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Now that I’m an elderly Millennial, I’m no longer cool enough to start trends or incite revolutions. All my pop culture references are “cheugy”, my beloved Harry Potter books are “for old people”, and my Instagram account is so 2019. So now I have no choice but to look to Gen Z for inspiration when it comes to trends. And the newest one trending on TikTok, with 17 million uses, is the #lazygirljob.
Being the ignorant Millennial that I am and not being on TikTok (sorry China, you’re not stealing my data), I had to go down the online rabbit hole to find out what this latest trend is all about.
Started by TikToker 26 year old Gabrielle Judge in May of this year, Lazy Girl Jobs are the anti-thesis of the Sheryl Sandberg and Sophia Amoruso’s ethos of “Leaning In” and “GirlBoss”. Instead of “leaning in”” LGJ’s are all about “leaning out” and work life balance. Described by Judge as “a flexible remote position that’s non-technical, high-paying and doesn’t require extreme efforts or difficult performance goals”, she says you can expect to make around $60-80K/year. Examples include “customer success manager” and “marketing associate.”
I had no idea what the hell a “customer success manager” was and had to look it up. Zendesk defines it as “supporting your customers as they transition from sales prospects to active users of your products.”
I’ve read this sentence multiple times and yet I STILL have no idea what this role is all about. And to me, if you can’t explain what you do to a two-year-old, that job is probably not going to be around for too long. Not only that, these LGJ are supposed to be 1) flexible 2) easy and 3) high paying, which pretty much sounds like a fantasy, and if it’s really that great, everyone would be competing for one, which means they are rarer than unicorns, or prone to replacement by AI.
Now, you may disagree with me, especially if you have one of these LGJ’s. And here’s the thing, what caught my attention more than this type of job was the jaded anti-work sentiment of Gen Z’s. This immediately reminded me of the Tai Ping/Lay Flat movement in China. After the pandemic, I can kind of see where the next generation are coming from. Why risk your life for a company who doesn’t give a shit about you? And for what? For a paycheck that won’t pay for sky rocking rents or to ever own a home? To work for 30 years only to die at your desk of a heart attack or retire at 65, only to find yourself bedridden and no longer healthy enough to do any of things you put your life on hold for, just to make your company rich? The older I get, the more I can see which side of the capitalist equation it pays to be on: an investor, not an employee. Investors get richer, employees get shafted. That’s just how capitalism works. As a worker, you will continue to be squeezed to earn more and more profits for shareholders until you die.
So yes, I understand Gen Z’s sentiments. Why bust your ass when everything’s unaffordable and you can’t afford to ever buy a house and/or raise kids? Or you have to get into so much debt to be able to do it, you are the bank and your boss’s bitch for the rest of eternity. It’s not worth it.
My method of getting out of this mess was to go from being an overworked, stressed-out employee to a shareholder who makes money in my sleep. Gen Z’s answer is to look for Lazy Girl Jobs. Which, on the surface seems like a much more attainable solution than becoming financially independent, since the latter required me to work my butt off in a non-LGJ job for nearly 9 years to buy my freedom for the next 50+ years. Isn’t it easier to just take shortcut and get a LGJ instead?
Here’s the thing about easy jobs. They are extremely replaceable. In fact, at one point I had one of those jobs. Before it turned into 60-80 hour weeks, popping anxiety pills, and worrying about being outsourced, my last job was a nice easy job. In fact, I escape a far more stressful job to get that one and got a raise to boot. But unfortunately, because the job was so easy and well-paying, someone up top noticed, and quickly rectified the situation by increasing my workload 10-fold and then trying to replace the position entirely with developers from India making $5/hour.
But that was then and this is now. And I would argue, now is even more dangerous to have one of those jobs because of AI. Even outsourcing overseas to someone making $5/hour doesn’t beat the efficiency and cheapness of machines that never need to sleep, eat, get benefits, or get sick.
Even though AI won’t be able to replace all jobs (especially in the trades or care giving, in which you need a living breathing human being for the task), non-technical ones that are high paying (read: expensive for the company) and remote, will be the first on the chopping block. And if you get replaced and your job was too easy, you won’t have any transferrable skills to find the next job. If your job is too easy, you are easily replicable.
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