Goodbye Hustle Culture, Hello Human Culture

Blog posts


What is hustle culture? 

Hustle culture is the trend that overworking is the only way to work, and that productivity in all hours of the day is a sign of success. It’s the lifestyle choice of chasing maximum profit at any opportunity and it is time spent working rather than living. The belief that more is always better. You can see it everywhere. From neon signs telling you to ‘work hard, play hard’, to your fav influencer snapping their morning coffee with the hashtags #riseandgrind, #girlboss and #hustleneverstops.

Where did hustle culture come from? 

A hangover from the buy buy buy, sell sell sell ethos of the 70s and early 80s, a time of huge economic growth and success across the business sector. Companies grew exponentially in size and wealth and the market got a taste for big sums and bigger paychecks. Employees were encouraged to work harder and harder. This coupled with a big lurch in technology automating everyday tasks meant, technically, humans had more time to do more and achieve more.

Fast forward a few years and several financial crises and the fashions may have disappeared (RIP shoulder pads and brick phones) but the attitude towards work and the workplace largely stayed. Instead of technology allowing us to take more time off work and allowing the minutiae of the day-to-day to be achieved by machines, the powers that be took it as a sign that we should be doing more.


The Backlash 

Being ensconced at home with laptops in makeshift work spaces for the best part of 2 years, allowed us to question the stark reality of hustle culture. Sure, work’s important. But not at the expense of happiness! Wars, financial crashes, global pandemic and (insert Terrible Thing here) we’re now in the early 2020s, and frankly, hustle culture is wearing a bit thin.


The rise of Quiet Quitting

Coined by TikTok users, the concept of quiet quitting doesn’t involve actually quitting. It calls for workers to eschew the concept of ‘above and beyond’ and instead ‘work your wage’. To prioritise life. To quietly quit is to create an identity outside of work, pursue personal hobbies and decline extra tasks or work outside of paid hours. It’s a very direct f*** you to years of hustle culture.

How to reflect on your own hustle culture

At Gather Round, we are lucky enough to have a community of creatives who all enjoy what they do. It’s exciting to be around such an inspiring group of professionals, who prove that it’s possible to achieve so much without neglecting their own happiness and well-being. Being productive is about more than working hard, long hours. It’s about working smarter, and carving out time for reflection and inspiration, too.

It’s pretty common for freelancers to blur the boundaries of the professional and the personal, but if this is creating unhealthy habits then it could be time to take a step back and think about your own attitude to work. Here’s our mini guide to help:

1) Write your own success story. Take a moment to reflect on what success looks like to you; what you are willing to work hard for at the expense of your personal happiness? Write down a day in the life of a successful person, and see if it matches your own goals.

2) Self-care isn’t just for the rich and famous. Looking after yourself is a priority. Start simple; make sure you get the sleep you need and do the things your body craves. From lying down and binge-watching a new show to a night out with friends; do the things that make you happy.

3) The age-old adage of ‘do what you love and love what you do’ may have been a little overused but it still applies. Freelancers, do an audit of your working day and remove that which does not work for you. This won’t be an overnight job and may involve delegation and restructuring of your offering but the long-term benefits will be huge.