• Akshara Santoshkumar

The Pitfalls to Hustle Culture

All over the internet, there are hashtags like #girlboss and #mondaymotivation where people brag about their workplace achievements. This is all part of Hustle Culture. Hustle Culture is defined as a “fast-paced environment that feeds off long working hours and a restless sense of striving for some type of goal.” It’s when you get up super early in the morning, scarf down breakfast then go to school or work and have thousands of things after and do the same thing day in and day out. Hustle Culture may encourage ambition but it also can lead to crippling burnout.

This term has been popularized by the media with many brands adopting the message into their ads. In 2020, one of Nike’s ads was titled Rise and Grind. The name of this ad was the same as a Shark Tank investor named John Draymond whose book is titled, Outperform, Outwork, and Outhustle Your Way to a More Successful and Rewarding Life. This only feeds into the idea that constantly working is the path to success in life, which is detrimental to young people because it makes it seem like the only way you can make anything of yourself is if you do everything.

I’ve never had to deal with this type of societal pressure until I went to high school. When I started high school I was aware that I needed to make sure that I got good grades, participate in extracurriculars and be an all-around good student. For the first couple of months, I did this and focused on my school work, and joined a club that I was interested in, however, the club wasn’t academic. It wasn’t until I heard about what other people’s schedules looked like I started to question whether I was doing enough. I remember talking to people and hearing about how they were doing a bunch of activities, running a non-profit all while having straight A’s and a robust social life. Obviously, it was working really well for them and I wanted to do the same thing. I didn’t realize that I was just feeding off of the environment that I was in.

During the middle of March, right during COVID, I needed something to do so I joined a bunch of nonprofits and I was doing really well for myself and felt super successful. I thought I could handle everything once I went back to school. I was proven wrong. Every single day I had a thousand things to do and never took time for myself. I didn’t realize it at first but I was glamorizing the whole “I have so much to do in so little time” attitude. Eventually, I started to feel overwhelmed by the slightest task and always thinking about what I needed to do next instead of enjoying what was in the present.

Eventually, I took a step back from some of the activities that I was doing and focused on putting my whole effort into the ones that I was still a part of and had a larger role in. At first, I felt like I was a failure because I was doing less than other people. I wasn’t doing less than other people, I was only doing what I was capable of, which was okay and that didn’t make me any less successful.

Hustling to achieve your goals and keeping yourself busy is a good thing because it helps stimulate yourself. At the end of the day you shouldn’t bite off more than what you can chew because while it does have short-term effects of feeling like you are super successful, the long-term burnout that comes with it isn’t worth it.