13 Reasons The ‘Hustle Culture’ Is Truly Problematic

Photo: Clarisse Meyer via Unsplash
Why Hustle Culture Is Problematic For Millennials And Causes Negative Effects On Their Health

By Katja Bart

Hello Internet,

Recently, my sidebars have exploded with mindfulness, meditation, and yoga ads, so I assume my generation has started having anxiety attacks again.

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It’s either that, or someone in Google HQ decided to calibrate the algorithm based on what they think millennials need.

So, I think it’s about time we have a chat about hustle culture, privilege, and why we all need to stop acting so damn surprised that we are tired literally all the time. 

1. Everywhere we go, we have rich and privileged people telling us we are lazy and naive

Nevermind the fact that Gen-X is making it rain on frivolities, millennials are the ones who are spoiled and lazy.

Naturally, that makes us want to be “the big exception” and defy all the stereotypes.

The result? We work long hours, volunteer for “experience”, and when that’s not enough to cover the rent, we start looking for additional employment more.

2. Nobody likes being called desperate

We go too far trying to score a meeting, simply because we want to be like the cool kids.

Then, when one of us royally messes up, we are all called desperate and entitled.

3. Some of us are desperate … to live

None of us was thinking we would be pushing 30 and still live with our parents.

Yet, this is a choice that many of us have to make.

Some of the reasons include unstable, low-paid work, lack of growth opportunities, rising house prices, and living costs as well as the frustration and hassle of finding people you want to share your living space with.

Who wouldn’t burn out, living like that?

4. Hustle culture isn’t all that productive, actually

Two jobs, three blogs, a postgraduate degree, and a partridge in a pear tree don’t add up to a lot of stuff getting accomplished.

It just means a never-ending to-do list and a diminishing window in which you can get some sleep and destress.

Do you really think the quality of what you are producing is somehow superior just because you are multi-tasking? 

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5. Hustle culture is probably bad for the environment, too

We destroy our health and our emotional well-being to create stuff.

But how much of it actually gets used on a regular basis?

How much of it ends up in someone’s landfill?

The push for a 4-day work week isn’t just so that people can have more leisure time, it’s actually to reduce the amount of waste that businesses generate.

6. Living your dream is overrated

I see this a lot from former friends who have hopped onto the MLM bandwagon: “OMG, I am so #blessed to be #livingmydream while also being a mom!”

This may sound harsh, but if your dream is to pedal things and make money by exploiting your friends, then that's not a dream. 

7. Mindfulness, yoga, and a balanced lifestyle are not the antithesis of hustle culture

When your favorite blogger recommends you expensive vitamins, do you honestly think they are doing it out of the goodness of their heart?

Content creators have monetized mindfulness to our detriment and the more we ignore it, the deeper we fall.

8. Hustle culture is the antithesis of any healthy lifestyle or relationship

If all of us are entrepreneurs and we are honor-bound to support our friends, then every single relationship we have is transactional.

There is no more “hanging out” for the sake of hanging out.

No more friendships because you matter to the people.

There is just selling and working and more selling. 

9. Hustle culture never lets us slow down enough to actually master a skill

When you have to be productive all the time, you will naturally gravitate toward tasks that are less complicated and easier to complete.

There is less incentive to try your hand at something challenging or something you are not sure about, because it’ll take longer to achieve.

And time is money, you know?

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10. Hustle culture hates delayed gratification

When was the last time you put off a purchase or a treat because you wanted to savor it?

When was the last time you worked on a relationship?

Hustle culture sucks away the desire to put in the work, because even a one-second delay makes us “fall behind” everyone else we know. 

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11. Hustle culture rarely benefits the hustler

If you look at the journalistic studies of MLMs, you will find the vast majority of people recruited into these companies make little or no money.

People who are busting their assess working for “experience” are not skyrocketing their careers.

But, the money that the people at the top of the ladder make convinces us that it’s true.

“If they can make it, so can I!” we think, so we sacrifice our money and time and relationships at the altar of hustle culture, without gaining much in return while losing everything important. 

12. Hustle culture benefits people who never had to hustle in their life

Hey, Gen-X, it’s neat that you got a free university education and lots of start-up loans to build your business.

I won’t call it hustling, though, because you were also benefiting from the unpaid labor of your wives and people of color.

Now, that labor protection laws are in place, I guess you’ve rebranded it “volunteering” to convince the rest of us that we’re not good enough for salaries and benefits and pension savings.

And all I’ve got to say is that this is messed up. 

13. The only way to win at hustle culture is to opt out

Drop it. Leave everything but the work and the hobbies that fulfill you.

Hustle culture will drain you if you let it.

The only way you can reclaim your peace of mind is to adopt a new set of values.

Stop assuming that being busy all the time is a good thing.

It feels weird, but eventually, you will feel better.

At least that is what I tell myself. 

It’s a hard habit to break, but you can break this cycle of madness.

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Katja Bart is a writer who focuses on self-care, self-love, and health and wellness. For more of her self-care content, visit her author profile on Unwritten.

This article was originally published at Unwritten. Reprinted with permission from the author.