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A job interview I attended was the inspiration for this article. The employers made it clear that the concept of work-life balance was, in their opinion, nonsense. Even though I disagreed with their notion, I said nothing (partially because I needed a job).
Another part of me thought: Hey, this person might be right – rise and grind, everybody else is doing it too!
While being hard-working and striving for excellence is praiseworthy, the constant chase for perfection and success can be overwhelming. Employees often go the extra mile to deliver quality work and achieve their targets within tight deadlines.
But still, we often feel that it’s never good enough. The ‘hustle‘ or ‘grind‘ culture emerged and became a prevalent mindset in the fast-paced and competitive business world.
People caught up in this phenomenon are encouraged to relentlessly pursue success.
According to Sampoerna University, hustle culture can be defined as a culture of hard work, pushing yourself beyond your limits to achieve capitalist goals, such as wealth, prosperity, and success as quickly as possible. Working long hours and sacrificing self-care are seen as merely a means to an end to achieve success.
People often feel incompetent and lacking when they check their feed and notice half of their friends have already woken up at 5 AM, meditated, self-reflected, manifested the day, and hit the gym while they had just gotten up from bed.
I noticed a lot of posts containing days of the week and the number of working hours (10+ per day), followed by trips to exotic locations and luxury clothes. These posts romanticize the hustle culture and glorify the idea of constant grinding. The equation is simple – working non-stop equals prosperity and money.
All these videos lack the social aspect of life – relationships, family time, hobbies, and relaxation.
Nicole Gravagna, a Ph.D. neuroscientist, redefines Maslow’s list of human needs and provides a more modern approach. Besides food, water, and shelter, she stressed the importance of sleep and physical and emotional connection to others. Overhustling may influence one’s mental health and well-being by negatively affecting one of these basic human needs.
Burnout risk – Sacrificing personal time and neglecting self-care in the name of work may lead to chronic stress and burnout. Burnout characteristics are emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and a diminished sense of personal accomplishment. In the long run, it can even lead to anxiety and depression.
Blurred boundaries between personal and professional life significantly reduce the quality of life.
Decreased productivity and creativity – Creativity thrives in an environment of relaxation and open-mindedness. Constantly working under high-pressure situations and sacrificing adequate rest can hinder cognitive functioning, decision-making, and problem-solving skills. Therefore, hustle culture may have a knock-on effect on one’s creativity and productivity.
Here are some signs by Madeline Miles at BetterUp to recognize hustle culture in your workplace:
Set boundaries – One should set clear boundaries between work and personal life, learn to say no when necessary, and identify priorities to avoid being overwhelmed. There should be a designated time for rest and relaxation, including activities such as exercise and meditation. Self-care and nurturing are proven to increase resilience to stress which is inevitable in day-to-day life.
Cultivate meaningful relationships – The time you invest in building and maintaining connections with loved ones is crucial for providing support and belonging. Be kind and considerate towards the people in your life, listen attentively, and don’t take them for granted.
Stop comparing yourself to others – Figure out your own version of success and pursue it. Not everyone has the same goals. Practice gratitude daily and remember that someone out there might be wishing they had what you had. If you do compare yourself to someone, use it as a motive for self-improvement.
Reaching your own version of success is achievable without giving in to hustle culture.
Hard work and productivity lead to achieving your professional goals, but not at the cost of damaging your personal life. Creating a work-life balance leads to increased job satisfaction and overall life fulfillment.
The article was written by: Ana Knezović