Hard work pays off. That’s what we’re always told as we go through school, apply for jobs and navigate our careers. If our goal is to one day be successful, we must work as hard as we can to achieve our goals. This is the hustle culture we’re participating in today.
To an extent, there’s value in working hard. Your peers will appreciate your efforts, others’ perception of you may fall in a positive direction and you likely care about the work you do. However, there is much more value in creating a healthy balance between your personal and professional life that will actually benefit your career over time.
We view our careers as a sprint
Depending on when you began working and when you plan to retire, your career may span over 40-50 years. That’s a long time to be arriving at work early, leaving late, not taking enough vacation time and over-extending yourself altogether. Investing in your personal life will invest in the longevity of your ability to perform on the job. Allowing yourself to rest will keep you charged and steady while helping you avoid mistakes, stay creative/innovative and contribute to your teams as your career evolves.
We’ve forgotten to make time for ourselves
A person who practices work-life balance sets boundaries between their work and personal life. At 5:00, they do their best to shut their computer down and cease work for the remainder of the day, allowing themselves to focus on any and all things related to their personal lives. Many people in today’s work world strive to have a work-life balance which allows them a set amount of time each day to work and play.
Someone who practices work-life integration does the opposite. They aim to weave their work and personal lives together. This may look like taking time to answer emails in the evening to get ahead before the following day, frequently leaving work early or coming in late due to family obligations or scheduling meetings outside of regular work hours.
There are pros and cons to both work styles. Work-life balance will keep you structured in your personal and professional lives while work-life integration provides you with the flexibility to handle obligations on both ends of the spectrum. Alternatively, a balance may not always be achievable depending on your job and integration may mean you never come down from the stress of the work day. It’s up to you and your employer to decide which one is right for you and how to divide your time evenly.
We are all at risk of burnout
Working too hard can put you at risk of burnout. Burnout is defined as a state of exhaustion – mental, emotional and physical – caused by an overwhelming amount of stress. It can show up in the way you interact with your peers, your level of concentration at work, your sleep among other parts of your life.
Burnout occurs when you are not attentive to your own needs as a human being before the needs of your company. Hustle culture can accentuate the possibility. In the short term, it can seem easy to keep burnout at bay. You focus on your work and distract yourself from your needs all while telling yourself that working hard will pay off in the long-run. So, the consequences of allowing yourself to experience burnout affect your personal and professional life and will cause your satisfaction and productivity levels to dwindle over time. Methods for combating burnout can include physical exercise, restful activities, getting enough sleep…all things that require prioritizing self-care above your company’s most immediate needs.
We believe taking care of ourselves means neglecting work
When the flight attendant walks passengers through the safety demonstration at the beginning of each flight, they always tell you to put your own oxygen mask on before helping someone else. That’s because you truly cannot take care of others until your own needs are met.
The same is true for contributing to your company. Taking care of yourself is one method of prioritizing your company’s long-term goals over their immediate needs. Brian Scudamore, founder of 1-800-GOT-JUNK? said it best:
In my opinion, hustle culture has missed the point of what work is all about. It’s not about spending every ounce of brain power to #riseandgrind. To me, being the last person in and the last person out doesn’t prove your worth. There’s something to be said for knowing your limits and having the freedom to take a break.
We’ve forgotten what a good vacation feels like and so have our employers
Studies show that taking vacation time is actually good for your career. Not only are you putting a healthy barrier between you and work while you focus on other things or take time to yourself, but you are also letting your team know what it’s like to miss you. When you are on vacation you are delegating important tasks and instructing those around you how to handle your job should something timely come up in your absence. This will give your team and potentially your supervisor a small taste of what it’s like to operate without you and the amount of responsibility you’ve taken on in your role.
More to Life
The bottom line is, there’s more to life than work. As a human being, you have needs and wants that you will have to satisfy to be successful in all areas of life. So, if the hustle culture impacts you, be mindful in your work, be intentional in your personal life and make time for both as needed.
Thanks for this post go to our friend, Haley Kieser of Investis Digital.