32 votes

Why Are Young People Pretending to Love Work?

17 comments

  1. [2]
    AnthonyB Link
    It's interesting to see how this new version of "work hard and it'll all be yours" has played out, and how only the most modest improvements to the work day have helped fortify this attitude. Back...

    It's interesting to see how this new version of "work hard and it'll all be yours" has played out, and how only the most modest improvements to the work day have helped fortify this attitude. Back in high school and college, everyone's biggest fear was working "some random meaningless desk job" like the ones we saw in Office Space or The Office. It's no surprise that the article focuses on WeWork and tech startups that boast fancy modern workspaces. The blue-gray carpet has been replaced by freshly buffed hardwood floors, the ceiling is ten feet higher and the tiles and fluorescent tubes have given way to soft, natural lighting, the watercooler and vending machines are now a snack bar and an assortment of chilled beverages, and the cubicle - the epitome of dead-end-middle-class-loserdom - has been scrapped for open workspaces, desks that you choose, and maybe a few bean bags because, fuck it, your job is cool. Even though it's basically the same work, it isn't a "boring desk job" because you get to wear cool clothes and rock a manbun. At the end of the day, it's the few modest improvements that help perpetuate this culture because hanging over everyone's head is the idea that the alternative is a cubicle at Dunder Mifflin or selling clothes at the mall.

    30 votes
    1. papasquat Link Parent
      Throw in a nice dash of appropriated hip hop/urban culture along with the imagery of larger than life entertainment stars using the same lingo, and you've indoctrinated a whole new class of...

      Throw in a nice dash of appropriated hip hop/urban culture along with the imagery of larger than life entertainment stars using the same lingo, and you've indoctrinated a whole new class of salarymen who all think what they're doing is cool and edgy.

      What the fuck is a hustle anyway? We're talking about people selling health insurance or writing code, not running confidence games on a street corner.

      7 votes
  2. [3]
    Gaywallet Link
    Those in power want to keep in power. So they feed you the idea that anyone can become rich and wealthy like they are while simultaneously making it much easier for them to stay rich and wealthy...

    Those in power want to keep in power. So they feed you the idea that anyone can become rich and wealthy like they are while simultaneously making it much easier for them to stay rich and wealthy off the backs of others.

    Is it surprising that this "hustle" culture is promoted through ad campaigns by corporate giants like Nike? That "hustle" culture is in our news, movies, and art? It's practically baked into the founding of America - this idea that some nobodies came over and started a new country that became the best in the world. Funny thing that pretty much all of our founding fathers were already extremely powerful people in Britain by the time they came to America.

    It's the same tagline that conservative ideologies use to justify reducing taxes. It sure would be nice for the average family in america to reduce their tax burden from the 20-30% they are seeing, but pay no attention to the capital gains tax rate or the fact that companies like GE are paying no taxes. Pay no attention to gigantic companies declaring bankruptcy and being bailed out by the government (especially those which our wonderful and infallible president himself started).

    "Hustle" culture is just yet another modern incarnation of the same idea that if you work hard somehow the world will smile upon you and instead of eliminating your position in the next re-org designed to lower a companies tax burden you will be promoted to a position which surely was not also eliminated in recognition of your hard work and efforts so that you can move into another tax bracket much higher than that of those with much more wealth than you. Don't worry, you'll make it no time.

    31 votes
    1. [2]
      patience_limited Link Parent
      Let's not neglect the good old-fashioned necessity of labor imposed by becoming a contractor, rather than an employee, which is what We work caters to. At worst, there are programmers and others...

      Let's not neglect the good old-fashioned necessity of labor imposed by becoming a contractor, rather than an employee, which is what We work caters to. At worst, there are programmers and others doing piece work and continually hustling to get more of it.

      WeWork might very well be operating clean, well-lighted sweatshops.

      10 votes
      1. Greg Link Parent
        I've personally found the opposite at WeWork - the majority of tenants seem to be startups, where the workers actually have stock options and share in the upside if things go well. Not to say that...

        I've personally found the opposite at WeWork - the majority of tenants seem to be startups, where the workers actually have stock options and share in the upside if things go well.

        Not to say that they're in any way immune to the "hustle" problem - I actually think they're probably the source of it. When you've got significant shares, there's at least some truth to saying "work like crazy and you'll reap the rewards". Of course, it doesn't account for burnout or work/life balance, but there some small kernel of truth there. That kernel is then exploited by the big businesses (despite being completely false in their situation) just as @Gaywallet said.

        7 votes
  3. [2]
    mrbig Link
    It's a requirement of capitalism. You must not only accept the oppression but also love the shackles.

    It's a requirement of capitalism. You must not only accept the oppression but also love the shackles.

    15 votes
    1. bike Link Parent
      I disagree. There were many periods of American capitalism, like the 1960s, during which times adults worked fewer hours than they do today. There are also other capitalist states, like France or...

      I disagree. There were many periods of American capitalism, like the 1960s, during which times adults worked fewer hours than they do today. There are also other capitalist states, like France or Norway, where adults work fewer hours than in the US.

      From this data I think we can say that the hustle culture are not a requirement of capitalism, but of the special breed of today's capitalism in America.

      11 votes
  4. [8]
    Comment deleted by author
    Link
    1. [6]
      Greg Link Parent
      So, what now? I really mean that. I agree with a lot of what you've said, but I've yet to figure out what to do about it.

