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Unlearning Hustle Culture

Jan 10, 2023
Unlearning Hustle Culture

Hustle culture: it’s something we’ve spoken about many times here on the Orbis blog, and something that has been a continuous topic of conversation online - propelled by the pandemic and linked to burnout, exhaustion, and lack of job satisfaction!

The truth is, hustle culture is still pretty prevalent, and for some of us, unlearning some of the behaviours associated with hustle culture can be a tough pill to swallow.

Let’s unpack what hustle culture really is…

So many of us have been raised to believe that our value and worth are solely based on the work we do, how much of it, and how well. In some ways, it can be a beautiful thing: building a career you love and being proud of your achievements. But, when your only value is ascertained by the work you do (and how much of it you dedicate your life to) - that’s when it can start to become toxic. 

What is hustle culture, and what’s its history?

“Literally referring to the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, hustle culture means pushing someone to move faster aggressively. In simple terms, hustle culture means a culture that makes people move more quickly or aggressively, in this case, a matter of work culture.

Defined as a culture that encourages employees or workers or labourers to work more than normal hours. They even think about work when they have free time, such as at weekends. This culture requires them to complete a job on target and precisely to a faster rhythm than usual.

People who have been trapped in this culture, almost never rest and when they do have time to rest usually all they think about is work. This culture was born around 1970 until the internet era made this culture even crazier. The company is facilitated by the existence of email and digital administration systems. [Source]

What behaviours are associated with hustle culture?

Constantly thinking about work/being obsessed with work: If you find that you’re continually taking your job home with you, this could be a sign that you’re entering the realm of hustle culture. Of course, there will be some days when we all naturally take our jobs home after we clock out - it’s human nature to care. But, when it takes up the majority of your headspace, that’s when it can become a problem. 

Struggling to relax: Having downtime is incredibly important - for your work life and your personal life. When you spend time alone, how do you feel? If you can’t switch off and your mind is running at a thousand miles an hour (and the thoughts plaguing you are about work) then this can indicate that you’re becoming affected by hustle culture. 

Feeling like you need to constantly be improving/doing something: Whether it’s starting a new hobby, creating a “side hustle” or over-analysing where you currently are in life, this can be incredibly damaging mentally as well as physically. 

How can you start to unlearn these behaviours if they’re negatively affecting you?

Unlearning behaviours won’t happen overnight - nor should they be something you strive for. The most important thing to look at before you start practising unlearning, is to find out which behaviours are negatively affecting you and start from there. 

Everything should be done in moderation, and although hustle culture forces us to push ourselves to the extreme - there can be some useful lessons that you can take and adapt from hustle culture. It’s not all doom and gloom, so trying to unlearn every single thing isn’t productive.

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