The Rise Of Anti-hustle Culture

The pandemic slowed on-the-go, overworked, grind-till-you-get-tired hustlers. We are witnessing a wave of anti-hustle culture in the year of great resignation. Will 2022 bring new work-life patterns for wellbeing?

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By Nona Walia


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There's a brewing backlash against the hustle culture. Anti-hustlers on the rise have triggered a movement against hyperwork, rise, grind and overwork in the pandemic. The cult of hustlers is getting smaller in the era of the great resignation around the globe. The growing disquiet and unease in the hustlers club was highlighted as people opted out of overworked corporate life. The world witnessed a quiet rebellion against the culture that gave no work-life balance and believed if you snooze, you lose and other workaholic mantras that worshipped the cult of overwork. The commodification of time and energy made everyone feel they constantly needed to sell themselves. Social media made it worse, competition became fiercer as everyone felt--who we are, or what we do--is never enough.

As the pandemic quarantines created work breaks, people paused and reflected. We saw a tidal wave of resignations. Those who loved being over-busy "work martyrs", asked questions, and opted out of the rat race. Saying 'I Quit' became the new mantra. The constant capital pursuit was exhausting. Everyone was rethinking the current work culture. Says Bhavik Vasa, Founder & CEO, GetVantage, "We realized that life is fragile. Where does the hustle and rat race get us? The silver-lining that emerged gave us an opportunity for a choice to define a new normal for ourselves -- our own future. The optimist in me is confident the year ahead 2022 will settle toward more blissful, anti-hustle, slower life choices. As we all bounce back, we are witnessing many resets differently with a conscious choice for an alternative, less-hustle lifestyle."

With the pandemic ravaged year 2021 soon coming to a closure, we look at 2022, to be more mindful and not falling for hustle culture's trappings. Experts expect a wave of anti-hustle movement. The pandemic is making people set new benchmarks for life choices. The world that was constantly moving faster, is slowing down. According to Psychology Today, "If you've fallen prey to the hustle culture, you have bought into the idea that it's cool to be "always-on". You boast about no breaks. Experts warn against this kind of culture, as studies now show that you're cutting your career short with burnout, slowly destroying your mental and physical health."

While anti-hustlers believe in inner well-being and health, they want to make "rise, glow and shine" a priority over "rise, grind and overwork." Says entrepreneur Aditi Balbir, "The idea of slow living is catching on, millennials and Gen Z-ers don't want to join the rat race for capitalism. We see it in the travel space, where people want the chance to experience life, connect with nature and the locals. The world is making choices towards well-being and personal sustainability. The glow comes with living right."

The anti-hustle club doesn't believe in collective urge to work harder, stronger, faster. They want to live better and healthier. Adds Vasa, "The culture of busy is being replaced by culture of slow. This is only a reminder and time to appreciate the Slow-Movement" (slow-food, slow fashion, slow-cooking). The concept of Wu Wei highlights the importance of 'non-doing'. Not to be confused with laziness, 'non-doing' is the art of swimming with the current rather than against it. For long, humans have "sprinted fast" to change things, fix things, disrupt things. I think this is a time to Go with the Flow."

The intolerance of hustle stems from the fact that hustlers are on a relentless treadmill of chasing the next big project, the next big job title, the next big project. Ruth Newton, the founder of the Anti-Hustle Project believes hustle culture shows up at the gym, in the office, in personal development. Nicole Purvy, entrepreneur, podcaster, and author of book The AntiHustle writes, " The hustle culture is focused on the amount of work and sacrifices you're making to be successful. We need to change the mindset and find new ways of working things, because what you do will never be enough."

There's a reason #antiwork movement has replaced the hustle culture. With the great resignation accelerating, it will cause a revolution in worker expectations, how we work, what we want from work. The tide is turning against the glamour of overwork and grind. The perspective is shifting. Those pursuing the anti-hustle movement are trying to find new ways of living and working to be happy in future.

Nona Walia

Journalist and Writer

Nona Walia is a successful journalist and writer. She’s the author of The Art of Mental Toughness: Survival Lessons from the Pandemic. A motivational expert, she is passionate about helping people live their lives in the best possible way. A wellness warrior and a wellness blogger, Walia has done certified online course on Science of Well-Being from the Yale University. She runs a Wellness Channel on YouTube. She has worked with The Times of India for 24 years as a Senior Assistant Editor and is also the acclaimed writer of many articles for Thrive Global.

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