- The commitment to long hours of hard work to earn success has been widely celebrated over the last several years.
- Hustle culture is the social pressure to constantly be working harder, faster, and stronger in order to make money.
- Hustle culture is not all it’s cracked up to be, and it is detrimental to the mental health of workers.
“The grind never stops.”
This has been a common phrase among the younger working generations in the last few years.
The “grind” refers to hustling in the workplace. Maximum productivity is valued above all else – even if you never get a moment to relax.
The commitment to long hours of hard work to earn success has been widely celebrated, but is this tendency turning toxic and actually hindering productivity?
Hustle culture is the social pressure to constantly be working harder, faster, and stronger in order to make money. The idolization of workaholism and the mindset that you should always be working and being productive has adverse mental and physical health effects.
And if you’re not working, you’re expected to always be learning something new, adopting a new habit/skill, or working out in the gym.
This mindset of constantly overworking yourself to the point of exhaustion has created a culture of competition, materialism, and unfulfillment.
This begs the question, is constantly being devoted to work simply to make money really worth it?
The idea that the longer you work, the more successful you’ll be, is unrealistic and seems to only apply to the working class.
When asked by a Twitter user about the number of hours one needs to work each week to “change the world,” Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX, replied that it could range from around 80 to over 100 hours.
Ross Simmonds, founder and CEO of Foundation, a content marketing agency said, “The hustle brings the dollar. The experience brings the knowledge. The persistence brings success.”
This culture is dangerous for students and young people, and people like Musk and Simmonds are setting up unrealistic and unhealthy standards.
Hustle culture can breed a toxic sense of competition among employees
While healthy competition can motivate employees to do better, if they are taught that hustling is the way to earn promotions and get better opportunities, competition will turn into rivalries as workers attempt to hustle harder than each other. This culture can even hamper the company’s overall productivity.
Hustle culture leads to burnout
Research has shown that increased stress levels lead to reduced professional productivity. To produce quality work, employees must achieve personal satisfaction rather than just increase their workload.
The World Health Organization defines burnout as “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”
If people are calm and less stressed, they experience improved productivity. So, when workers are in a constant state of stress because of hustle culture, they are actually paradoxically impairing their productivity.
An increased workload and the expectation to become extremely successful will inevitably lead to burnout.
The Finery Report’s survey found that 83.8% of the respondents found working overtime to be a normal occurrence, while 69.6% confessed that they regularly work on weekends. Moreover, 60.8% of them felt guilty when they did not put in extra hours at work.
Your worth should not be measured by the amount of time you spend working
The “grind” or the “hustle” puts value on people who complete more tasks with their time, insinuating that someone who watches TV in their free time is less than someone who learns a new language or works out in their downtime.
This culture creates the assumption that the only value we have as human beings is our productivity capability and ability to make money.
The belief that working long hours will lead to being rich is not exactly true. Increasing your workload will not make you wealthier if the economy does not allow for people to rise in classes. All hustling and overworking will do is decrease your physical and mental health.
People need a work-life balance, which hustle culture doesn’t allow for
Even though data shows that working long hours and multitasking lowers productivity and kills creativity, hustle culture exists because it justifies the hustle for the future payoff of extreme success.
But when is the payoff exactly?
Hustle culture fosters ongoing toxicity in that if you spend too much time on anything non-work-related, you feel guilty.
In order to keep a balanced work-life schedule, work cannot overrule your downtime and homelife. There needs to be a separation of when you work and when you relax – just don’t forget to relax.
Workers are stressed from internal and external pressures such as deadlines, work demands, and pleasing colleagues or family/friends. People, especially Millennials and Gen Zers, should take into consideration their mental and physical limits, set boundaries, and put their wellbeing as a priority.
Hustle culture sets up unsustainable expectations, encourages an unhealthy lifestyle, and promotes unhealthy competition and burnout.
Take care of yourself both mentally and physically. Working yourself to death should not be a trend, the norm, or the goal.