ‘00s (China’s equivalent to Millennials and Gen Z) are fed up, and are adopting minimum-effort approaches to work. But it’s also worth noting that there is a sense of fatalism to these movements: China has had a longstanding relationship with capitalist work ideals, where promises of fortune are guaranteed as long as you work hard. However, while Gen Z and Millennials witnessed their parents’ speedy success during China’s golden, open-door years, they now face much less advantageous conditions and those same aspirations no longer feel attainable. To them, there is no point for maximum effort — so instead, they are lying flat.

Planet WooMost of these trends seem to target or speak to cis-femme individuals, their names are gendered too. Do you think this is a gendered phenomenon? Could you explain why or why not?

Digi: The gendered nature is intrinsic to these trends, as the acts being portrayed (not showering for days, eating snacks instead of meals, not making an effort to leave the house and see friends) are typically seen as “unfeminine” or even “masculine”. Although culturally we’ve had low standards for men in terms of grooming, dressing and personal care, it is considered out of the ordinary for a woman to allow herself to indulge in this kind of behaviour. 

Additionally, this can lean ever so slightly towards the “pick me” behaviours we see called out on social media — it’s a self-aware, knowing comment saying “look at me, I’m being gross, but I’m still cute tho”. 

Planet WooDo you think this is a response to previous hustle culture and burn out? How do these aspects as well as the current socio-economic climate impact this?

Digi: Generally, Gen Z have become disillusioned which has led to many not being bothered with upkeep, maintenance and putting in effort where the benefits are not directly felt by the individual. After the pandemic, we casted out some of the performative daily actions that used to be so intrinsic to our lives as we found that they no longer serve us.

Additionally, everyone is skint, personal upkeep costs money; travelling into work more than is required of you costs money; cooking elaborate balanced meals costs money. Gen Z are feeling the effects of recessions and inflation, and so have rebelled against the notions of luxury and wealth, instead opting to glorify simple enjoyment, such as clocking off early and spending the weekend in bed watching their favourite films. 

As with all cultural phenomena, if something is being felt throughout society then it’s going to be seen on TikTok, suffixed with ‘-core’ or ‘-girl’ within a matter of days. 

Planet WooHaving a lazy girl job or even eating snacks for dinner all require a certain amount of social and financial privilege. How does this reflect on these trends? Is this shift for a certain class of people who can get away with being a slacker? Please explain.

Digi: Having a lazy girl job requires privilege — working at a desk-based job with the capacity for remote working and not having to be customer-facing means you can get away with not being engaged with the job. This means that a very specific section of society can get away with being self-confessed “lazy girls” whilst those doing lower paid work such as manual labour or working in retail or hospitality are still very much under minute-by-minute managerial, and public, scrutiny.

When it comes to girl dinner and the plates laden with small snacks, there can again be barriers to entry; as prices for even basic vegetables soar, being able to delicately plate 6 different types of crudites and cheeses is indicative of wealth. 

However, whilst stracciatella, hot-honey and artisan loaves are increasingly-expensive luxuries, we have also seen much cheaper plates being shared with just as much enthusiasm. In a typically Gen-Z fashion, the trend has seen creators romanticise cheaper foods and make their thrifty lifestyle feel more luxurious. Democratise snacky-plates! 

Planet WooWhat does the word ‘lazy’ or ‘slacker’ mean to you in this cultural context?

Digi: The term ‘slacker’ has changed over time. In the ‘90s and ‘00’s we as a society were sold the myth of “hard work” and “overachieving” which Gen Z and Millennials have quickly come to realise are not real and don’t serve them. 

Specifically related to lazy girl jobs, a lot of the content we see surrounding it are quite tame; TikToker’s posting videos about getting their work done and then watching TV, or the girls who went viral for working their tech jobs from a pool. Whilst we see this as ‘slacking’ because we have for so long all bought into the myth of overachieving, these creators are in fact doing the work that is expected of them, that they’re paid for and then prioritising themselves over the company. Instead of doing extra work to build more wealth for their company, they are utilising that time for enjoyment.

For decades, going above and beyond at work had very real benefits; promotions and pay rises were very much on the cards and where workers stayed with the same company for many years you could gain recognition on this basis. The culture of work as a whole has changed; salaries don’t rise as regularly and so therefore going above and beyond is no longer a benefit to anyone other than the company itself. Whilst we shake off the hangover of hustle culture, doing exactly what you’re paid for and nothing more is now being considered to be slacking.

As the internet has been full of people identifying nepo babies within huge corporations (and even worse to the Gen Z sensibility — small,  boutique companies), it’s easy to see how working really hard and prioritising work over play might not actually land you in a top role if someone’s daughter takes it instead by virtue of simply being born. 

In China, we’ve seen new, ironic connotations form around “lazy” and “slacker” in conjunction with the lying flat movement, where being lazy is not only seen as a positive, but also a skill that can be mastered. Tongue-in-cheek discussions online see netizens discuss how they are slacking off at work, and the techniques and hacks involved in slacking off subtly to go under the radar of their bosses. We even see these narratives leveraged by brands and retailers, like this retail pop-up designed for lazy people. Many people refer to ‘slacking off’ as ‘catching fish in murky waters’, a reference to a Chinese idiom that metaphorises how one can reap rewards in chaotic times — in short, how to work smarter, not harder! 

Read the full article by Darshita Goyal here.

✨ Contributing Fairies

  • Rachel Lee, Insights & Cultural Analyst
  • Éloïse Gendry-Hearn, Digital and Talent Specialist