I’m not a ranter, lord no. Usually this only occurs after forgetting I took my medication for the day and downing 4 shots. It’s about time someone said it – this “Rise and Grind” mentality is complete and utter bullshit. Books like, “What I wish I knew when I was 20,” and “The Art of the Hustle,” movies like The Wolf of Wall Street, Elon Musk, the entire Paypal Mafia, social media influencers, LinkedIn… all designed to make us believe we’re supposed to work 80 hour weeks; not to achieve wealth, not to feed ourselves, and not to gain prestige, but because we… like it?
I went to a University in undergrad where the majority of the population was either dedicated to the week of booze, or the “rise and grind” mentality. As a person who’s been caught in the middle of both, I sit firmly with my bottle of Three Olives Vodka and Champagne trying to figure out how the Protestant Work Ethic started “trending.”
Look, don’t get me wrong – I think hard work is necessary. It builds character, makes you appreciate the things you have, and gives you a sense of satisfaction. However, I think that dedicating your entire being to some polo wearing tech mogul, or suit and tie Gen Xer, just so you can shout to the mountaintops “Look how much I can do,” “Look who I work for,” is the dumbest thing anyone can do. Competing to work the most hours and get the most done is an exercise in vanity. It’s self-congratulatory cognitive dissonance because guess what… YOU’RE BEING RIPPED OFF!
Of course, there has always been status in the business world. Who earned the most money, worked at the best law/marketing firm, and had the most high profile clients. Fancy suits, blinged out watches, ego stroking dinner parties, highballs, trophy wives. But you know what? People actually enjoyed having those things. Labors bore fruits!
The millennial late nights, schmoozing, excuse me “networking,” and canceled date nights just amount to knock-off designer wear and drinking wine out of a box while sitting in a shitty studio apartment huddled in front of a laptop for 18-plus hours.
Fuck that. I want bottle service, I want grapes fed to me, I want my own stable of women to pretend they live me for my yacht a la Dan Bilzerian. Okay, that last one was a bit of over the top satire, but you get the idea.
The point here is not to put in less effort, revolt against capitalism (I mean, that might be a good idea at this point…), or to quit life and live out of a van eating canned creamed corn and washing your hair in the river. The point that I am belaboring however is this, work smarter (not harder), take some time for yourself – learn how to say no. This means, if you know something is too much for you, like it will literally put you in the hospital, do not do it. Your mental, and physical, health is way more important. And finally, don’t be afraid to ask, no demand, that if you’re working off the clock and giving up valuable time that could be spent hiking, playing video games, writing a book, or coding your own app, then you should be rewarded.
This post was inspired by the article, “Why Are Young People Pretending to Love Work?,” which sadly enough is still relevant even in the midst of a global “I Am Legend” Pandemic: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/26/business/against-hustle-culture-rise-and-grind-tgim.html