CAREER + MONEY

THE STORY BEHIND HUSTLE CULTURE THAT ATTACKS YOUNG PEOPLE

One job does not seem to be enough in this day and age.

29.12.2021
BY HANUM FAUZIA
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Hustle culture is a workaholic set of mind that is part of the lifestyle in the youth generation nowadays. Hard work is indeed necessary to fulfill our living costs, however, the definition of hard work is often immediately swallowed without proper preparation by young people, and in the end, they can’t help but feel trapped. According to the Airlangga University Faculty of Medicine, people with a hustle culture lifestyle feel that they need to work hard from time to time and feel guilty if they don't do that. As a result, they often end up only spending a little time resting or even don't have time to socialize with others at all. 


If we look at the surface, it seems like a good habit, right? But it turns out, hustle culture could take a toll on both physical and mental health. Those who are trapped in a hustle culture assume that the only way to reach success and prosperity is by working. They consume working hours more than normal hours, and working overtime is essentially like a daily meal. 


Where does it actually come from?

There are two reasons why Millennials and Gen Z feel the need to implement hustle culture in their lives. First, they are switching secondary needs into basic needs that 'should be fulfilled, such as purchasing the latest iPhone series, traveling in luxury to the Maldives in order to update their Instagram feeds, and eating well at a famous restaurant. Those activities, most of the time, have quite a hefty price, and they are aware of that. 


Millennials and Gen Z, on the other hand, are also often referred to a sandwich generation, where they are required to support other family members’ lives, in addition to their own.  Paying for electricity and water for their parents' house is still considered a reasonable act. But the problem is, their parent's house is not only occupied by their parents today, they have siblings who perhaps just started a family and have their own children as well. Therefore, this sandwich generation needs to contribute financially to the survival of the family inside of the family as well. 

Photo Courtesy of Andrea Piacquadio


Modern life requires them to work longer hours, even though they must put their own health aside. This hustle culture could spread to other employees, which in the end has become a work culture that is considered normal.


Dangers behind hustle culture

If young people continue to do so, hustle culture can increase stress, and lead to burnout which is a condition when a person feels tired for a long time due to the heavy stress of working. This also answers why the young generation today is vulnerable to a life-quarter crisis. When we talk to our boss, she is surprised why there are such terms like this. 


When she was young, yes, she worked hard to live, but not to the point of making her feel overly upset. The main cause of the emergence of a life quarter crisis is because young people today are very engaged with social media where they are exposed to the lives of their friends who may seem more successful than they are today. So they need to work harder to equalize it. 


According to Headversity, a professional organization that aims to increase mental health in the professional world, the hustle culture puts the body in a fight or flight mode. This constant stress causes the stress hormone cortisol to be released in greater quantities and for longer periods of time. 


The body must enter a state of rest in order to normalize these elevated cortisol levels. But what if the hustle culture doesn't allow for downtime? Burnout is then unavoidable. This constant stress can be detrimental to both your mental and physical health. Prolonged high cortisol levels are linked to a variety of negative outcomes, including anxiety, depression, heart disease, memory impairments, and more.


Increased stress levels lead to decreased professional productivity. Employees must achieve personal satisfaction and conscientiousness rather than simply increasing their workload in order to produce quality work. Data also shows that there is a positive relationship between happiness and productivity. Individuals' productivity improves when they are calm and less stressed (for example, by taking social breaks). 


Then, what should we do?

First, don't compare yourself to others. Turning off from social media is okay for a while, and start to enjoy your life with all the advantages and disadvantages. Believe us, it will help you ease the burden.


Second, try to change our mindset that not all the needs should be fulfilled as soon as possible. Yes, Millennials and Gen Z assume that everything can be obtained instantly but in real life, everything needs a process. Young people today need to be given an understanding that nothing comes easy in this world.

#hustle culture