The 40-hour workweek sucks.
Ambition is overrated.
Life is short.
Confessions from the new and intentionally underemployed labour force 

Interviews by Rebecca Gao and Isabel B. Slone

portraits by Steph Martyniuk


Hair and makeup by Aniko Tar/Judy Inc.

W ork hard, live hard is officially over. For anyone under 40, the so-called soft life is where it’s at: more time spent with friends and family, increased devotion to hobbies and developing new interests, fewer professional responsibilities, and a lot less stress.


Gen-Z and millennial employees are not—contrary to popular memes and hashtags like quiet quitting, lazy-girl jobs, bare-minimum Mondays and weekend Wednesdays—actually feckless. They’re anti-­burnout. They’re willing to work, and do it well, but they’re uninterested in handing over the bulk of their waking hours to bosses or subordinates. Ultimately, they’re prioritizing pleasure over profit.


The 20- and 30-something workers featured below want to dismantle long-held beliefs and vaunted attitudes about ambition, money and what constitutes a productive life. In short, they are committed to taking on less—and cool with making less—if it means they can live more.

Eunice Bae, 36

Previous job: Manager at a tech start-up

Current job: Bookkeeper and retail worker

Lives in: Pickering

AFTER GRADUATING from the University of Waterloo in 2014 with a degree in liberal studies, I got into the tech space. By 2018, I had joined a small crypto start-up. I worked my way up to making $90,000 a year and was able to buy a pre-construction condo at Yonge and Queen, but I was expected to work constantly. I answered Slack messages in the evenings and on weekends, and I didn’t take a full day of vacation for more than a year because part of my job involved processing payments twice a day and no one else really did that. 


In July of 2021, I lost my job in a round of budget-related layoffs and decided to chill. I had my severance and EI, so I wasn’t too worried about money. I began to unpack how toxic my work environment had been—how I’d been consistently undervalued and how that had affected my ability to see my worth. One month of unemployment stretched into a year as I half-heartedly applied for jobs in tech because I knew I could make good money there. Without a steady source of income, I couldn’t afford my mortgage, so that October I moved home to Pickering to live with my mom and sold my place. 


While job-hunting, I realized that I didn’t want the politics and anxiety that come with a managerial role. So when I saw that one of my favourite shops, a boutique stationery store in Parkdale called Paper Plus Cloth, was hiring retail staff, I applied and got the job. I like that there are set tasks: selling items, stocking shelves, pulling orders. It’s the opposite of working at a start-up in that the expectations are clear, the business model is straightforward and the hours are predetermined. Then, last June, my grandfather called to say that he’d recommended me for a job: an entry-level bookkeeping position at my uncle’s accounting practice. It was strictly nine to five, and because I’d done basic accounting before, I knew what to expect. I took the job.


I wanted to find steady work that wouldn’t chew up too much of my life, and that’s exactly what it’s been. On weekends, I still work at Paper Plus Cloth because the staff is great, the customers are pleasant, and the vibe of the store is happy and cute. Plus, it gives me an excuse to be in the city. I love the balance I’ve found. I still work hard, but the jobs themselves aren’t challenging. I don’t manage anyone, I don’t have to constantly problem-solve, I don’t bring my work home with me and I never work late. Even though I’m now making $42,000 a year—less than half of my income at the start-up—I’m so much happier. My expenses are relatively modest: I pay my mom $500 a month in rent, cover our family phone plan and streaming services, and help out with my dad’s long-term care costs. I have the time and energy to cook dinner, read romance novels, chat with friends and play video games.


A lot of my contentment also has to do with autonomy. My uncle doesn’t micromanage me, and he’s not patronizing. I like working somewhere my voice is being heard. I would consider going back to work at a start-up, but only if the leadership’s values and attitudes around work aligned with my own—if such a place even exists. I haven’t really figured out my long game yet, but I’m okay with this life for now.


Over the past couple of years, TikTok has become overrun with minimum-effort hacks purporting to make women’s lives easier: lazy-girl hairstyles, lazy-girl dinners, lazy-girl workouts. In early 2023, a 26-year-old former tech worker from Colorado named Gabrielle Judge decided to bring the lazy-girl trend to the office, coining the term “lazy-girl jobs,” which quickly went supernova. A year later, she reflects on what it all meant.

When did the idea for “lazy-girl jobs” first occur to you? 

