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Are You Part of Hustle Culture? It Might Be More Harmful Than You Think

hustle culture
Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / 27707

Hustle culture tells us that we should be working at 100% capacity at all times. While there are some short-term benefits to the practice, it’s a toxic mindset in the long run.

Hustle culture is all about prioritizing hard work and perseverance. Having a packed schedule and being busy and efficient at all times is the goal in the eyes of hustle culture. Though wealth inequality is a huge issue in the US, hustle culture continues to suggest that with enough motivation and side-jobs, you can achieve the “American Dream”. The idea behind the constant hustle is to rise and grind, glamorizing being a workaholic. Work comes before sleep, relaxation, family-time, self-care and pretty much anything else. 

This can manifest in different ways. Many people engage in so-called side-hustles like driving for Uber, flipping electronics, selling clothes online, or making an OnlyFans account. Others participate in hustling by working overtime at their supposedly 9-to-5 job. Some stay late to impress the boss, while others have a hard time saying “no” to tasks outside their pay-grade. Either way, hustle culture can be toxic, and is seemingly worse in the US as Americans work longer hours than other industrialized nations. 

Hustle culture is not only prevalent at work, however. The idea that we are only valuable, worthy, and valid when we are productive has seeped into many aspects of our lives. This includes meal-prepping on Sundays, 5AM workout routines, attending networking events, and even keeping up with posting on social media.

There are some Benefits to Hustle Culture

The glamorization of constantly hustling has more negative effects than positive ones.
The glamorization of constantly hustling has more negative effects than positive ones.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / shannonmacleod)

If there were no benefits of hustle culture, it wouldn’t be as prevalent as it is today. People tend to have a side hustle for one of two reasons: 

  • Financial gain is the main benefit of hustling, as working overtime and doing side-jobs should increase your income. This is if you are eligible for overtime benefits. Unfortunately, many people who stay late at the office do not see a monetary gain. Rather, they stay late to demonstrate that they’re a “team player,” perhaps in an effort to get a future promotion. 
  • Boosted productivity is another pro of hustling. If you’re working most hours out of the day, you’ll inevitably boost your productivity as you’re focused on getting things done. On the other hand, overworking yourself has more negative effects in the long run.  

Career success is another potential benefit of hustle culture. The harder you work, and the more time you dedicate to growing your business, the greater your chances arguably are of reaching your goals. 

Is Hustle Culture Toxic? The Drawbacks

There’s no denying that hustle culture can be beneficial, especially if you do it to achieve short term goals. However, the longer you find yourself stuck in it, the more obvious it becomes that hustle culture is quite toxic. The main drawbacks include:

  • Increased risk of anxiety, stress, and depression. These mental health challenges can also affect your physical health, and have been shown to be effects of working too much.
  • Chronic fatigue is another drawback of hustle culture, because it is not natural to overwork yourself.
  • Increased risk of poor health, injury, stroke, and heart disease are some of the physical symptoms that can occur due to overworking yourself. 
  • Burnout occurs when your already tired body and mind are worked to their breaking point. 
  • It’s never-ending. Every milestone you achieve only makes you hungry for more. If you’ve been able to reach your goal, you set your sights on something more. This is why it’s difficult to escape hustle culture. 
  • No breaks and no days off: a big problem with hustle culture is that you are penalized for taking needed breaks. This includes vacations, weekends and sometimes even sick days. Many people find themselves answering calls and emails after hours, on weekends and while on family trips because they feel they need to keep up. 

How to Get Out of The Hustle Mindset

Hustle culture is exhausting and unhealthy.
Hustle culture is exhausting and unhealthy.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / 1388843)

It can be difficult to unlearn the capitalist jargon and societal expectations, but at the end of the day, it’s clear that hustle culture is toxic. In order to live a happy, healthy and fulfilling life, it’s important to engage in self-care and unwind at the end of the day. We should work to live, not the other way around. Here are some tips to better on your work-life balance.

  1. Figure out your priorities. Most people don’t actually love working all the time. Reflect on what’s really important to you, and think about whether you have been engaging in hustle culture. Maybe you are staying late at an office that doesn’t value you, or maybe you’re working so many side-jobs that you rarely see your friends and family. Whatever it is, think about how your work is impacting your life. 
  2. Set boundaries. This goes hand-in-hand with figuring out your priorities. Once you know what you want, you can make that clear to those around you. Work on saying ‘no’ to projects you don’t have capacity for. Start going home on time, and stay at home for a night instead of going to that Python class. Most of all, don’t let others pressure you into keeping up with the Jones’ of hustle life. 
  3. Pay attention to your energy as you may not even realize that you are overworking yourself. Hustle culture is so ingrained in us, that you may not even realize you’re draining yourself because you have too many side projects. Listen to your body and take care of yourself. 
  4. Schedule rest time. Especially if it’s difficult for you to drag yourself away from work, scheduling time for reading, watching TV, and engaging in hobbies can go a long way towards helping you achieve a better work-life balance. You may already schedule time to spend with friends and family, but do you schedule time for self-care? Both ways of relaxing are important.
  5. Decide what success means to you. Because hustle culture tells us we are most successful when we are working and making money, it’s important to reflect on what success actually means to you. This way, you can work toward that goal over time and be your best self. 

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