Guest blog by Tricia Sportsman, SHRM-SCP
Enough is enough with hustle culture. Exhaustive working hours, accessible 24/7, grueling travel schedules, always saying “yes” to projects and rarely saying “no” has been glamorized for far too long. Add (young) kids to the mix and it is a familiar story of an overworked, unhealthy, and unsustainable imbalance of work and life.
This unwritten notion of hustling was something I experienced every day. First thing in the morning I already felt behind while trying to rush out the door; followed by back-to-back meetings. After a long day, calls on the way home would leave me sitting in the driveway for 20 minutes still trying to wrap up my day. I remember walking in the door feeling completely drained and devoid of patience. This daily routine leads to serious burnout.
The mass exit of women in the workplace has made it clear many are choosing to opt out.
Hustling has become this silent societal nod disguised as positive reinforcement that we are paying our dues to achieve success. Many proudly wear this invisible badge of honor signifying to the world they are busy. Instead of feeling like you’re crushing it or making progress, it becomes an endless quest for more and better.
The mass exit of women in the workplace has made it clear many are choosing to opt out. This impractical juggling of demanding work expectations and life is real. It often means not asking others for help or requesting a deadline extension for fear of being refused or seen as “less than” in the workplace.
And if that wasn’t enough, many women are paid less than their counterparts despite how hard we hustle. Not to mention the mental and physical strain it is creating. We must stop telling ourselves this narrative is acceptable. We must lead the change and encourage other women to create a healthy ebb and flow of hustle.
There are many silver linings of the past few years, including the realization of how unsustainable this lifestyle is. Feeling restored and fulfilled instead of complete burnout was eye-opening. We have been reminded to prioritize and make time for what is important. Creating less imbalance and a more realistic flow of work and life is possible.
Consider these practical tips to grow your career without feeling burnout:
- Growth, promotions, and leadership require hard work. It takes time to establish credibility and build relationships. There will be long hours but be hyper-aware of how it’s making you feel and impacting those around you.
- Set boundaries. Define what is priority and clearly establish expectations. It might be having a discussion with your boss or asking your child if their baseball game or PTA school night is more important for you to attend. Get clear on what are you willing to miss and what you aren’t. Be sure to calendar it all!
- Establish a healthy outlet to relieve stress. Find a hobby, join a gym, or simply get outside for a walk. Hustle culture tells us there isn’t time for these types of activities, but that’s false. We need time to expend pent up energy, clear our minds, and reset.
- Execute and deliver results. Plain and simple, you must produce results. This requires you to work smart, involve others, and maintain great communication up and down. You cannot grow a career without this.
Challenge yourself and others to stop falling victim to this false narrative of hustle culture. Life is short and we must dismantle it together.
Tricia Sportsman is a member of our Key Women’s Leadership Forum. She is a forward-thinking Executive People Leader. Tricia is passionate about supporting working moms and women’s development. She serves in the community on the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Tampa Bay Board of Trustees and as a volunteer mentor with Take Stock in Children. Follow her @theworkingmompursuit or connect with her on LinkedIn.