A lot of my earlier content was traditional career advice, like resumé creation and job interview tips. Then, in January of last year, I started thinking about how I could create a message that would be easily digestible on TikTok. I wanted to take the lazy-girl trend and use it to discuss how Gen Z could have a better relationship to work than our predecessors did. Whenever I’d brought up that kind of thing in the past, people in the comments had called me lazy. This time, I decided to own it.


You’ve received praise from some corners but also a lot of criticism for encouraging young women to stop caring about their careers. 

In North America especially, we’re told to embrace hustle culture, so I’m using “lazy” as a parody. If you look at what I’m actually saying—which is to push back against being overworked in inflexible environments—I’m just promoting better work-life balance. 


Why is Gen Z primed for this trend? 

Because millennials laid the groundwork. They have been through more economic crises than Gen Z, and they kick-started a lot of conversations about work-life balance when they entered the workforce. If you’d talked about that kind of thing when baby boomers were coming into their careers, you’d have been laughed out of the office. 


Can a man do a lazy-girl job? 

One thousand per cent. But roughly 70 per cent of my audience is women, and typically my content resonates with 18-to-35-year-olds. Although Gen Xers aren’t directly engaging as much with my content, a lot of them are looking at my videos. 


Do you have a lazy-girl job now? 

No, and I’m transparent about that. I’m incredibly busy. I’m doing a TEDx Talk next year; I’m launching a book about the lazy-girl ethos in April 2025; I’ve developed the beta of an AI-powered tool to help predict the work-life balance of job listings. But I try to be intentional in what I do. Even though I’m the original lazy girl, it can still be challenging to weed out what’s unnecessary and achieve work-life balance.

Cayley James, 35

Previous job: Arts administrator

Current job: Arts administrator
Lives in: Christie Pits

I was born and raised in Toronto but have never felt connected to the city’s hustle culture. To me, it just feels hectic. I’ve always preferred to go on four-hour walks and indulge my inner flâneur than to focus on a job. After working in cafés, I ended up in arts administration, primarily in film festival programming and coordinating, because I believed that the work you do should be meaningful, and what I cared about most was the arts. But there was always a voice in the back of my head that was skeptical about whether work, in a general sense, should or could define me. 


In 2019, about a year after I took a job at an independent film organization, I read the book How to Do Nothing by Jenny Odell, and it unlocked something in me. I realized that I had been seeking busyness because I thought I was supposed to. I decided to examine and unravel my relationship to work while staying in my job, but it wasn’t until the pandemic that I really gave myself permission to slow down. Amid all the anxiety and fear of lockdown, I sought activities that brought me pleasure and grounded me. I started tending the garden in my backyard, which had lain fallow for close to a decade. It was an impenetrable fortress of burdock, and I spent hours pruning weeds and reviving green things. 


Getting away from screens whenever possible, putting on a podcast and working with my hands felt incredible. My dad was an avid gardener when I was growing up, and I used to help him, so it was like rediscovering a sense of play. Plus there’s such satisfaction and joy in seeing things grow. I developed other hobbies too: I got into birding, began open-water swimming in Lake Ontario and read books constantly. I don’t need to be the best at any of these things―they’re about experimenting and allowing myself to have fun. 


Now that we’re no longer in the depths of a pandemic, prioritizing pleasure is an active choice. I always tell people that I’m aspiring to live a slow life rather than claiming to have one. The past year has been incredibly busy. Now that the world has opened up again, all of the projects, programs and events that had been on hold have resumed full-force and all at once. But I’ve recalibrated my goals since 2020―even though I still work hard, I just don’t have the same level of ambition. And although I still get stressed, like most everyone else, my pursuits outside of work help neutralize the impact.


It’s difficult to choose leisure over work when you’re not making six figures and you live in a city as expensive as Toronto. But I split rent and expenses with my partner, and we make it work. Besides, I feel off-kilter when I don’t make time to do things I love. I recently decided that my new cold-weather hobby is spending hours baking in saunas. It sounds indulgent, but afterward I feel so alive―and what’s more important than that?

“There was always a voice in the back of my head that was skeptical about whether work should or could define me”


A veteran at the GTA offices of talent solutions firm Robert Half International, managing director Deborah Bottineau has had a front-row seat to 25 years of job-market cycles and hiring practices. Here, she myth-busts the truths and half-truths behind current workplace trends and reveals what bosses really need to know about this cohort of employees.

Lazy jobs, bare-minimum Mondays, weekend Wednesdays—what are these trends really about? 

