Screw Hustle Culture, Embrace Life at Your Own Pace

A cup of a beverage sits on a book on top of a mattress with white bedding and scattered books and journals, opened and closed lay around it.
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Being a victim of hustle culture myself, I’ve spent nights debilitating the purpose of my existence simply because I hadn’t found myself doing anything productive in the last 14 hours I had been awake. Hustle culture will convince you that your existence is worth nothing if not quantified and that is an extremely toxic mindset to live with.

An obvious fallout of a post-capitalist society, we are now seeing an increasing influx of content on social media centered on this idea of ‘hustling’ and ‘working your asses off’ for some kind of material gain. This is nothing but polished millennial jargon for careerism that has permeated human society since the advent of modernity.

Hustle culture will convince you that your existence is worth nothing if not quantified and that is an extremely toxic mindset to live with.

The saddest part of this entire ordeal is that it doesn’t seem to do much besides creating a high-pressure environment where you’re expected to show up every single day, put in a ridiculous amount of work — not because you have to, but because you ought to. You are made to feel and work like the machine that you’re not.

It’s almost like an internalization of the worst aspects of capitalism packaged in one shiny box that gives you dreams of ultimate wealth and success if you hustle and push yourself hard enough.

Here’s the catch. It’s not a sure-shot thing either way. While overworking yourself a few hours every day might get you some extra bucks to spend on booze or other leisurable things to indulge in, it does not guarantee success or wealth in the long run.

There are multiple factors to weigh when it comes to professional success. You might be the hardest working associate at your firm, but someone else knows the board members thanks to their parental connections. Sadly (or realistically), career success sometimes depends on factors that aren’t in our control at all. No matter how hard we push ourselves, sometimes our reporting manager just will not like us and might like the less competent colleague who finds shortcuts and leaves early every day.

I can hear you wondering — does this mean we give up?

Not by any means. Do not give up. Just stop working yourself to the bone for a company or client that will replace you in an instant if you’re unable to meet a deadline all because you dropped dead.

God forbid that happens, of course. My reasoning for being so blunt in this context is simple. Hustling is not going to get you anywhere except possibly a hospital bed or rehab. You were not built to work until you literally can’t anymore.

Just stop working yourself to the bone for a company or client that will replace you in an instant if you’re unable to meet a deadline all because you dropped dead.

Everything around us seems to try and convince us that our lives are nothing beyond and everything about our careers. That’s far from the truth. All of us live an entire 18–19 years of our initial existence not having a career, does that make us useless? Absolutely not.

It makes us human.

While we need a career to survive and possibly sustain our livelihood, careerism and hustle culture is nothing but a toxic manifestation to justify workaholism. There is nothing good to come of it.

We need to live for ourselves and by ourselves. Our careers are just one part of this massive and beautiful existence we have with us. They are not everything.

So the next time you spend a Monday evening self-deprecating because you did not “do enough,” tell your (hustle-infested) mind to take a break and get a life. Your self-worth was never directly proportional to your productivity, and it never will be.

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lifestyle & culture writer. i often write about pop culture, internet trends, health, wellness, beauty, food, travel, & more. mostly, i daydream though.

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Arushi Tandon

Arushi Tandon

lifestyle & culture writer. i often write about pop culture, internet trends, health, wellness, beauty, food, travel, & more. mostly, i daydream though.

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