‘Good things come to those who hustle.’
‘Quit slacking. Make things happen.’
‘Don’t stop when you’re tired, stop when you’re done.’
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, there’s a good chance you’ve come across these ‘inspirational’ quotes at least once. You’ll find them emblazoned across new-age office walls, coffee mugs in the cafeteria, and even your neighborhood gym — ‘hustle culture’ is trending, and there’s no escaping it.
It’s a culture that implores you to work till you can’t work anymore, to ‘eat, sleep, kick ass, repeat’, to be at your best 24×7. In short, it’s a culture that tells you that your financial situation is your own doing. This rhetoric is designed to make you feel lazy and inadequate, and to make you feel like the only reason you can’t afford that European vacation or that holiday home in the hills is because you simply don’t work hard enough. And here’s why it’s a lie:
Read any interview with a super-rich entrepreneur or multi-millionaire CEO, and they’ll say something like ‘Just find your passion and work at it’ or ‘Don’t ever give up’, when asked about the secret to success. Responses like these are bound to make you feel inadequate. But what the uber-rich don’t tell you about — in most cases — is the enormous privilege they come from. They don’t tell you about their Ivy League degrees, their industry connections, and immense family wealth. Of course, there are exceptions, but in most cases, ‘hustling’ isn’t the only factor that helps someone get to the top rung of the career ladder.
According to hustle culture, it’s grind time, all the time.
You’d think more hours would mean more work, but that isn’t the case most of the time — as proven by research time and time again. A recent study showed that managers could not tell the difference between employees who actually worked 80 hours a week and those who just pretended to do the same. There was also no evidence to suggest that employees who worked 80 hours achieved any more than the others. So what does this mean? Your extra effort, the working weekends, and the late nights may not necessarily get you ahead at work — what it will do is harm your physical and mental well-being.
Disliking work doesn’t make you a slacker.
Those all-nighters do more than just leave you feeling exhausted. A 2017 study has shown that working 61 to 70 hours a week increased the risk of coronary heart disease by 42%. Working 71 to 80 hours pushed the risk up to 63%. Apart from these physical repercussions, working overtime has a devastating impact on your mental health — causing anxiety, depression, and panic disorders. No amount of success seems worth it.
Turn off sometimes — it’s good for you.
Sure, there are individuals who get off on working 15 hours a day and guzzling six cups of black coffee — but if you’re not one of them, there’s no need to feel guilty. Don’t let hustle culture make you believe you’re not good enough. Take a breath, and please, stop when you’re tired, even when you’re not done.