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What is Hustle Culture, the Danger, and what you can do

In the current difficult economy we all face, we should be grateful that we still have jobs and steady incomes. We dedicate ourselves in terms of time and mind to our jobs. We don’t mind waking up very early every day to beat the traffic to go to work and work overtime till late at night. Especially if we have family and loved ones to support.

However, we should not take all these sacrifices for granted. There should be a limit or threshold when you should consider it.

What is “hustle“?

There are many meanings of hustle, and most of them are positive. In this context, hustle can be seen as “being busy“. It is still a positive meaning.

What is “hustle culture“?

The hustle or being busy becomes a culture when everything about your work becomes the most important thing in your daily life that basically you don’t have any time to live your life normally anymore. Work becomes the number one priority in your life, overshadowing all other aspects of your life such as hobbies, family, and health.

Signs that your workplace has a hustle culture:

  • You would only get a raise or promotion if you overwork. This demand becomes so heavy that some people may resort to lying about the actual logged hours or making an impression that they work very hard such as replying to emails at midnight.
  • You would be judged or shamed as not a team player or avoiding work if you don’t overwork like the rest of the team.
  • You would feel obliged to say yes to every assignment given, even if those assignments are outside your scope of work.
  • You would feel obliged to attend every meeting at all hours even if those meetings are not really related to your role.

By seeing all the above-mentioned “pressure”, you can guess what would happen to you sooner or later. You would get burnout. When you get burnout, you lose your energy, you would work slower even though usually you can do it much faster. You make more mistakes. You get anxious and depressed. And when it happens long enough, it would affect your health.

So what can you do if you find yourself working in a hustle culture workplace?

  • Make time for your hobbies, relax time, time-out, whatever you call it. Take a break. It may seem impossible when you look at all those deadlines on your calendar. But a weekend is supposed to be a weekend. A time when you take a break from work. Think of this mindset: “Even if you work 24/7, your work will never be finished. There will be always work and deadlines to do”. So, take a break!
  • Try to find a way to work smarter. Analyze your calendar and check all those meetings you have. Which ones that you really have to attend? These meetings are usually when you are one of the main topics of the meetings. Even so, it is okay to skip those meetings if you are unwell, you can send an email informing the organizer or your colleague about the latest update and tell them you won’t be able to attend the meeting. And for all other meetings when you are just a participant or listener without any engagement expected, you surely can skip them.
  • Make clear of your commitment and personal boundaries with your boss and colleagues. Explain to them if or when you can reply to work phone calls or emails. Tell them that you would try to pick up work calls outside working hours, but it’s not a guarantee or commitment. Unless your work requires you to be on a 24/7 standby call, you should not feel any obligation to answer them outside your normal working hours.

By doing all of the above, you should be able to have a more balanced, meaningful, and healthy life. A good workplace should honor your well beings.

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