I imagine an image of someone taking in the sun’s generous beams on a nice beach somewhere. Their bodies in a state of perpetual ease and relaxation; their minds play light and free, not bogged down by any desire for constant work and improvement. In other words, they have ‘enough’ and live to enjoy what they have, whatever that may be.

Hustle culture was a product of traditional workplace values. Ideas like you cannot leave earlier than your boss, or you should always be seen working while in the office, and having pride on working in long-spurts at the same company. For generations, where we worked and what we did came to make up a core part of our own identities. Working long hours was, therefore, seen as a badge of honour further reinforcing the rise and grind mentality.

In recent years, however, there has been a rejection of hustle culture. I believe the primary instigator is the transformation of workplace values, which are themselves informed by each coming generation. As Gen Z migrate into the workforce, notions of remote working, flexible hours, and the importance of mental health will come to a boil. These values will naturally ascend and drown out values of old. In many ways, hustle culture is not the cause but rather a symptom of the aggregate of the values previous generations hold.

My initial inquiry is thus flawed. There is not “opposite of” hustle culture, there is only a “what is next after” it. The Global Financial Crisis of ’08, climate change, and now the Covid-19 pandemic, it is safe to say that the the desire for security around our financial, environmental, physical, and our mental health will be top of the list. I imagine work will no longer be a means to an end for the common person, but rather a rallying point to sustainably push mankind onwards and upwards.


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