Who does a Lazy Girl Job really hurt?Aug 22, 2023
What is a lazy girl job? While the term does apply to men, women, and nonbinary people equally, the #lazygirljob addresses the nature of the job itself. Essentially, it’s a relatively easy white-collar job that pays well, often in the remote category. Coined by TikTok influencer Gabrielle Judge, the whole concept hinges on the importance of work/life balance over sweat equity. That sounds nice, but what is it really?
Many people consider lazy girl jobs to be the next evolution in quiet quitting. Instead of killing yourself for the company, you put in just what is necessary to get the work done.
Office Space: The Gen X Version of the #lazygirljob
If you want another example, all you have to look at is the 1999 film by Mike Judge, “Office Space.” All too many workers can relate to this scene:
Peter Gibbons: The thing is, Bob, it’s not that I’m lazy. It’s that I just don’t care.
Bob Porter: Don’t... don’t care?
Peter Gibbons: It’s a problem of motivation, all right? Now if I work my ass off and Initech ships a few extra units, I don’t see another dime, so where’s the motivation? And here’s something else, Bob: I have eight different bosses right now.
Bob Slydell: I beg your pardon?
Peter Gibbons: Eight bosses.
Bob Slydell: Eight?
Peter Gibbons: Eight, Bob. So that means that when I make a mistake, I have eight different people coming by to tell me about it. That’s my only real motivation is not to be hassled. That, and the fear of losing my job. But you know, Bob, that will only make someone work just hard enough not to get fired.
Back to Today…
TikTok influencer Gabrielle Judge argues that if she can get the same amount of work done in 20 hours vs. the required 40, why wouldn’t the company pay her the full salary and allow her to do whatever she wanted with the remaining time?
Certainly, if there are inherent management problems with the current work structure, you always have a choice to improve it, leave it, or – like so many people today – just don’t do your job and still take the full paycheck.
However, there are some problems with this beyond limiting your commitment to the employer. It hurts the rest of your team, which can create problems years down the road.
The 20/70/10 Rule
There is a long-standing management concept known as the “20/70/10 Rule:”
- 20% of your employees are your top performers.
- 70% of your staff are average workers consistently producing solid work.
- 10% of your staff are actively working towards your demise.
Developed by Jack Welch, the “differentiation system” can be used to determine people’s career trajectories. The top 20 are groomed for promotions, the 70 receive ongoing training to keep their skills current, and the final 10 should be let go or encouraged to leave.
Based on that model, where do you think management would place the quiet quitters and the lazy girl jobs?
I know a Gen X worker who is a solid 70%. He’s been with his company for 25 years, is paid well, and excels in his role. Thanks to his reliability, consistency, and team-player mentality, he is considered the backbone of his department. He holds a hybrid position, working from home a few days a week. He doesn’t extend beyond normal work hours, but when he is engaged at work, he actually answers his phone and email as expected.
Unfortunately, not all the other team members have the same attitude. When working from home, they frequently ignore their phone or delay email responses for hours, if not days. They often take last-minute vacations, including leaving deadline-driven work incomplete – which requires the rest of the team to pick up the slack.
Work/Life Balance Is Good, But So Is Being Present
One of the best lessons learned in the post-COVID world is that work/life balance is important for everyone’s mental health. However, if someone pushes back on the expectations for the job, it negatively affects others.
It is not an unreasonable expectation for employers to desire their workers to be fully present during the expected work hours. Case and point, companies invest thousands, if not millions, of dollars every year to improve their employee engagement scores. HR studies have repeatedly proven that engaged employees produce higher quality work, call in sick less, and are less likely to job-hop out of the company.
If a worker wants more free time or a non-traditional work schedule, they should collaborate with their supervisor to discuss the options. For example, proposing procedures to increase efficiency is an excellent way to improve the entire team’s work/life balance. Discussing alternative schedules with the boss will help manage the coverage for incoming calls while improving communication with fellow coworkers.
The” Second Worst Employee:” Threats to Security and Career Planning
One of the tactics that Judge actively states is to “be the second worst employee.” https://nypost.com/2023/07/11/gen-z-women-explain-why-they-want-lazy-girl-jobs-i-get-paid-a-bomb-salary-to-talk-to-no-one/
Her argument? When she did strive to be a top performer, she received the same raise as the rest of the team. Therefore, why WOULDN’T you be the second worst employee if there are no immediate rewards for working hard?
Many industries could face layoffs in 2023. Plus, they are predicted to hit remote and hybrid workers the hardest. When faced with retention decisions, the “second worst employee” is not really the one that a supervisor will fight to keep.
Additionally, a strong professional network is critical to anyone’s job search. If a #lazygirljob team member suddenly finds themselves looking for work, do you think the past coworkers who constantly had to pick up the slack would be willing to open their networks? Do you believe that they will provide references? Or recommend the job seeker for a role at a new company? Probably not.
But What Happened to Peter?
After the company literally burns to the ground in “Office Space,” Peter actually finds a job that he enjoys – not in software, but in construction. He puts in his hours, gets to work outside, and is paid well. Yes, he found a job that supported his work/life balance, even in 1999.
The bottom line of the #lazygirljob movement is to embrace what is important to you. If you don’t want to “live to work,” that is a valid choice. However, even if the company itself doesn’t capture your loyalty, at least consider your fellow coworkers. If your quiet quitting constantly leaves them in the lurch, it may be better to quit entirely.
As a career coach, I help people find meaningful, rewarding, and well-paid work. If you are becoming a resentful quiet quitter at your current job, it’s time to self-reflect about your next role. Think about what you value the most in the workplace. Is it flexibility? Would you prefer more challenge? Do you want to work for a company that inspires you? Or is your work/life balance the most important factor? Once your values are understood, you can consciously seek a role that fulfills your ambitions, no matter what they are.
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