Many were designed to create discussion on social media, but they do speak to broader shifts happening in the landscape. A lot of workers have been re-evaluating their priorities and career goals coming out of the pandemic and now expect a much healthier work-life balance. Coupled with the prevalence of hybrid and remote work, that has led to lifestyle changes people aren’t ready to abandon.


How is that playing out for employers? 

A couple of years ago, organizations appreciated that employees could be productive from home. But then those same organizations started to experience erosion when it came to their company cultures. So we’re seeing a big push to get people back in the office as well as a huge demand for skilled employees. It’s hard to find quality talent, and your ability to attract and retain great staff is tied to how well you manage shifting expectations.


On social media, you’ll see suggestions of easy-to-execute jobs, like admin at a dentist’s office or marketing manager. If I was an employer in these sectors, I might wonder if I need to push my staff harder. 

There’s an art to creating an environment where employers have an appropriate level of trust in their employees. If your company has underlying issues and you’re reading those articles, you might pause. But I do think that some of these terms are being overhyped.


One thing that isn’t overhyped: Robert Half has done research indicating that employees, especially working parents, are more inclined to take a pay cut if it means greater flexibility. 

With organizations shifting back to physical offices, that’s costing workers: more money spent on commutes, parking, lunches, daycare, elder support—all at a time of economic upheaval. Flexibility is at the top of employees’ priority lists.


So laziness doesn’t have much to do with it. 

No. Organizations need to be paying attention to their people and investing in them—whether that means offering flexibility when it comes to hours and location, training on new technologies, more paid time-off, or top-ups on parental leave.

Kate Sloan, 31

Previous job: Writer, podcaster and customer-service rep 

Current job: Writer and podcaster

Lives in: Kensington Market

BETWEEN THE AGES of 20 and 24, I was one of the hardest-working people I knew. I was getting an undergrad degree in journalism while cranking out content three to five times a week for Girly Juice, my blog about sex, kink, relationships, fashion, beauty and mental health. I was also freelancing for magazines like Cosmopolitan, Teen Vogue and Playboy and working an additional 20 hours a week for an online customer-service agency. I was doing so much that a blogger friend invited me to teach a workshop on productivity at a writing retreat she organized. Then, in my mid-20s, I started experiencing intense joint pain, fatigue and brain fog. It was devastating. My self-worth was completely wrapped up in my work ethic and professional accomplishments, and suddenly I couldn’t work. I was relieved to finally get a diagnosis In 2021―fibromyalgia―but it was difficult to accept that I could no longer easily do all the things that made me feel like myself.


Still, in April of 2022, I got a dream contract writing web pieces about sex and relationships for the men’s magazine MEL. On a typical day, I would research and write a 1,500-to-4,000-word article, conduct interviews and pitch ideas to my editor, and because I often wrote about sex toys, I set aside a couple of hours each week to test new products. I also kept on top of my non-MEL projects, which included recording weekly episodes for Dildorks, my podcast about sex and dating; writing a weekly paid newsletter; and posting semi-regularly on my blog. I was earning more than double what I had before. But, when I was lying in bed at the end of the day, lacking the strength to see friends, play video games or even read a book, I’d ask myself what all this money was for. I loved my work, but I was miserable, isolated, exhausted and in pain.


Four months after I started at MEL, the company abruptly shut down. It was a loss but also a relief. I was paid out for the remainder of my contract, so I had enough money to take time off to recover and reflect. I soon realized that I’d have to set boundaries if I was going to be able to work, stay healthy and have any kind of a life. Now I’m working four days a week, up to four hours a day, and even that feels like a stretch sometimes.

I’ve organized my schedule so I’m able to take weekend Wednesdays―having a free day in the middle of the week gives me time to recuperate physically and run some errands. I also make sure not to conduct more than two interviews a day for my articles, which has really improved the quality of my work. I’m no longer pushing myself
to the point where I’m so tired that I’m slurring my words or unable to listen atten
tively. Since making these changes, my fibromyalgia has improvedI still get flare-ups when I’m stressed out, but I don’t have as much joint pain and I’m not constantly fatigued. Most of the time, I have energy to do things I enjoy, like going for walks, making music and journalling.


It makes me angry when people imply that I’m undisciplined for having a light work schedule. It’s insulting to me and all the other people living with disabilities and chronic illnesses who have to fight through their symptoms to make enough money to live. I’ve worked very hard and very deliberately for years to build a life that would suit my limitations. Besides, the value we place on work in our culture is inflatedthere’s no moral imperative to work a 40-hour week.

