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Have you heard about #hustleculture?

Have you heard about #hustleculture?

Tuesday 04 January 2022

Have you heard about #hustleculture?

Tuesday 04 January 2022

Often also referred to as ‘the grind’, this phrase describes the way in which modern working has evolved and shifted in recent years... into a bit of a personal-life-stealing beast.

Buckle up, folks, Express's columnist Martha Macdonald has got a lot to say about this one...

Are you all fully buckled? Alright, then we’ll begin.

First of all, let me dive right in with an incredibly nuanced and analytical hot take: #hustleculture is the worst and it’s ruining my life.

Now that’s out of the way with, I’ll actually do my job and explain what this mystery phrase means. The #hustleculture refers to what has previously been known as ‘the rat race’, ‘the grind’, ‘the unrelenting deeply embedded ideology that to be valuable in a capitalist society you must work yourself into the ground’ – all classic phrases that we’re all familiar with. It essentially is a means of glorifying all work and no play (which, spoiler alert: does indeed make Jack and anyone else a truly dull boy). 

Of course, throughout history, there has always been a conception of ‘hard work’ and an idealisation of the rags to riches narrative. We love to hear about people who come from nothing working so hard that they put themselves into a completely different economic bracket. I could talk for days about how the economic system loves to reward and praise those who manage to overcome obstacles that that very system has itself put in place – but hey, I’ve only got 500 words.


Pictured: Keep smiling (through the pain), and carry on...

There was a time when people would leave school, start working in a certain field and they would have a ‘job for life’.

Of course, it wasn’t a perfect model, but it was far more conceivable that my grandparents’ generation would go into the job they trained for and they would stay on that path until they retired. Nowadays, of course, with a dearth of paid entry-level opportunities to get into different careers, less job security and more competition – that idea of staying in one lane is very much not the norm.

This, coupled with the fact that so many people are starting their own business, or working a hybrid-career with maybe a freelancing gig, side hustle and part-time job to supplement their income (a model which often involves working in your downtime) – the lines between worktime and downtime become incredibly blurred. 

So now we’ve got part-time work, freelance work and working on your passion project work and THEN there’s the added pressure to ‘have an online presence’ and ‘document your journey’ on social media (which, yes you guessed it, is also work!) AND, not to bang on about it, but even if you’re working a more conventional full-time job, with remote working there is more of an expectation that colleagues are available outside of working hours. 

With all this said, #hustleculture describes this phenomenon of our working lives slowly claiming more and more of the time previously taken up by this magical thing called a 'personal life'.


Pictured: If by 'it', you mean 'my personal life back', then yes, yes please.

We’ve gotten so used to admiring and glamorising people who 'hustled' their way into an awesome lifestyle that we’re not really examining how unhealthy this lack of work/life balance can be.

Of course, work hard if that’s what makes you happy, but also take breaks, work hard at your downtime too and don’t give into the #hustleculture.

This article first appeared in the Dec/Jan edition of Connect, which you can read HERE. 

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