Pretending to love work and boasting about doing an 18 hour day. Individuals routinely working over 40 hours a week in order to be seen as committed and hard working. Hustle culture is where work dominates your life, leaving no space or time for anything else, family, friends, hobbies , relaxing, holidays. Hustlers often deny this claiming to relax by taking long walks in the countryside or reading a good book but on examination the long walks are preoccupied by thoughts of work, they struggle to remember the last book they read and their last holiday was a week away a couple of years ago.
My boss rang me at home on a Sunday evening. We were having our wider management team meeting away from HQ , all part of getting out and about and being seen in the district offices. He rang to say he had just had a thought that it would be a good idea if all the managers from HQ travelled together rather than in separate cars! I pointed out that as the meeting was first thing many of us were going straight there from home.
Could I ring round my managers and ask them to come first to HQ so we could all travel together. I said I didn’t have their home telephone numbers. He was shocked at this news. On another occasion he rang early in the morning getting me out the shower to ask me a question on the budget! He was already in the office looking at a report and thought I might know the answer. This was the same boss who never took his full holiday entitlement and even when he was on holiday with his family rang the office every day.
A boss who routinely rings you up outside normal working hours to discuss non urgent work issues is ignoring boundaries and setting the wrong tone. Such a boss is promoting the hustle culture. Possibly because they have based their career on being a bluffer in a hustler culture.
Not only is this type of boss setting the wrong tone as leader they are creating an environment that is bad for their mental health and those they manage. The hustle culture excludes talented individuals who can’t give that time and “commitment”. Commitment in this sense is not the same as effectiveness which is what is really required. Contributing to the myth that the more you do the more valuable you are . Busy doesn’t always equal better.
Hustle culture affects your physical health causing high blood pressure and increasing the risks of strokes or heart attacks. The hustle culture increases the risk of burn out. Although many people don’t even realise they have burn out they are so used to the long hours culture and pressure they just carry on in the belief it’s normal.
But burn out makes people less effective, cynical, with a tendency to procrastinate, make more mistakes , become anxious and depressed. Emotionally exhausted someone suffering burnout frequently feels less able to listen to or care for others. Not a good characteristic in a manager. Life is better for all of us and organisations are better if we stop doing the hustle.