Chieff Bosompra, 33 

Previous job: Account supervisor at a marketing agency 

Current job: Owner of a marketing agency 
Lives in: St. Lawrence 

I m originally from Ghana, was raised in Mississauga and went to university in Ottawa. I came to Toronto about 10 years ago. I’ve always been self-motivated. In undergrad, I launched a T-shirt brand and started an experiential marketing agency called Undisposable, through which I threw house parties and events at local nightclubs. After moving to Toronto, I started working as a project manager at Vice, where I learned even more about branding and partnerships. And I was still throwing parties, but now I had liquor sponsors.


Around 2016, Instagram influencers were becoming a big thing. One of them, a photog­rapher named Jamal Burger, had gone viral scaling skyscrapers and taking pictures of his sneakers dangling over the sides of buildings. He was starting to get sponsorship offers and asked if I’d manage him, for which I earned $60,000 to $75,000 a year. My financial situation changed again a couple of years later, when I started a Ghanaian-­inspired burger pop-up called Aunty Lucy’s Burgers, named after my grandmother―mostly as a way to showcase my branding skills. It operated out of the Annex Hotel, in which I now have a stake, and did really well, especially during the first two years of the pandemic. That bumped my income up to $150,000.


But I never intended for the burger shop to be a long-term project. By August of 2022, I realized that I wanted a steady job, something I could look at as a long-term career. So I licensed the restaurant to another company and got a nine- to-five job as an account supervisor at a global experiential-­marketing agency. Over the next year and a half, I held that position at two different companies. At roughly $100,000, the salary was significantly less than what I’d made with the restaurant, but it was stable. Still, I realized pretty quickly that this kind of work structure wasn’t for me. I had to go into the office Monday to Friday, answer to bosses, deal with office politics. And because the teams weren’t all that big, I found myself doing mundane tasks, like setting up for events, that made me feel undervalued. More than all that, though, I wanted to focus on things I actually wanted to do. When I’m forced to do something, it’s hard for me to invest fully.


When I left agency life last September, I refocused on Undisposable. I’m working on a rebrand for Amazon Music Canada’s Rotation North and a social media campaign for Late Bloomer, a new show on Crave. I anticipate making between $70,000 and $75,000 this year, but my work life flows more naturally and I feel uplifted and optimistic. I’m at my computer during the day and then out in the evening for meetings and dinners, securing deals and building relationships. The night-time stuff is fun and not overly taxing. It doesn’t really feel like work. I’ve also gone back to school―I’m getting a post-grad degree in supply chain management. I’m hoping it will eventually complement my agency work and help me get my salary back to what it used to be. In the meantime, I’m cutting back: I’m not spending nearly as much on food, shopping or travel. The trade-off is absolutely worth it. I’m in control. Things are tighter, but I get so much more enjoyment out of my life.

I wanted to focus on things I wanted to do. When Im forced to do something, its hard for me to invest fully”


U of T sociology professor Scott Schieman has been dissecting attitudes toward work for more than two decades. His recent Canadian Quality of Work and Economic Life Study includes data from 18,500 of the country’s workers. He shares his thoughts on overhyped buzzwords, workplaces as social hubs and why we don’t hate our jobs quite as much as we say we do. 

“Work shouldn’t be all-consuming. A job is just a means to a paycheque.” What in your research supports these popular premises?

I feel like my head is going to explode every time I see a new buzzword take hold—I mean, come on, half of the workforce isn’t quiet quitting. The data just doesn’t bear that out. But there has been an increase in the perception that a job is just a way of earning money. Forty to 50 per cent of workers feel this way. That’s a real trend—if a slightly exaggerated one.


Do people just love to complain about work? 

Yes. Work is a key anchor in everyday life, and it’s a scapegoat. We’re blaming it without acknowledging that it also provides valuable things, like social connections, that research shows are good for people’s sense of self, well-being and overall life satisfaction. 


The flip side of that is, “If I didn’t have to work so much, I could join a sports team or see my family more often.” 

In my research, I’ve learned that people often have difficulty finding things to do in their downtime. The impulse is to blame work for that, because we are over­extended and stressed out, but some people have also lost the capacity to make connections—and work provides those opportunities. To be clear, I’m not saying work is always a great thing. But we shouldn’t see it as the enemy of life or feel like we’re not living when we’re working.


How much of this dissatisfaction with work is generational? 

