A fluorescent sign that has the likes symbol from Instagram.

Aided by the amplification through social media, “hustle porn” encourages unhealthy work habits 

C/O Prateek Katyal on Unsplash

By: Kimia Tahaei, Contributor

Social media has definitely been fruitful in the past decade with influencers sharing their expertise, educating others and promoting positivity. However, some influencers, such as Gary Vaynerchuck, advocate for “hustle porn.” A freshly coined phrase, “hustle porn” refers to the fetishization of extremely long working hours in the entrepreneurial world.

Influencers such as Vaynerchuck, the “self-made” entrepreneur millionaire and internet personality, have taken social media by storm by yelling words of “encouragement” at their cameras. I assume there is an adrenaline rush in recording yourself and demanding your followers to quit their “normal” jobs. Although there is absolutely nothing wrong with following your passions and leaving your day job behind, individuals shouldn’t be pushed to this decision because of influencers.

Although there is absolutely nothing wrong with following your passions and leaving your day job behind, individuals shouldn’t be pushed to this decision because of influencers. 

Influencers often use manipulative tactics such as showing off their wealth in the background and making false generalized claims to push their relatively young audience to leave academia behind in pursuit of entrepreneurship and business. Vaynerchuck also often forgets to mention how he built off his empire based on his parents’ $3 million wine company. 

Such important details often go unmentioned and all we see is the money raining over a Bugatti in a 15-second Instagram post. Time and again, this embarrassing boast is followed by wanting their naive followers to sign up for a business class or buy a marketing book of theirs.

I wonder if there are any pure intentions of wanting others to actually succeed behind these books and classes or if the focus is more so on developing another source of income? In addition, they encourage a strangely unhealthy lifestyle that is detrimental to one’s mental health.

Instead of promoting a “grind-like” lifestyle, influencers need to realize that continual hard work is not necessarily the answer and it can result in drastic mental exhaustion. As if this wasn’t enough, influencers like Vaynerchuck also encourage individuals in their 20s to completely leave behind any sort of leisure and relaxation.

Surely since Vaynerchuck spent his twenties “grinding”, he now has time to relax in his mid-forties and read Bertrand Russell’s short essay, “In Praise of Idleness.” 

Russell argues that “[l]eisure is essential to civilization.” Not only does he claim that leisure is a necessity, but he also elaborates on the production upsurge that can be achieved through a reduced workforce. According to the British philosopher, if half of the population is overworking themselves, then the others are most likely unemployed.

However, if everybody contributes a normal work time to their community, the quality of everyone’s lifestyle will improve and people can enjoy “time to be civilized.” 

The truth is, the workaholic “grinding” lifestyle is not designed for everyone. Leaving a stable job and a university education behind is a risk not many can and should take. Nothing against risks because they can be great at certain points in life, but the glorification of it can lead to irreversible damages. The entrepreneurial “leaving university” lifestyle isn’t a universally good choice that anyone with motivation can follow through with.

The truth is, the workaholic “grinding” lifestyle is not designed for everyone. Leaving a stable job and a university education behind is a risk not many can and should take.

Studies have shown that a university education is valuable and the value of a degree is annually growing. Ultimately, life shouldn’t be defined by a masochistic obsession of unremittingly wanting to push yourself forward, so don’t let these wannabe “economists” define your worth by your work hours.

Give yourself frequent breaks, gift yourself when you need to and don’t spend your 20s locked up in your room (well, at least after COVID is over). Enjoy trips, sneakers and fun events as much you can and don’t get intimidated by hustle porn’s senseless mantra. Following your passion doesn’t mean sacrificing everything for it.

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