The glory of being a #girlboss, the all-nighters we pull proudly, the never-ending workweek, the constant need for an escape. Or in other words - just some of the “benefits” that come from being a part of the hustle culture.
Ah, the hustle culture! “Work until you drop”, “sleep is overrated”, and “positivity is key”, even if it is fake! Isn't it lovely to be part of a generation that bases their self-worth on a job position and productivity checks. You bet, it is..not. Read on!
I was raised to love and dream of this. Growing up as a “zennial”, which means I am one of the lucky ones, born right in the middle of two generations, I was strongly influenced by millennials’ hustle lifestyle. Thanks to the rise of social media, the #ThankGodIt’sMonday trend did not catch me by surprise either. I romanticized having a well-paid job, that would give meaning to my existence. I looked up to strong and independent women. Women who seemed as if they had it all - the career, the fame, the designer bags, and most importantly, the freedom to do, and be whoever they wanted to. I was taught that working hard, pays off and that the view from the top is worth it - no matter how big the sacrifice is. No matter what the sacrifice is. This is how you create a devoted workaholic, who knows no break.. For what is worth, we keep going even with the engine light on..
Working hard - it does pay off. However, is it always worth it?
This is the question I, a 24-years old woman, with one major burnout (and probably a few unidentified ones) behind her back, and many already employed Gen Zs and Millennials, are asking themselves these days.
Statistics suggest that the end of the hustle culture might be coming to an end. And as it is crumbling down, we are witnessing the beginning of the new, so-called, “anti-ambition” era, which is all about fewer hours, better working conditions, oh yes.. and “leaving the job that makes you miserable” type of behavior. We all stand for this, don’t we?
As it looks Generations Z is setting up some new rules in the corporate (and not only) world. And as good as it sounds, will this have some long-lasting effects, and will they be only positive, in shaping the working culture of the future?
Is “hustle culture” purely evil, and isn’t the “anti-ambition” just the new extreme?
Born in the middle of two generations, I am pre-conditioned to be on the look for a balance, even though I fail sometimes. After all, let’s not forget - no extreme is a stranger to young people nowadays. We are mentally liable, way too easily influenced, longing for a sense of belonging - no matter the cost. Sounds familiar? Generation Z is known to be bold, risk-taking, outspoken, and authentic. But it is also the loneliness, and extremely prone to obsessions. Can we get a little too carried away with taking it easy? Is there a limit to this? After all, is it this bad to have goals, ambitions, and, as old-fashioned as it might sound, dream for a job?
These are the questions I ask myself on a regular basis now. Truth is, as an ex “go-getter”, I do not dream of a job. Living in the state of a constant “burning out” feeling, was the only way I knew how to live, but often, I wonder if I moved from one hole to digging the other. I do not dream of a job position, and sometimes I even say that I never want to work another day in my life. Really?
I call this a side effect of almost losing my fire, whilst trying to impress a society that is never ever satisfied.
This is how I see it now, after taking some time to analyze the situation - the problem of millennial’s culture was never the job, or ambition itself. It was the toxicity, the comparison, the fear of not living up to your full potential. But what I have been learning recently, is that, in order to do that, you don’t need to settle for being average, nor do you need to work yourself to death. What we are all in need of, and have the power to create, each for themselves, is a healthy work-life balance. Easier said than done, I know that. But why chase extremes and overcomplicate the picture? I have been taking more days off lately, getting off the “my day is only worthy of living if I am productive” wagon, and trying to enjoy the stillness. Of course, I did not give up on my goals, and I still strive to be the best version of myself. But I learned the hard way that the best version of myself, is my happiest one. And in order to be happy, we need to fulfil more than one need in our life - we need love, support, freedom, rest, exploration, creativity, human connections, and so much more. Truth is, when you focus on these things, you are moving forward faster than expected.