If you look through social media, grind culture is romanticized across platforms. This idea of always working, always creating, and doing so without giving yourself a break has become the “key” to success — just ask some of tech’s biggest names.
“There are way easier places to work, but nobody ever changed the world on 40 hours a week,” Elon Musk tweeted, back in November of 2018.
But if you love what you do, it (mostly) doesn’t feel like work
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 27, 2018
Here’s the thing: it doesn’t matter how much you love your job — it’s still work, which means you still need to take breaks from it. I have been writing since I was ten years old but I clock at least eight hours a day on my computer between my day job and freelancing. I’m not going to spend another eight hours working on different side projects.
People often bring up celebrities or members of the one percent to guilt working-class people into throwing themselves in daily jobs or extra side hustles. However, as noted by Bobbi Dempsey in Quartz, we do not all “have as many hours as Beyoncé.”
“Working-class folks don’t have an entire troop of nannies, assistants, cleaning people, trainers, and assorted other miscellaneous support staff who keep our lives running while freeing up large chunks in our schedule that we can then use for social activities and other luxuries,” Dempsey wrote.
Now, this isn’t to say, don’t multitask. If you can find balance, go ahead. However, the idea that if you aren’t overworking your yourself to do something, then it isn’t being done right, needs to go.
Overall, hustle culture is one that stems from fear, as pointed out by Samantha Radocchia in Forbes:
“Very few people actually want to be in a cycle of performative exhaustion. Most are simply coming from a place of fear. They work hard because they think what they’re doing is never going to be enough. They’re afraid their competitor will outpace them. Afraid they won’t be able to create a return on a big investment. Afraid they’ll lose their job to someone who promises to fit an extra two hours into the workday.”
If you want to be able to work on what you love long-term then you need to be able to step away. The glorification of unhealthy habits — sleep deprivation or skipping meals because you were caught up working — needs to end. Grind culture may lead to short-term elation, but it’s not sustainable.