It’s a hot take to say younger people are lazy, and I don’t want to add fuel to it. We love to pit generations against each other.


What does all of this say about the future of work in Canada? 

We need to have a national conversation about the value of work beyond just money—while acknowledging that the financial aspect is important. People are clearly pessimistic about what’s happening on the work front, but I think there are perception glitches that are making us feel worse than we really should. Many jobs have elements that are awful, such as work overload, unfairly low pay and toxic cultures, but we need to look at how pervasive those qualities actually are. 

Rachel Parry, 37

Previous job: Child-care provider

Current job: Artist, gallery worker, house cleaner and babysitter

Lives in: Parkdale

I SPENT MY 20s trying to figure myself out. I’d dropped out of art school and was working retail jobs, including at an ice cream shop and an art supply store. I wasn’t a very good employee. My father was a bit of a tyrant when I was growing up, so I’ve always had a hard time tolerating authority figures―especially if they’re paying me minimum wage.


I never got fired, but I did quit several times. At one job, the owners’ kids took over the business and implemented a bunch of arbitrary rules, which I rejected. I think I was getting on their nerves, because one of them told me, “I bet the people you’re living with are pretty sick of you by now.” After that comment, I told her I was going to quit, and she asked if I’d already found another job. “No,” I answered, “I just don’t want to be here with you.”


When I was 23, I got a gig as a live-in child-care provider, which I ended up doing for several years. That’s when I started to build the kind of creative and self-directed life I wanted. I began painting in my free time, making pop surrealist and absurdist representational art (one of my pieces is of John Oliver playing a viola while riding a centaur with the head of Adam Driver). I also took an improv class at Impatient Theatre Co., where I met people who invited me to become a dancer with Zero Gravity Circus. I started dating a guy I met there, and he was soon diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. I put aside everything to take care of him. When he died, I had no job.


I briefly considered pursuing steady work. I figured I could start by temping, then break into an office job and eventually put away money for retirement. But there was no guarantee that I would ever enjoy those savings. My partner didn’t get to. I’d rather make less and like my work than slog away for a few more bucks. These days, in addition to selling my own paintings, I’m a part-time manager at a gallery in Chinatown. To make ends meet, I also clean a friend’s AirBnb units and babysit. Depending on the year, I make up to $20,000 annually. I have the privilege of not having dependents other than my cat. My current partner and I share expenses, live in a rent-controlled building, buy groceries on sale or in bulk and cook a lot of dried beans for protein.


I’ve never once regretted living the way I do. I did temp work for a month in 2017, and that gave me insight into office ­culture. It was socially sterile; I noticed that people weren’t having deep conversations. When I’d ask my workmates about their lives in the break room, people they’d been working with for 10 or 15 years would be learning new things about them. My theory is that, if you’re working in close quarters with people full time, you can’t afford to get to know anyone too well―if you discover that you hate them, you’re still stuck working with them. If that’s what conventional nine-to-five work is like, no thanks! 

Zehra Kamani, 35

Previous job: Research coordinator at a downtown hospital

Current job: Research coordinator at a midtown hospital

Lives in: Ajax

I WORK AT Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, a job I started during the pandemic. I’m not on the front lines as a health care worker; instead, I conduct studies involving the experiences of people with disabilities, their family members and their health care providers. For example, I recently interviewed racialized people with disabilities to understand what it’s like for them to navigate the health care system. 


My job is hybridI’m usually on-site Tuesdays and Thursdays and working from home the rest of the week―and that arrangement has been life-changing. I live in Ajax, and Holland Bloorview is near Bayview and Eglinton, so not having to commute all week is huge. When I do, the drive can take more than an hour each way. I used to work at a downtown hospital, nine to five, five days a week, in person. I can’t imagine going back to working on-site full time or to having a remote job that is very demanding. While the work I do in my current role is comparable with what I did in my previous one, I get six hours of my week back by working from home, plus there’s less micro­management and more trust. My boss is super cordial, open and respectful.


My daughter started junior kindergarten this year, and being able to pick her up from school and spend more time with her is a gift. Her day ends at 3 p.m., so I sometimes work in the evenings when she’s sleeping and on weekends to catch up, but it’s worth it. My boss is understanding in other ways too: I’m pregnant with my second child, and I had intense morning sickness early on. My boss gave me permission to work from home more often, and I could take a nap when necessary. As long as I finish my work, we’re both happy. 


