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Friendly Reminder That You Don’t Need A “Big Girl Job” To Be Taken Seriously

big girl job

This article was written by The Zillennial Zine’s spring editorial intern Megan Pavek. Find her on Instagram at @megan.pavek. If you would like to share an article with The Zillennial, send us an email at

When describing the trials and tribulations of working a desk job from 9 to 5, Dolly Parton sang it best. As children, we are taught to chase these jobs because they are stable but as adults, we end up venting over lack of free time and often inadequate pay, left to navigate worthless office politics. The grind can be best categorized as mind-numbing, so during our formative years why was it put up on a pedestal? I think 1980s Dolly Parton would be delighted to know that the workplace is changing more and more every day, and in today’s world, fewer people are aspiring for the traditional desk job. Better yet, more and more people are ditching the term “big girl job” because it’s demeaning and exclusive.

What is a “big girl job,” anyway?

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The term “big girl job” typically refers to a full-time position that offers benefits like health insurance and a retirement savings plan. For many workers, this is the job that allows them to support themselves for the first time since high school or college. Financial stability is within your grasp, and with that comes independence. Hence, finally achieving “big girl” status. However, some believe this term has a negative connotation and implies that an individual must have a particular job in order to be taken seriously in society.

Invalidating others careers

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If certain jobs meet the criteria for “big girl jobs,” than where does that leave the others? Opposite the corporate desk job are employment opportunities in the hospitality and retail sectors. Universally known for accessibility, unconventional hours and ability to make sizeable tips, the service industry attracts many first-time job seekers in high school or college.

Bestowing the label of “big girl job” upon certain forms of employment is problematic because it insinuates that other occupations are reserved for the lesser than. Even worse, this mindset can diminish the credibility of other careers. A job is a job, and every employee does their part in showing up each day and putting in the time an effort. This is respectable in itself, regardless of title or status.

One Reddit user shared on an online forum that they hate the “big girl job” term because it implies that they are unworthy of success, or that they have the work ethic of a child. It’s important to remember that sometimes the server or the barista is working twice as hard as the administrative assistant, and learning just as many useful career skills along the way!

Escaping the grind


posting this for me as much as you so I never forget. worth a listen. #manifest #manifestation #resign #resignation #quitjob #quittok #leapoffaith

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Individuals are sharing stories about how they quit their jobs in order to preserve their mental health. People rarely prepare you for what happens after you finally earn the degree and get that first job in your field. The likelihood of experiencing burnout, or disliking the career you’ve finally entered after years of academia is unfortunately high. This phenomenon has been exacerbated by the pandemic and continues to impact employees as the workforce evolves more every day.

Escaping the mundane office environment offers the opportunity for more creative work. Maybe you start working as a bartender, which frees up your days to work on that passion project that has taken a backseat up until now. Or maybe you find purpose in working with your hands and being a baker and choose to stay employed at a coffee shop indefinitely. These are small victories that should be celebrated! 

I was working my way up the ladder in the public sector until recently when I quit my job and moved across the country. I now work at a small business in a customer service role and feel a lot less miserable than I did while working my desk job. The bottom line is, no one’s worth is determined by their job title. If you’re out there struggling in your career and it doesn’t feel right- trust your gut and know when it’s time to walk away. 

Every day, people are choosing to step out of their traditional careers and seek other employment that adds more flexibility to their lifestyles. They are choosing to spend more time doing what brings them joy instead of being chained to a desk and drinking large amounts of weak office coffee just to feel something. And the best part? No, they don’t bring the work home with them.

Have any thoughts on the term “big girl job” being problematic or noticed any shifting trends in the workforce? Comment below!

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