When Cardi B said that she dropped two mixtapes in six months and flexed that no one was working as hard as her, she was embodying the work ethic of a whole generation. As both students and employees, we believe that we should always be working; every second of our time should be spent with maximum productivity and anything else is wasted potential. But is hustling the right way to approach life and work?
The first aspect is the effect a hectic work schedule can have on mental health. We are always comparing ourselves to others, often judging ourselves with harsher standards. Constantly being under the pressure of working can create a toxic, competitive environment where self-worth is measured by how much a person is “on the grind”. Not only is this a false notion, but it also leaves no space for self-care, which is why so many youngsters are fatigued; experiencing burnouts at an age where their work should excite and inspire them.
This begs the question; does it really make one more productive? There is an idealized standard, furthered by social media that constant work can give faster results. Like most things on the internet, these standards are very unreal and unattainable. In the process of trying, we exhaust ourselves of our creativity and genuine interest for the work we do, supplemented by unhealthy lifestyles. Over time we feel like mere cogs in a giant factory, bored and uninspired, a phenomenon popularly called as a burnout. We all have different paces; what works for one won’t do for another. They real key here is to create a personalised work pattern and avoid all media that brings down your self-esteem.
A beloved professor opened my eyes to this- Hustle culture has seeped into the sphere of leisure as well. We plan our breaks, knowing already what we will be doing and for how long. What is accepted as productive leisure- watching, reading or listening to something (basically anything that can be capitalized) has somehow also become a type of work which leaves us drained. Simply sitting still, enjoying time and space; basically doing nothing (gasp!) is frowned upon as it’s a waste of time. But maybe we need to consider that the idea behind working in the first place is to be able to enjoy leisure, and not the other way around.
If there is one thing we can learn from millennials, it is that the concept of overworking yourself today to be able to enjoy tomorrow is a farce created to wring out all your creativity as fast as possible. Like an assembly line, people are squeezed and stretched and then thrown out because there is no shortage in the workforce; a concept that benefits only the conglomerates.
Maybe it’s time to stand up for ourselves and make hustling uncool. While listening to DMX (It’s on)- “Never become so involved with something that it blinds you”