Entering the workforce can be a huge adjustment for any generation. Generation Z, the cohort born between the mid-1990s and early 2010s, is no exception. As they venture into the professional world, Gen Z’s are making their voices heard and raising their concerns about the workplace in ways that have never been seen before.
One Gen Z TikTok user recently took to the social media site to showcase her stress and despair over not having time “to do anything” after working her 9-to-5 job.
“I want to shower, eat my dinner and go to sleep. I don’t have time or energy to cook my dinner either. Like, I don’t have energy to work out, like that’s out the window. Like, I’m so upset,” the young woman says in the now-viral TikTok. “Nothing to do with my job at all, but just like the 9-to-5 schedule in general is crazy.”
Does this Gen Z-er have a point? Have other generations been dealing with bad working conditions because they thought they had no other choice or does Gen Z need to take a lesson in hard work and the “real world”? Understanding this new generation of workers may help the older generations understand their point of view and change the status quo of achieving the “American Dream”.
Gen Z has gained attention for a new term “lazy girl jobs.” This is a counteract of the Millennials coining the word “Girl Boss.” “Girl Boss” was characterized by the rise of gritty, go-getting, goal-setting women determined to top the career ladder in an all-too-often toxic male environment. It was a time when women welcomed ‘hustle culture’ and competitive busyness. But variations of the term have deteriorated in the decade since and the ‘girl boss’ has become a painful parody of itself. Women are no longer glamorizing ‘ the grind.’ Instead more and more are choosing to pursue work/life balance, rather than the race to the top jobs.
Gabrielle Judge, who calls herself “antiworkgirlboss” on social media, coined the phrase “Lazy Girl Jobs” in May, admitting she had an easy but well-paid job. Since then, ‘lazy girl jobs’ has trended on TikTok, amassing more than 47 million video views on the platform.
“It’s a rejection of hustle culture. It’s a rejection of toxic corporate feminism,” said Judge. “Isn’t this rejection of corporate feminism a positive development? Isn’t it commendable that women are recognizing that their success isn’t solely determined by whether or not they occupy a CEO position? As for hustle culture, Gen Z doesn’t oppose hard work; hustle culture is a lifestyle that lacks work-life boundaries.”
The internet is littered with articles fuming over Gen Z’s alleged distaste for workplace “norms” but according to these young workers, they simply are just choosing to reject some of the practices that previous generations were forced to accept. Gen Zs are less likely than their elders to go along with long hours, overbearing bosses, or a lack of boundaries between the personal and the professional. Instead, this new wave of workers is actively pushing back on the behaviors that make the workplace a toxic environment.
Thanks to the pandemic, these young workers were introduced to “remote learning and working.” Since getting a taste of this lifestyle they now argue why waste valuable time commuting in traffic when they could spend more time at home with family or enjoying a hobby that makes them happy.
A survey indicated that 73% of Gen Z employees value flexible work arrangements, such as remote work. Interestingly, 76.5% of employees agreed that remote and hybrid work enhance productivity. This raises a valid point: If you can achieve high productivity while working from home, what’s the necessity of commuting to the office?
Generation Z has exhibited a remarkable commitment to their mental well-being, and this is a factor that greatly influences their decisions regarding employment.. Gen Z-ers have higher reported rates of mental illness than previous generations. Youth suicide rates have shot up over the past decade, and all of that was even before the pandemic, which doubled anxiety and depression symptoms among young people globally, according to a 2021 study published in JAMA. Young people, aware of the potential consequences of overwork and burnout, are making very different choices than past generations when it comes to work-life balance. They are willing to seek opportunities that align with their overall wellness, even if it means departing from a job that doesn’t meet these essential criteria. In this way, they’re reshaping the workplace by highlighting the importance of creating environments that promote not only professional growth but also the psychological health of their employees.
Taking a step back to understand Generation Z is crucial in unraveling the profound importance they place on work-life balance, a value that distinguishes them from previous generations. They seek a harmony that allows them to prioritize not just their careers, but their personal well being, mental health, and quality time with loved ones. They are challenging the other generations by asking, “Why should we put up with bad work conditions if we don’t have to? Shouldn’t we make a change for all our well-being?”
90 years ago, children were a key part of the workforce. 60 years ago, the Equal Pay Act was passed to give fair and equal wages to women. And 500 years from now robots may do all the work we need, increasing societal efficiency to a point where working for food or a home is no longer required, allowing people to spend their lives doing things that interest them…the perfect society (my husband watches a lot of Star Trek).
My point is the working landscape is always changing. Things that people valued 20 years ago are completely different from what is valued today. It is important for people to understand the current trends that the workforce itself is driving towards, from all different perspectives. If you own a business and are looking to employ people, you may benefit from better workers if they are enabled to work remotely, or higher wages attracting better candidates. If you are working and feel burn-out from the typical 9-5, maybe that type of work isn’t for you and you can explore other avenues. Or if you expect to only work 3 hours a day but aren’t able to find a job, maybe you need to compromise and find a job with more hours.
Older generations may look at Gen Z and think that they are lazy or are idealists, and Gen Z may look at older generations and think they have the wrong priorities when it comes to work-life balance. I’m not sure who is right in this discussion, but I think the important thing is that these conversations are happening in the first place.
The Women’s Organization. “‘Girlboss’ to ‘Lazy Girl’ – Changing Faces of Women at Work.” LinkedIn, the Women’s Organization, 9 Oct. 2023,
Fitchett, Noelle. “Is Gen Z Lazy Or Do They Want Work-Life Balance?” Independent Womens Forum, Independent Womens Forum, 5 Oct. 2023, www.iwf.org/2023/10/05/is-gen-z-lazy-or-do-they-want-work-life-balance/.
Kelly, Kim. “Gen Z’s Not Lazy — They’re Just Refusing to Put up with the Toxic Work Culture That Boomers Created.” Business Insider, Insider, 3 Nov. 2022, www.businessinsider.com/how-gen-z-is-changing-work-most-pro-labor-generation 2022-11.
Peterson, Britt. “What Gen Z Wants in the Workplace.” The Washington Post, The Washington Post, 16 June 2023,