In my previous job, there were times when I was at the office with no work to do, but I still had to be on-site. It was such a waste of time, resources and energy, and it led to low motivation. Now, when I’m at work, I’m actually working. And when I’m not at work, I have energy for other aspects of my life. For example, I volunteer with my mosque (I’ve been on the special needs committee for over a decade), I do some freelance writing and I try to carve out some alone time when possible. But, most importantly, I’m a parent. If my work is taking me away from extra time I could be spending with my daughter, then it’s not the job for me. 

“If my work is taking me away from extra time I could be spending with my daughter, then it’s not the job for me”


As the Canada Research Chair in Identity, Diversity and Inclusion at U of T and a professor of organizational behaviour and human resource management, Sonia Kang tracks how employers and managers treat employees—and what those employees expect from their jobs. She explains how the pandemic led to alternative work models that benefit some people and exclude others but have the power to change just about everyone’s lives for the better. 

Why are we seeing a big shift in work culture right now? 

People were really burnt out heading into the pandemic, and while they might have been able to manage that baseline level of stress before, whatever wasn’t working became painfully obvious. But part of it is generational. My students, who range in age from 18 to 30, have very different ideas than their parents regarding what they want from the workplace, including a different way of measuring productivity. As a society, we’ve long had this idea that a productive workday is one where you put in a set number of hours. My students are wondering, If I finish what’s being asked of me, why do I need to fill the remaining time with extra stuff?


It’s a fair question. 

Baby boomers could rely on having a job for decades, maybe moving up in the company. Today’s employees can’t depend on that. Companies come and go, and the economy is volatile. So there’s been a flip in the work-life balance. Previously, people thought, How am I going to fit my life into work? Now it’s, I have an idea of what I want my life to look like. What job will allow me that?


Is being able to work remotely a common wish these days? 

For sure. It comes with a lot of advantages: people who work from home can often fit in child care more easily, for instance. But not everyone has the privilege of working remotely. Organizations should focus on creating systems where everyone can integrate their child-care needs into their work. It shouldn’t have to be done secretly while you’re at home supposedly working, because then it becomes available only to certain people—and it takes the pressure off organizations to make things better for the entire workforce.  


Europeans are known for being less obsessed with work. Are we moving toward that?We could be, but only if that better work-life balance becomes available to everyone. In Where to Invade Next, filmmaker Michael Moore goes to Italy to see how the country’s labour policies allow for better parental leave and for everyone to take long lunch breaks and eat beautiful meals with their families. Because it’s a universal policy, everyone is able to access it.

Kang by Kalynn Floro

Amy Jiao, 25

Previous job: Visitor services at the Ontario Science Centre

Current job: Freelance scientific and medical illustrator

Lives in: Scarborough  

I DIDN’T CONSIDER becoming a medical illustrator until the final year of my undergrad in life sciences. That’s when I realized that I wouldn’t be happy on the kinds of paths my peers were committing to, like med school, research or working in pharmaceuticals. So I enrolled in grad school for biomedical communications, a program that trains medical illustrators, and I worked in the visitor services department at the Ontario Science Centre. Work-life balance was a major struggle. 


I’ve since graduated and have been freelancing for the past six months. I do the kinds of illustrations you see in textbooks, scientific posters and museums; one of my recent assignments was for an exhibit about mining history and practices at the Cape Breton Miners’ Museum. Now, as long as I meet my deadlines, I can set my own hours. The flexibility of not having a boss and not being expected to work during certain times relieves a lot of stress. Instead, I work when I feel most creatively charged, and I dedicate myself to family and friends or running errands when I don’t.


I’m estimating that I will make about $50,000 this year. Freelancing can sometimes feel isolating, but I wouldn’t trade it for a roomful of colleagues and a few extra dollars. To make ends meet, I live with my mom and our cat, Zaizai (his name roughly translates to “baby boy” in Mandarin). The rest of my family also lives in Scarborough, and I’m happy to be close to them. I would probably consider working full time at some point down the road, but I would need to have flexible hours and ideally be hybrid or remote. I’m much more productive at home, and I’m less stressed when I don’t have to worry about things out of my control, like GO train delays. 


I feel lucky and satisfied to have the job that I do. Art is both an escape and a communication tool for me. Being able to take on projects as I see fit and drawing from my bedroom all day definitely makes me feel like a lazy girl—and a happy one.

This story appears in the February 2024 issue of Toronto Life magazineTo subscribe for just $39.99 a year, click here. To purchase single issues, click here