With the constant doomsday news of the economy continuously crashing and there being too few jobs and too many job-seekers, it’s not a wonder that the “hustle” concept has seemingly ingrained itself in the minds of every single millennial with a wish to leave a mark on the world, and earn enough to live a semi comfortable life in the process. These days, it’s not a surprise to hear of people holding between two to three jobs at a time, and sometimes, it feels like something that should be lauded as an achievement. And I’m not exempt from that notion.
Too often, I find myself subscribing to the idea that the hustle life means being sleep-deprived, living in fear of having a surprise anxiety attack in the middle of the night and chasing deadlines day after day, and that all of this was a good thing. Like I’m supposed to fall sick every other month due to exhaustion. Like my stress is validation of good work being done. Like being busy all the time is a sign that I’m doing well in life, for once.
When the entirety of that amount of work lands on your desk, you’re bound to be hit by a couple of things as well. First, your quality of work becomes in danger of being sub-par: quantity starts taking over the mantle of quality in an effort to tick off the tasks on your ever growing checklist. You start becoming obsessed with the idea of completing your work as soon as possible in order to maximise your time efficiently, but that just runs the risk of rushing through everything, instead of making sure that project or that assignment is up to a standard that doesn’t scream “finished it in 45 minutes before I went to bed at 4am a few hours ago”.
Another reason why you need to stop hustling every single day is the fact that it burns you out. Sooner or later, you’ll inevitably reach the stage of exhaustion when words swim before your eyes and all you want to do is take a vacation for forever instead of dealing with your actual responsibilities. You’ll justify a getaway with rewarding yourself for a job well done and then you’ll come back to work, with nothing changed except probably gaining a tan and a desire to skip time over to your next holiday. It’s a cycle that is immensely difficult to break, just because there is a supposedly huge incentive waiting for you after a few months of suffering in resignation. It induces this martyr-like complex that doesn’t actually benefit anyone at all in the long run.
Ever heard of self-care? Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t just lying in a bath tub filled with scented bath bombs, but that can be part of it too. Despite the high you might get after closing a difficult deal or just being able to work through the week without any major issues cropping up, nothing beats being able to take care of your self, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. And when you’re too engrossed in living up to the concept of hustling, it can be hard to be able to justify taking some time out of your day to wind down and take a well-deserved break, instead of rushing to that next meeting.
And while everyone has their own standards of acceptable work ethics, sometimes it comes at a heavy price. You know you’ve bypassed the danger signs five miles ago when you can’t exactly remember the last time you’ve done something that wasn’t in any way related to your job, or numerous other responsibilities you might be carrying. I’m not saying you should stop hustling, because then I’d just be a giant hypocrite. But there is a danger to trying to live up to the preconceived notion of what a hustle life looks like. You define your own idea of hustle, according to your own limits and capabilities, because it is extremely damaging to every part of your being when you’re stuck in a loop of stress and overloaded with work.