The 7 Most Essential Work Terms We Learned That Sum Up 2023

From "hey hanging" to "voluntelling," this new job lingo defined 2023.
Did you love "lazy girl jobs" and "bare minimum Mondays" this year? In 2023, a lot of professionals sought ways to balance the pressures of work against their mental health and well-being.
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Did you love "lazy girl jobs" and "bare minimum Mondays" this year? In 2023, a lot of professionals sought ways to balance the pressures of work against their mental health and well-being.

Spend enough time in the workforce and you’ll learn that our jobs can be the source of many of our joys, anxieties and frustrations. And every year, there’s new language to articulate those long-held but often buried feelings.

We rounded up some of these viral and compelling terms, all of which capture the complexities of our careers. Here are the work words that defined 2023:

1. The Lazy Girl Job

This year marked a turning point for how younger professionals are setting their work expectations. This is not the “grateful to be here” generation that will put up with toxic bosses, long hours and low salaries in order to pay dues. Instead, there was the rise of “lazy girl jobs.”

In a May TikTok video, Gabrielle Judge ― a content creator who popularized the term ― defined “lazy girl jobs” as positions where you can have “pretty comfortable salaries, and not do that much work and be remote.”


Career advice for women who don’t know what remote job to apply to. You can bay your bills at not feel tired at the end of the day. Women are here to collect those pay checks and move on from the work day. We have so much more fun stuff happeneing in our 5-9 that is way more important than a boss that you hate. #corporatejobs #jobsearchhacks #remoteworking #antihustleculture #9to5

♬ original sound - Anti Work Girlboss

As Judge previously told HuffPost: “A ‘lazy girl job’ mindset is all about creating as much freedom and space in your personal life as possible through efficient work days, although not everyone will understand.”

The LGJ’s wide appeal on TikTok speaks to how professionals are redefining success. They want stricter boundaries between the demands of their job and their personal lives. They’re not impressed by Bagel Fridays at the office. They would much prefer to clock out early and return to their real lives with their friends and families.

2. Bare Minimum Mondays

“Bare minimum Mondays” have given people a way to think about how to start their week doing less.

Marisa Jo Mayes, a content creator who popularised the term in a TikTok this year, told her followers that her practice of “bare minimum Mondays” stemmed from how she lived in her 20s. In her video, Mayes recalled staying up late on Sundays dreading the workweek and creating long to-do lists that she would not complete the following day.

One day, she gave herself “permission to do the absolute bare minimum for work that day, and everything felt different. The pressure was gone,” Mayes said in her TikTok. She’s been “reaping the benefits of this practice ever since that day.”

The idea struck a chord with viewers. The hashtag #bareminimummonday has accrued more than 2 million views, a sign of how more of us just want permission to ease ourselves into the stressful workweek.

3. Voluntelling

If you’ve been quote-unquote “volunteered” for an assignment you didn’t ask for, you’ve actually been “voluntold.” It’s a phrase that was popularised by the U.S. military to describe situations where somebody is volunteered for a task without getting the opportunity to say “no,” and with implicit pressure to say “yes.”

At work, these assignments may not sound exactly like marching orders, but deep down, you know they are. If you want to push back, you can point out how the addition of a new assignment could negatively affect your other duties.

If you’re a manager who does this, give employees the chance to weigh in on whether this “exciting new opportunity” is actually useful to them. After you say “Hey, I thought of you for this,” add language like “Let me know if this is of value to you,” as Gregory Tall, a workshop facilitator who coaches managers, previously told HuffPost.

4. ‘Hey’ Hanging

On instant messenger platforms like Slack, simple greetings can take on magnified importance without the reassuring context of tone and body language.

That’s why it’s easy for a brief “Hey” on Slack to send us into a worried spiral. Without a follow-up, you may think the sender is upset, or that you’re about to get roped into a project you don’t want to do.

A term like “‘hey’ hanging” perfectly describes the anxiety co-workers may be causing with their messages.

“All communication at work via email or Slack should have a clear agenda and purpose,” Pattie Ehsaei, a senior vice president of mergers and acquisitions lending at a major bank, previously told HuffPost about why “hey” hanging is a bad idea at the office. “‘Hey’ leaves the receiver confused as to the purpose of the communication and doesn’t initiate a reply.”

Less isn’t always more when it comes to online chats. When in doubt, over-communicate your intentions about why you are reaching out, and avoid confusing your colleagues in your initial message.

5. Quiet Cutting

In 2022, “quiet quitting” became a popular catchphrase to describe employees doing the bare minimum at their jobs as they search for better ones. But this summer, employers got their revenge with the rise of “quiet cutting.”

Quiet cutting is what happens when you get a “reassignment of duties” and you lose the role or job title you were hired for, though you remain employed.

This summer, more tech employees complained that they received these “reassignment” orders from employers. Although it can sometimes be a new opportunity to learn a new skill, it can also be an ominous sign of your future at the company.

Peter Rahbar, an employment attorney who has worked with clients getting these reassignments, previously told HuffPost that a reassignment is a sign of your expendability.

“I don’t see it as ever being a good thing for an employee,” Rahbar warned. “If it were to happen to me, the first thing I would do is probably start my job search immediately for something that did suit my skills where I would be a better fit.”

6. Body Doubling

If you work best with an accountability buddy, try a work exercise known as “body doubling.”

With this technique, commonly used by professionals with ADHD, you do a task and have another person on Zoom or in person doing a task too. This way, the person with ADHD can stay anchored to the present and focused.

You might already be doing body doubling without knowing it has a name. It can mean working quietly with a friend in a coffee shop, or it can mean having them finish the same task as you at the same time. Either way, try out this hack if you have trouble concentrating or finishing tasks.

7. Post-Work Restraint Collapse

If you’ve ever felt like screaming into a pillow or lying on your couch after a hard day at work, you might be feeling something known as “post-work restraint collapse.”

It’s a concept that therapists are using to describe the bone-deep exhaustion caused by draining work days. The “collapse” that happens after work is what happens when you finally feel safe to release pent-up emotions.

Post-work restraint collapse can look like “a sense of depletion and having nothing left for other activities, even things that you might really enjoy, like exercise, spending time with your family or other social activities,” Emily Treichler, a licensed clinical psychologist, previously told HuffPost about post-work restraint collapse.

This weariness can affect your moods, and your lowered patience and increased irritability can strain relationships with loved ones, which is why it’s important to address.

Focus on what you can control first. Channel those after-work emotions through journaling, meditating or movement, therapists recommend. And if you’re seeing a pattern where talking with your boss doesn’t help your symptoms, it might be time to address the underlying problem of your job.

See if changing teams or bosses can help relieve symptoms. If not, start planning your exit. No job is worth ruining your mental health over.