According to a recent Deloitte survey connecting with nearly 24,000 Gen Z and Millennials across 44 countries, about half of them (52% Gen Z and 49% Millennials) said they feel exhausted at work. This number is up 5% compared to the same period in 2022.
However, the same survey also shows that up to 40% of young people have another paid job besides their main job. Others tend to care about mental health and demand a more suitable workload. Do these seemingly contradictory trends have anything in common? Are young people contradicting themselves?
Before talking about commonalities, let’s clarify these two recent employment trends.
“Side Hustles” – Busy in a Meaningful Way
Side hustles can be understood as additional work alongside a full-time job.
To differentiate from part-time work, side hustles are jobs where your income is paid based on workload, meaning the more you work, the more you’re paid, and vice versa. Additionally, when and where you choose to work is up to you.
According to the same survey, for young people, side hustles are seen as opportunities for personal development (27%), a hobby (24%), or a way to find a “breath” away from their stifling main job (24%).
Antiwork: The Fight Against Terrible Work Experiences
In another development, anti-work is known as a movement advocating for workers’ rights. It questions the effectiveness of traditional 9-to-5 jobs and asks whether we should reduce working hours to encourage a balance between work and life.
Recently, the anti-work movement resurfaced with the term “lazy girl jobs” on social media to fight against work pressure and negative work environments. However, the names “anti” or “lazy” often mislead people into thinking these movements encourage laziness.
In reality, these “lazy” girls aren’t avoiding work; they want to reduce unnecessary thoughts and set limits. Perhaps mostly because they feel their job brings little value or demands too much compared to what they receive.
According to Harper’s Bazaar UK, anti-work and lazy girl jobs are like statements from young people when they realize that in this era, giving their all might not bring fulfillment as it once did.
Two Trends, Many Common Goals
Side hustles require us to spend more time working, while the anti-work movement encourages working less for efficiency. At first glance, they seem like two different ends, but the author of this article believes that both are aimed at the same destination with many common points.
1. Moving towards a more autonomous culture
Side hustles give us the freedom to choose the nature of the work. Anti-work helps reduce pressure, working hours, and unreasonable demands from superiors. Both want you to have more time for yourself to be proactive in your life.
2. Challenging our thinking about work
While anti-work directly questions the effectiveness of the 9-to-5 work model, side hustles are like an experiment that allows young people to experience non-traditional work. Both are like a theoretical-practical couple complementing each other.
3. Responding to an unstable economic situation
Both trends, whether existing before or recently formed, have emerged due to the instability of the labor market. Young people adapt to inflation by creating multiple income sources and ensuring their financial security in the face of risk. At the same time, they also fight to protect their jobs and the benefits they bring.
4. Focusing on the quality of life
Ultimately, both groups aim towards a more humane philosophy for the benefit of people.
Both perspectives raise questions about the nature of work and its role in our daily lives. Work is intertwined with life, sometimes even more than our rest time, so it should bring the most positive and meaningful experiences.
Ultimately, what is a meaningful job?
Each person will have their own definition of a meaningful job. It could be a job that satisfies the need for achievement, helps one assert oneself, or simply ensures financial security for a certain period. But for this article, the lesson drawn from the two trends above is that we have a need for autonomy and self-actualization in our work.
In an article by Gallup, girls searching for the term “lazy girl” mostly share that being able to do what they are best at will be an important factor in their next job search. In other words, they are not looking for easy, high-paying jobs; instead, jobs with moderate challenges stimulate them to work more productively.
Research also shows that when you do a job you are good at, it helps reduce pressure and exhaustion at work. You become more productive and motivated and increase job satisfaction.
Additionally, a job where you can be autonomous will help reduce the burden at work. These “lazy” girls mostly mention unfairness and ineffective communication with superiors, according to Gallup.
Moreover, having a job where you can be autonomous helps to reduce the burden at work.
“Lazy girls” often mention unfairness and ineffective communication with superiors, and according to Gallup, these are the primary factors causing stress.
Autonomy, in addition to flexibility in terms of time and workspace, also includes the plans and choices you make for yourself. Proactively sharing with your boss about the issues you are facing, the benefits you need, or proposing a salary increase are things that should be done but many Vietnamese people still hesitate to do.
Translated by Tường Nguyễn.