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Hustle Culture Vultures

Hustle Culture Vultures


“Hustle culture” has become a popular term to refer to the exploitation that comes with contemporary lifestyles, or more accurately, to the lifestyle of the average person in the United States. Hustle culture begins in adolescence, when young people are expected to take up one or more jobs to support themselves financially, instead of developing their own personal creative or physical projects. This is the start of the journey of hustle culture in the US, and the ensuing steps in the path are an attempt to escape the deathtrap of working low-quality minimum wage jobs, by going to university and then finding a high-quality stable job. But at the end of the path the exploitation remains entirely the same.

How hustle culture spreads

The trend throughout the world is that companies and employers prefer to have a lot of potential candidates for positions rather than remain loyal to a small group of workers. By having positions with a lower degree of permanence, they can increase competition for those positions and continually find workers who demand less or that can contribute more hours. In other words, the cost of loyalty and stability increases each day, and benefit of fickleness is higher than ever.

In the jobs where loyalty and permanence are highly valued, where the more experienced staff are compensated the most like doctors and engineers, these workers are milked to the last cent they have in them. In the US, vacation days and sick leave days are few and far between, and you are expected to contribute highly every day to ensure that you cannot be replaced. Even in less individualistic countries like Spain where I live, workers have to do more than their job asks of them to make their company happy. Every day it seems easier to be replaced by a company, and more is required of the worker for their sustenance.

The cheapening of our identity

Now, the problem with this is not that “overworking” is bad. Part of the reality of human beings is that we have an innate function that is to work, to have a unique purpose in our collective, to provide for our own in a way that no one else can. And of course, there will be times in all of our lives where we will have to work when it is the last thing we want to do, because that is what it means to strive towards a greater goal of providing – it means to sacrifice. However, what is insidious about this new reality is that it seems that our purpose is imposed on us instead of chosen through our individual free will. On some level, our purpose is always imposed. We have a set of skills that we can develop, based on cards we are dealt throughout our lives. But at the end of the day the path that we choose is our own and we are the masters of our journey, but being part of a company feels like a denial of this property. We are workers that adapt to what companies need, rather than choosers of how we want to provide. And I can closely foresee the future where it is a handful of companies deciding what we all do as our purpose, where we are almost completely indistinguishable from each other – in the most insidious way possible.

The best way to contribute to your own development and provide for those close to you is to not be part of a company. Find a way to make your own skills and products valuable for others. Create and find value in what you create. Go through your own journey instead of the one provided for you. You might fail many times until you get there, but you will be your own master by the end.

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