What is Hustle Culture?
The Millennial generation can be stereotyped in a few ways. Millennials are the generation of the dating app, the self-development generation, and the hustle generation. Millennials often define themselves by how busy they are, by how hard they work, and by what they accomplish both at the office and at home.
Many millennials no longer work in the same way that previous generations did. Many of us work more than one job, or work a full time job and have a 'side-hustle' or a blossoming home business.
Hustle culture, the idea that we should constantly be working and busy, is nothing new, but it is almost impossible to escape nowadays because of the prevalence of technology. We can't escape our work emails simply because we are not at work - they can now come through to our phones.
We can't escape the idea that we should always be striving for more because we open up Instagram or Facebook and see the successes of others - the self-employed superstars who are working pool-side or the before-5-am-club who are posting photos of them writing chapters of their book on Instagram before their toddlers wake up for breakfast.
Success, or perceived success, is all around us.
What is good about the hustle?
Hustle culture has raised a generation of hard-workers; the teenagers who watch Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson training in the gym may well put down the x-box controller and head for the bench press, or the young adults watching the likes of Gary Vaynerchuk who might even switch off Netflix in favour of studying the world of business.
The rise in 'hustle culture' has spread the idea that people can start their own businesses, create their own jobs, and work for themselves. It has enforced the idea that if we work hard, we can achieve what we want to achieve.
As I mentioned above, millennials are the self-development and self-improvement generation; we are constantly finding ways to improve ourselves whether it's always learning something new, taking up yoga or running, ensuring we drink more water than we need, meditating, journalling, or changing up our diet - hustle culture can become a part of that.
"Hustle culture glorifies ambition not as a means to an end but as a lifestyle" - Erin Griffith.
However, it seems that the negatives of hustle culture outweigh the positives, as we will now explore.
What is bad about the hustle?
Hustle culture, especially as it is portrayed in social media, is dangerous and flimsy. It is dangerous because it can lead to burnout. Working hard for the sake of working hard can lead to stress, anxiety, and exhaustion. Working hard with a particular goal in mind is a much better way of working.
For example, when I was doing my Masters Dissertation, I knew that I had to work extremely hard in the last few weeks and months before the deadline. Working hard like this is okay. However, when I started a new job, I worked from home and my job was to support those volunteering for the same company. I remember emailing some colleagues saying that there was no work coming through, what should I do? And they emailed back saying 'just enjoy it, because the emails will come eventually.'
When I say that 'hustle culture' is flimsy, what I mean is that there are lots of people posting photos on social media, portraying a perfect lifestyle where they are constantly working, but from beautiful locations around the globe. That might be so, but what they aren't posting about is the lead up to this, the long hours, sleepless nights, working two or three jobs to pay for their start-up. They aren't posting about the arguments with their friends or partner about not spending any time together, they aren't posting the reality.
For anyone who is dreaming of starting their own business or living this Instagram-lifestyle, you need to be aware of the whole picture; life isn't all laptops of beaches, sometimes - a lot of the time - it is sitting on your bedroom floor surrounded by papers and highlighters, pulling your hair out because the numbers don't add up.
How to take care of yourself while hustling?
If you must continue to hustle hard, maybe it is so ingrained in your or maybe it is necessary for your career, then please take note of these tips to manage your mental health while doing so;
Make sure you take breaks away from your working environment. Please stop having lunch - or even breakfast and dinner - at your desk. Make sure you leave your office or home office for breaks during the day. If you work from home, make sure that you leave your house at least once a day. It can be very easy to get to the end of the week and realise the farthest you have gone is to take the bins out.
Every so often, take a step back and evaluate whether you are happy on the path that you are on. It is never too late to take a new path. This is particularly common among those that study to become therapists, so I know for a fact that it is never too late. I have known some people to have multiple major career changes throughout their life, from primary school teacher, to lawyer, and then to therapist. I have known people to re-train as therapists in their 60's. It is never too late.
Make sure that you get enough sleep, eat enough food, and drink enough water.
Make sure that you see friends outside of your field of work.This is important as seeing work friends can feel like socialising, and it is, but it can ensure that you stick in work-mode.
Plan holidays and days off - and plan to do things with these days!
As always, if you would like to book an initial counselling session with me, please email me at email@example.com
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