Popularized by sleep-deprived millennial college students, hustle culture is a societal trend that promotes intense and continuous hard work, suggesting that professional achievements are only awarded as a result of “the grind.” This involves balancing jobs, internships, and classes with other activities geared towards career advancement, leaving little time for a personal life and self-care.
Young professionals, especially millennials, embrace hustle culture because they want to become successful as soon as possible. Many millennials are becoming rich and famous fairly quickly as a result of their influence on social media, creating a sort of obligation and pressure for other millennials to do the same. However, since not everyone is beautiful, talented, funny, or have the necessary adorable pets to become a successful social media influencer, or have the capital, connections or technical expertise to create the next most popular smartphone app, there’s only one path left to take in order to reach this new societal standard of millenial prosperity: get a real job.
However, it can’t just be any job, it has to be a great job, and right away. These young aspiring professionals feel that they are destined to be in a high-paying managerial position, or to own their own business while they’re still young. This is where the hustle culture comes into play. The idea is to work day and night, leaving barely any personal time for friends and family. Personal time can come later, once the professional goal has been achieved.
I myself, as a recent college graduate, fell victim to the hustle culture. Everyone around me was doing it. The idea was to take as many classes as you could, each with the highest credits, in order to create the most impressive skill-set with a perfect GPA to match. On top of classes, simultaneous internships and other career related activities were also prioritized, all with the goal of a perfect job straight out of school. Getting this perfect job straight out of school ties back into the desire to achieve career greatness as soon as possible. Rather than spreading out work and training over several years like everyone else does, the participants of hustle culture try to cram it all in at once in a sort of race to the finish.
I like to use the following fitness-related concept as an analogy to describe this particular situation: you can either exercise with maximum intensity for a short amount of time, or exercise at a comfortable level of intensity for a longer period of time. Both will achieve the same results, however, exercising at a very high intensity can potentially lead to injury if one isn’t careful or exercises with too much intensity. Participants of hustle culture need to realize that there really is no rush to get to end-goal of their career path, and that they are young and have plenty of time to work towards their goals. In order to avoid the “burnout”, spread your work and education out over time, allowing yourself a healthy work-life balance. Your younger years should not be spent wearing yourself down in a frantic effort to be a great job sooner than your friends do.
This article was written by Sean Ahern.
Sean Ahern, a recent Drexel University MBA graduate, is a jack of all trades. Apart from his passion for writing, he also narrates audio books, produces commercial music, performs stand up comedy, and practices martial arts. Sean prides himself as being a true freelancer, and decries the concept of the 9-5 job (despite writing articles describing various strategies on how to secure such a position).
Sean is currently pursuing a full time career in copywriting as he continues to bolster his portfolio with updated work. Keep an eye out for some of his future writing pieces, or for his name on the marquee of your local comedy club.