In the age of LinkedIn updates, side jobs, and packed Google calendars, the world has become obsessed with go-getters. Society loves to praise the young professional who works a 9 to 5, runs an Etsy shop on the side, and leads a committee while they’re at it. While these hustlers certainly can be inspirational and motivating, it’s important to remember that by the end of the day, we all need a break. Hustle culture can push us to pursue a mountain of responsibilities, but I’m here to tell you that it’s completely okay not to.
Having recently taken on two jobs, a spot on GVSU’s student-run PR firm, and a PRSSA executive board position, I’ve fallen victim to the pressures of hustle culture myself. However, with that being said, I know how important it is to reevaluate your time commitments, take professional breaks, and celebrate your personal wins. By taking note of the following tips, hopefully you can begin to effectively combat hustle culture in your own life.
Ask Yourself: Am I Happy in This Role?
Life is too short to spend time on responsibilities that you don’t enjoy. Just because something may look good on your resume, it doesn’t mean that you have to pursue it. When you take on a new job, hobby, or professional commitment, consider the value it brings to your life. If you’re dreading each day spent in a role, maybe it’s time to leave it behind. Nothing in life is permanent, and you’re never completely “stuck” somewhere, even if it might feel that way sometimes. Simply reminding yourself that you alone have control over the responsibilities you take on can be a pretty freeing feeling.
Carve Out Strict Personal Time
It’s time to be as strict about taking breaks as you are with making your 9 a.m. meetings. If you don’t set aside specific periods of time for mental health breaks, personal hobbies, or outings with loved ones, they don’t always happen. It’s easy to push “unnecessary” tasks to the side, so it’s important to start seeing your personal enjoyments as a valuable addition to your calendar. Once you’re intentional about taking a walk or giving yourself 30 minutes to read a book, you’ll begin to naturally incorporate those fun, personal activities into your daily routine.
Don’t Play the Comparison Game
We’ve all seen them before: the LinkedIn profiles that utterly put our own to shame. Living in the world of social media, we can easily compare ourselves to those around us. When you see someone’s new job update or their involvement in an exciting project, it can be tempting to compare their accomplishments to your own. A spark of professional jealousy can result in a sudden need to register for three new clubs or restructure your entire resume. But, we all know how the comparison game ends: no one ever wins. There’s always going to be someone who’s doing more, so the best thing you can do is say congratulations and embrace the life you lead.
If I’ve learned anything from balancing responsibilities as a young professional, it’s that success is not one size fits all. You have to take life at your own pace, appreciating every step of your individual journey. Hustle culture will always pressure you to do more, be better, and shoot for the stars – but, if you just want to shoot for the clouds, that’s fine too. Once you learn to step back from the professional world for a moment, taking time for a cup of coffee or a yoga session, your mind and body will thank you.
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