Adulting, College Life, Health & Wellness, Mental Health, Self care

Is Hustle Culture Dead Or Are Zillennials Simply Tired Of Barely Scraping By?

is hustle culture dead?

This article was written by The Zillennial Zine’s fall editorial intern Jess Newman. Find her on Instagram at @_jess_n_. If you would like to share an article with The Zillennial, send us an email at

Everyone today has to hustle and work their butt off only to live paycheck to paycheck. In almost every job, there is no such thing as work-life balance and companies are having a hard time retaining employees. No one wants to work 18-hour days for minimum wage. Does this mean hustle culture is dead? The economy is only getting worse and companies aren’t willing to take care of their employees. Zillennials are trying to break the toxic cycle because we don’t want to hustle if we can’t enjoy life outside of work.

What is hustle culture?

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According to, “hustle culture is when a workplace environment places an intense focus on productivity, ambition, and success, with little regard for rest, self-care, or any sense of work-life balance.” This lifestyle gained popularity in pre-pandemic years because people were trying to achieve their goals faster. Everyone wants to be more efficient, but hustle culture is a great way to end up being burntout from all of the extra anxiety and stress. With hustle culture, there is no such thing as work-life balance and that is super toxic. Being burnt out mentally can lead to physical exhaustion as well.

Is COVID-19 to blame?

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A lot of companies like to blame COVID for the reason why they continuously find themselves to be short-staffed and overworking their employees. In my personal opinion, I don’t believe this to be true. Before the pandemic, every company I worked for only wanted to use and abuse me. Every time I showed up for a shift I would have to prepare myself for when I would be asked to stay a few more hours. Yes, I could have simply said no but every time I denied staying I could feel my job security slowly slipping away. Some managers I’ve had to work for would make condescending remarks that I wasn’t a team player or my favorite, “Where else do you have to be?” COVID only compounded the problems that were already present. 

Lazy or setting healthy boundaries?

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I can speak for pretty much all of us when I say it’s not that we are lazy, we are actually exhausted. Not only did companies abuse us pre-pandemic, but with the economy being absolutely insane now they are abusing us and we are barely making enough money to pay the bills. Even with all the crazy hours we are working.

As many of you know from reading my past articles I have POTS. When I was working for a very well-known company that sold soap and candles, I had to present my boss with a letter from my doctor because she was notorious for not letting us take our breaks. Even with a doctor’s letter saying I NEEDED to take my breaks for my health, do you think I was able to take breaks? The answer is no, no I was not. Myself and 3 other employees reported her to HR for this and a lot of things including sexual harassment (that’s another story). NOTHING was done about it. Our cries for help were simply ignored and that’s when I learned that if you don’t stick up for yourself no one else will.

Zillennials are tired of being asked to go above and beyond for companies that could care less about our well-being. During the pandemic, we got a taste of work-life balance by working from home. When 5 o’clock rolled around we could log off, walk away and continue on with our lives. Now that companies are demanding that we come back to the office, we are pushing back and they are calling us lazy. According to Dr. Laurie Santos, “You need sleep, you need rest and you need connection with other people” to be happy. Those are the things that are going to matter.” With the pandemic and everything that came with it, everyone was reminded how valuable life is. Zillennials are embracing work-life balance because you can’t take money to the grave.

Is hustle culture dead? Yes, and I believe we hold the power right now. Companies are facing really hard times and some are having to shut down. If they don’t treat us right, all we have to do is quit and they have no leg to stand on. The more we all challenge the toxic hustle culture, the more things will need to be reassessed. Then hopefully companies will HAVE to acknowledge our worth by paying us adequately and respecting how valuable our time is. 

What do you think? Should we keeping hustling? Let us know in the comments below!

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