Hustle. The grind never stops. Work harder, work faster. Many famous entrepreneurs, inventors, and celebrities subscribe to and encourage what’s known as "hustle culture."
Hustle culture, while the idea can be motivating towards goals of making more money, living a disciplined life, and realizing your fullest potential, it can be hard to know when to stop. Especially with the rise of social media and advanced technology, Gen-Z is feeling the pressure to perform like a machine.
This idea is nothing new. It was once called the American Dream and then being a “workaholic.” The idea that success has a direct relationship with the amount of effort you put in has been sold to minds across the globe. Now, Millenials and Gen Z, trying to get by in a struggling economy, are no longer seeing the point of overworking themselves for corporate greed.
In recent years, movements like “quiet quitting,” the “lazy girl job” and “anti-work,” exemplify the exhaustion workers have with rising toxic work culture and continuous demands from employers. Some Gen Z employees refuse to put in extra hours, skip meals to do work, and do more than what is asked of them in their job descriptions, all in the name of self-preservation.
One pioneer of this movement is TikTok influencer Gabrielle Judge, who originally coined the term “lazy girl job.” The point of a “lazy girl job” is that you are paid well, about a $60 to $80k salary, and offered flexibility in scheduling and location. She posts numerous weekly videos focused on giving her (primarily Gen Z) audience advice on detaching themselves from this idea that work should be the main priority in life.
@gabrielle_judge Yes theres positive stress but we dont need to normalize general unhappiness and anxiety. Theres a point in your career where leaning in and pushing through your corporate job no longer works. There isnt a dream job out there. In 2023 its all about work life balance and real conversations in the workplace. #toxicworkplace #careeradvice #overworkedandunderpaid ♬ original sound - Anti Work Girlboss
An article from Visier about quiet quitting stated: “Many Gen Z employees got their first jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic and have never known anything other than a world where work, school, and home life blurs into one.” So, it’s no wonder Gen Z struggles with creating the work-life balance they desperately call for. When there are no boundaries and work is expecting you to be “on” 24/7, it’s easily the quickest route to burnout.
In recognizing the issues in our economic system, we might also need to acknowledge the privilege that comes with refusing hustle culture. While hustle culture serves as an aesthetic lifestyle for some, it’s an inescapable reality for others.
“While some are calling for an end to productivity culture during the pandemic, it’s not that simple for low-wage workers, who often don’t have paid time off or the option to work from home to pay the bills,” according to NPR. “Even during a global health crisis, they have to hustle harder.”
The trendy “lazy girl job” and “quiet quitting” ideas could be attached to a bigger problem in America that Gen Z and Americans at large are becoming more aware of. The systems that have built our country are outdated. Gen Z is advocating for that to change.
Knives Nguyen, (he/them/theirs) is a journalist from the Bay Area who covers entertainment and culture. You can connect with them on LinkedIn: @knivesnguyen.
Edited by Nykeya Woods