      So, what now? I really mean that. I agree with a lot of what you've said, but I've yet to figure out what to do about it.

      4 votes
      1. [4]
        Comment deleted by author
        Link Parent
        1. Greg Link Parent
          It's particularly interesting to read this because it sounds like your views are so similar to my own - even to the extent that I also put a lot of stock in The Four Hour Work Week but still think...

          It's particularly interesting to read this because it sounds like your views are so similar to my own - even to the extent that I also put a lot of stock in The Four Hour Work Week but still think Ferriss is an ass!

          I'm definitely somewhat prone to wallowing at the "none of it means anything" point, and one thing you've definitely helped to remind me is to try to say fuck it, and just invent some meaning. It doesn't matter if it isn't "real" as long as has a positive impact, either on oneself or on others.

          Thank you for taking the time to post - it's helpful to discuss these things, even if just as a reminder of how many of us are in the same boat.

          3 votes
        2. bike Link Parent
          I like the idea of minimalism. Reduce your consumption. Most consumption is mindless. In certain areas (say, wine or music) move away from minimalism but do so mindfully, focusing on the enjoyment...

          I like the idea of minimalism. Reduce your consumption. Most consumption is mindless. In certain areas (say, wine or music) move away from minimalism but do so mindfully, focusing on the enjoyment that the thing brings.

          2 votes
        3. Nitta Link Parent
          What you said feel familiar. And so many people follow those busy lifestyles. The older most people I know become the more busy they are.

          What you said feel familiar. And so many people follow those busy lifestyles. The older most people I know become the more busy they are.

      2. [2]
        bike Link Parent
        I recommend going to your local library and checking out "Bowling Alone" by Putnam. Forage for information in its various chapters. I do not know how to lead a purposeful life. But Putnam explains...

        I recommend going to your local library and checking out "Bowling Alone" by Putnam. Forage for information in its various chapters. I do not know how to lead a purposeful life. But Putnam explains how leisure among neighbors, community engagement, and civic participation are all declining in most people's lives (mine included). I think reversing this decline is one step to fixing our social malaise.

        3 votes
        1. Greg Link Parent
          That sounds like an excellent read, thank you; it's now next on my non-fiction list.

          That sounds like an excellent read, thank you; it's now next on my non-fiction list.

          2 votes
    2. Atvelonis Link Parent
      I very much agree with your comment as far as the general public is concerned—but I think it's important to note that there are a lot of people who have self-actualized to a great enough extent...

      I very much agree with your comment as far as the general public is concerned—but I think it's important to note that there are a lot of people who have self-actualized to a great enough extent that I would consider them to be above this collective existential crisis. I certainly don't claim to be one of them, but I aim to be, and I know a few people who have a beautiful balance between work and life.

      I suppose one of my main hobbies is helping to maintain an wiki, which naturally requires some programming. This ties into my intended degree in university (computer science), but I always try to remember that one of the reasons I'm pursuing this field is because of the creative applications for it on places like that, not solely for a job.

      More broadly, I've ensured that I will never allow myself to fall victim to this ridiculous "live to work" ideology by pursuing a wide variety of interests, most of which are absolutely unrelated to any professional aspirations: fencing, dancing, literature, poetry, film, etc. I like STEM, I like the humanities, I like pretty much anything that's interesting. I don't box myself into a stereotypical characterization of a computer science major that some of my classmates mistakenly do to themselves.

      I think that if more people recognized the value in exploring hobbies and other interests in this way, they would be much, much less inclined to perceive work as the One True Goal in life!

      4 votes
  5. Octofox Link
    The examples in the article are quite dystopian but I think the other comments are a little alarmist. I work as a programmer full time (~8 hours a day) and I'm not pretending to love what I do. I...

    The examples in the article are quite dystopian but I think the other comments are a little alarmist. I work as a programmer full time (~8 hours a day) and I'm not pretending to love what I do. I genuinely find it to be fun work and the people I interact with are positive and knowledgeable. Before having a job I wrote code for fun in my free time so now I just get paid for it.

    Sure, I would rather be sitting on the beach on some resort but we can't all be doing that every day. In fact I think if I did do it every day it would lose its charm.

    Sure I acknowledge that I have things better than some others but the comments here act like if you don't hate every minute of working then you have been brainwashed by big corporate. Working does not have to be a terrible thing.

    4 votes
  6. icey Link
    I see this every day at school as an 18 year old - a large number of my peers are locked into this mindset that the only way to succeed in life is through "the hustle", relentlessly chasing "the...

    the concept of productivity has taken on an almost spiritual dimension

    I see this every day at school as an 18 year old - a large number of my peers are locked into this mindset that the only way to succeed in life is through "the hustle", relentlessly chasing "the dream" and throwing themselves full force into an entirely unsustainable way of living. I shouldn't have friends locking themselves in their rooms all weekend and blocking out any human contact just to 'get on their grind' and 'chase the dream' - all that's happening is they're harming themselves, and setting themselves up for disappointment and failure when they simply can't maintain this way of living without causing serious harm to their mental (and physical) health.

    1 vote
  7. demifiend Link
    Most young people in the US were raised like veal and don't have the backbone to rebel in any meaningful fashion. Especially after the way #OccupyWallStreet was crushed. (Thanks, Obama.)

    Most young people in the US were raised like veal and don't have the backbone to rebel in any meaningful fashion. Especially after the way #OccupyWallStreet was crushed. (Thanks, Obama.)

    1 vote