“I do not dream of labour” is the antithesis of “girlboss” and hustle culture

In a world where everything is monetisable, more and more Millennials and Gen Zers are trying to divorce their identity from their careers.

“Today I want to have a little heart-to-heart on something that I think has been causing a lot of grief for many people, which is: what exactly are you supposed to do with your career? And to jump in with a piping hot take, I’m here to say: maybe you’d be better off without one.”

This is how YouTuber Katherout started her somewhat controversially-titled video, “I no longer aspire to have a career,” which has now been viewed by over 600,000 people.

This in’t the only video of its kind — over the past few months, there’s been a surge of videos with titles such as “I don’t dream of labour” or “I don’t have a dream job”. Feel free to browse them at your leisure.

Interestingly, the trend seemed to start around around the same time as news outlets began reporting on “The Great Resignation” — a trend spurred by large droves of employees leaving the workforce or switching jobs after the pandemic.

“I don’t dream of labour” is essentially the antithesis of the ‘girlboss’ and ‘hustle culture’ trends that dominated the web a few years ago that had everyone absolutely convinced that in order to succeed it is absolutely necessary to drag yourself out of bed 4am so you can write all your goals down in a journal.

(Although if you read my last post, you’ll know that hustle culture definitely isn’t dead!)

It’s not entirely surprising that people are quitting in such huge droves. For many, the pandemic has been an opportunity to revisit and reevaluate some of our core values, and think about how we spend our time. In particular, it’s given people the opportunity to actually sit down and think about whether they enjoy the job that takes up over forty hours of their weeks.

For many, it’s about coming up with solutions that will allow them to divorce their identity from their job. This includes encouraging shorter bursts of hyper-productivity over traditional 9–5 jobs to allow greater flexibility, or setting up passive income streams that allow more free time.

For others, it’s not about switching jobs at all. It’s about discovering an identity outside of their career in a world where everyone is taught to treat virtually everything as being monetisable.

Creator Holly Exley summed up her own views in a comment on a video titled ‘I have no more ambition’ by anattynook. She said: “I’ve lost a lot of ambition during the pandemic and I think it’s logical. Why would I want to be productive in a system that does not care if we live or die?”

If you’re interested in this concept and want to do some further reading outside of this 500 word blog post I’ve bashed out during my lunch break, I’d recommend checking out The Right to Be Lazy by Paul Lafargue, in which he argues for the working class’s right to be lazy. Despite being over 100 years old (it was published in 1883!), it’s still relevant today.

I’m curious to know peoples’ thoughts on this trend. Is your definition of success directly linked with your career? Have your views on ambition changed at all since the Covid-19 pandemic? Let me know. To get my posts delivered right up to your inbox, you can sign up to my newsletter if you feel like it.