Looked at what your peers are achieving and felt like you needed to compete? That’s Hustle Culture.
Sacrificed sleep, food, or exercise in order to get attention-boosting work done like posting on Instagram, writing an article, going to a networking event you didn’t want to go to and didn’t have time for? That’s Hustle Culture.
Have a 9-5 but work 3 other side-jobs so you feel like you’re making a splash in your chosen industry? Heard someone talking about someone you don’t know in your industry and fell into a panic because you’re not well-connected enough? Agreed to every opportunity left-right-and-centre even though you’re burnt out because of FOMO? Guess what.
The creative industries are infamously competitive, and that competition can wear you down. It’s important to think about what’s actually important to you: do you need to be putting on as many exhibitions as someone who wants to become a curator, if you don’t want to be a curator? Do you need to be writing your debut fiction novel if actually you’d quite like to go into marketing? Do you need to know everyone in the local art scene if networking makes you feel sick and you’re more happy working with a small group of trusted peers than being a social butterfly?
Here’s some of our least favourite parts of Hustle Culture.
It ruins your sleep
The desperate chase to feel like you’re ‘productive enough’ can leave you finishing your 9-5 and then starting your passion projects, freelance work, and networking endeavours in the hours when you really ought to be relaxing, replenishing your body, and getting ready for some sleep. If you’re afraid that at any moment you could ‘fall behind’ you’ll feel the need to be switched on pretty much 24/7. If you’re worried that you’ll miss a dream opportunity because you turned off your notifications at night, then you need a break.
It ruins your expectations
Productivity can be addictive, and even when you’re on holiday you can feel a sense of guilt about not working. It’ll mess with your idea of ‘satisfaction’ if you’re always chasing the next thing. If you’ve just launched your own brand, but you’re obsessing that someone else has already launched two, how can you be expected to celebrate your own achievement? Constantly looking at what everyone else has achieved and racing to keep up with every milestone is going to ruin your life. Yes, that Hustle Culture endorsed Jealousy might bring you money and a career for other people to envy (and so continues the cycle) but the price you pay is genuine satisfaction. It’s too big a price.
It ruins your eyes (get away from that screen!)
So much of business, networking, and opportunity-seeking is online these days, and so much of our online-time is on tiny mobile screens. We all know that staring at a laptop for 10+ hours a day is bad for our eyes, brain, posture, and yet we seem to be okay with this as a trade-off for Instagram followers, LinkedIn connections, and podcast guest spots. Huh? Late-night scrolling is particularly bad, and can spiral you into a pattern of late-nights and early starts that are completely unsustainable in the long run.
It ruins your friendships
If you’re constantly working towards your 5-year-plan, you’ll never be living in the moment. We’ve all been guilty of it: leaving a party early in order to complete a design, drifting off from conversation with your partner because you’re making an Instagram post, using your free time to hustle rather than engaging with those you love. You need to treat yourself with more compassion to give yourself the energy to interact with the people around you. Give them the attention they deserve. Burn out doesn’t just affect you and it’s the people who care about you most who’ll be your biggest cheerleaders regardless of the ‘size’ of your achievements.
Get your sleep. Get your vitamins. Move your body. Learn what’s important to you. Ask for help.
Text by Verity Babbs