The newest addition to the American workforce is known as Gen Z. Gen Z is frequently depicted as a generation disinterested in work. However, is it fair to categorize Gen Z as uninterested in work, or are they merely approaching work differently? Born between 1997 and the early 2000s, young people are reshaping work habits and challenging conventional employment notions.
According to a LinkedIn report, more than half of U.S. workers—61%—are contemplating leaving their jobs in 2023, with Gen Z and Millennials leading the exodus. Millennials are defined as those born between 1981 and early 1996.
For Gen Z, challenging work habits isn’t about avoiding work, job hopping, or chasing higher incomes. Gen Z seeks a work-life balance while prioritizing their well-being, personal fulfillment, and time for creative pursuits.
A survey found that 72% of Gen Z respondents reported having a side hustle, with the majority earning up to $1,000 per month.
Recently, Gen Z has gained attention for a new term, “lazy girl jobs.” The term “lazy girl jobs” originated on TikTok by Gabrielle Judge. Lazy girl jobs are anything but indolent; they revolve around flexibility, fair pay, and a wholesome work-life balance.
Although the term “lazy” may not have been the wisest or most strategic choice of words, its definition is more nuanced than some might assume.
“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.
Gen Z and Millennials are generations of entrepreneurs with 76% of Gen Z and Millennials sparring to be their own boss. Gen Z has already put this goal into action with 62% of Gen Zers having either started their own business or planning to do so in the near future.
Currently, there are several threats to flexible work arrangements from Congress, state legislatures, and federal agencies. For example, the federal Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act and the Department of Labor’s new proposed rule would crack down on freelance work by reclassifying independent contractors as employees. Freelancing or independent contract work allows workers side hustles or full-time entrepreneurial endeavors. Reclassifying these workers removes their flexibility and will lead to fewer opportunities for workers to achieve the work-life balance they desire.
At the core of Gen Z’s concerns lies the quest for work-life balance and policy is needed to reflect favorably on independent contractors and freelancers.
Daena Giardella, a senior lecturer at MIT Sloan and a leadership consultant, told Fortune that this new trend is “not about laziness but rather about people aspiring to lead full lives and feel that they have purpose and time for their fulfillment or creativity.” The majority of Gen Z isn’t lazy, they want work-life balance.