Have you taken your hustling too far, only to suffer the consequences? Here are the signs that you need to calm your shit.
As someone who’s spent years working for companies where the average age is mid-twenties, running an office at the age of 21, taking on four positions simultaneously without any increase in income, I know how competitive the workplace can be.
Millennials, including me, can be fucking terrifying once they have a clear goal and a hint of motivation.
I remember last year I was sneaking into the office at 6am to get a head start on the day, only to find a fellow manager standing by the coffee machine, shaky fingers counting something on his phone.
“Good morning, what’s up?” I asked, slightly annoyed that I wasn’t the first one to show up.
After a few seconds he looked up at me with red eyes and a look of excitement as he exclaimed “47! It’s been 47 days since I had a day off and that day it was only because I was driving ten hours to get to the head office, so technically that doesn’t count!”
I stared at him in shock, unsure of what to say, making a mental note to not take Sunday off.
“How amazing is that!” he yelled, eyes lit up with excitement and pride, hands still shaking as he pushed the button for another coffee.
Welcome to the millennial workplace where someone will always manage to out-crazy your workaholic ass.
Fast forward a year and everyone I knew then has either quit or had a nervous breakdown (or two) and learned some really valuable lessons on what not to do.
So here’s four signs that you are hustling way too hard and it’s not going to end well.
#1 The Mindset Of “I Can Do Anything I Put My Mind To”
Hah, bet you didn’t see that one coming.
This is possibly one of the most detrimental beliefs that I see in the workplace all the time.
I’m not talking about employees simply having a healthy sense of confidence, I’m talking about people genuinely thinking they can do anything they put their mind to, to the point where they’ll take on the impossible only to blame themselves for not succeeding.
“You want me to recruit 70 guys by the end of the quarter? Hell, let’s make it by the end of the week!”
No. Let’s not.
#2 You View Delegating Tasks As A Sign Of Weakness
Especially once you are in a management position, delegating tasks is one of the most valuable skills you’ll have. It’s also the one we never talk about.
In many workplaces, delegation is a word only used by upper management to make a point clear.
They’ll ask you to do something, you hesitate, and they reply with “Of course we can delegate this further if you’re incapable of getting it done.”
“NO!” you scream, making a mental note of never hesitating again.
But when it comes to delegating tasks, you’re not only giving yourself more time to focus on the remaining tasks, but you’re giving another person a sense of being trusted, building their confidence, and promoting growth.
You’re promoting productivity within the entire team, and developing new competencies among your employees along the way.
I know, I know, I can already hear your arguments.
“But I actually enjoy doing it myself, I really do!”
I don’t care.
“But they’re not ready for this responsibility”
Yes, they are.
“But they don’t deserve all this extra work, I’ll take care of it so they can go home”
Fun fact: most people want to grow.
“It’s fine, it’ll get done a lot quicker if I just do it myself”
Yes, and your business will stagnate.
My point is that if you don’t give people opportunities to grow, they’ll find it outside of your company. There’s no shame in being efficient.
#3 “Everything Will Improve Once I Get The Next Promotion”
Let me start this one off by saying that you deserve to be compensated for the work you do.
There is a time and place for working for free (internships, first freelance job), but if your company is letting your managers go and giving you their responsibilities, then you deserve the income as well.
I know this is a difficult one because a lot of bosses will offer you the opportunity to prove that you’re capable of doing the job, and you’ll take it because that means you’ll be first in line for the promotion.
But when it’s been a year and you’re secretly sleeping in the office at night just to make it work, then it’s time to stand up for yourself and make some demands.
Either they’ll make it clear that if you don’t do it someone else will, or they’ll find a solution that fits you both.
Regardless, you deserve to be compensated for the work you do.
The biggest warning sign is when you’re being completely exploited at work and still protecting them when people confront you about not asking for that raise.
#4 Physical Symptoms Give You A Sense Of Accomplishment
Yes, you heard me.
When you get to the point of wearing your dark circles with a sense of pride because it shows that you haven’t slept in four days, it’s time to snap out of it.
Read: Signs You’re Headed For A Work Burnout
I’ve personally overworked myself to the point where I was covered in bruises and my boss thought I’d been a victim of attack, but really I was just deficient in pretty much everything that keeps you alive.
And that guy who didn’t take a day off for 47 days? He developed a permanent eye-twitch and a year later was diagnosed with bordeline suicidal tendencies.
But in the moment it gave us a sense of pride, a sense of fighting for something bigger than us.
We’d share success stories about our Sales Director, back when he was a trainee he once puked while talking to a customer and went back and finished the sale.
Now THAT’S dedication!
No, that’s stupid.
For a while I also held the record for most amount of hours of heart rate in cardio zone, fifteen hours and seventeen minutes, and I was standing still the entire day.
A few months later one of the girls I was training for management ended up with over sixteen hours in one day.
We celebrated with tequila at 3am and returned to the office at 6am.
Can we all agree that looking back, this is stupid?
Ok, thank you.
My point with all of this is that we are glamorizing “hustling” to the point of negatively impacting our careers. Yes, it’s fun to push the limits, yes, we all want to be successful and great and amazing at what we do.
We all want to be that person who worked day and night and shocked the world, the twenty year old CEO, the rising star, the MVP four months in a row, but it’s far too easy to lose perspective in the process.
I hope that if any of you recognize yourselves in these points, then you take a God damn vacation and reevaluate.
I know I’m going to make many changes moving forward, and learn from these experiences to make sure future employees are taken care of.