Hustle culture is something my demographic, (ages 45 to 55) and our parents have been used to all our lives. Living by the motto that you can’t be successful unless you “work really hard, show up every day ready to overcome any obstacle, with a no-limits attitude, and of course, programmed for greatness.” We quickly passed judgment on anyone who didn’t seem to be working hard, and everything in our lives had to become second to our all-mighty career. Sound familiar?
There are tonnes of books out there pushing the hustle culture. Suggesting you should create your own “vision board;” telling you to not limit yourself, and this one I love: “never settle for less than what you truly deserve.” While I agree that we all should be passionate about what we are doing in life, and yes, you should try to always better your situation; I no longer, however, believe the words of someone like author Brian Tracy who said: “Your job is to put your head down, get busy and go to work on your goal every day. You must become unstoppable.” Sometimes that does not work – Yes you heard it here, working hard to the brink of burnout, is not the answer to happiness. I used to subscribe to the hustle culture, working 14 hours a day and always in the office on Saturday and Sunday. I had no life other than work. It was what defined me, and it still would have today, if I had not made a change in 2017.
There really is nothing good that has come from COVID – the list of tragedies and fall out from it could be endless; however, it has changed the way we look at work. Managers have had to change their motto of “all hands on deck” to realize that people really can work efficiently and effectively from home. Today, companies are now taking a big-picture approach to staffing, thinking more about employee retention, lifestyle and public image. Our Generation Y and Millennials, (aged 24-40) have also been helpful in molding the future work environment. These workers, who are highly educated, professionally skilled, and more big-picture thinkers are not wanting the old working styles that they witnessed by their parents. They are not willing to give it all “to the man” (meaning to the corporation). These new workers want flexibility, freedoms, and are definitely not 9 to 5’ers.
When I was young, especially as a woman, it was all about proving “I could do it!” But to what end? I have seen co-workers, family and personal friends hit their late 40’s and 50’s still pushing, only to be silenced by a single tragedy. Was it worth it – maybe, only you will know? I never thought I would ever say that I am glad this next generation is pushing back on the hustle mentality. Good for them to want more out of life than just their career.
I want to leave you with this. My friend’s son has 2 degrees, is highly motivated and works long hours at a small Toronto firm making $55K per year. I have another friend, who’s son also has a degree but loves video games, and of course this passion led him into developing a new game. He now makes $80K a month working less than 20 hours a week. Both young men are aged 24. My point is, there will always be people who earn more than you, no matter how hard you try or how many hours you put in. The secret is to be content with what you have, be happy with your family and to stop pushing for more at the sacrifice of others, especially those you care about.
Good Luck & Best Wishes,
ATML - Christine Ibbotson