The Canceling of Hustle Culture…Who is Right?

I have a confession to make. As an entrepreneur, terms such asthe great resignation, quiet quitting, and the canceling of hustle culture really made me angry, at least initially. They are the opposite of everything I have ever known to be the recipe for success. Everything I have ever done in my life to overachieve and to get to where I am at today. Everything I have ever preached to my sons: Show up early, do more than anyone else, give more in every situation, don’t keep score, be loyal, and always play the long game.

I didn’t want to be judgmental and jump on the younger generations are entitled and lazy bandwagon. I wanted to figure out what the logic was behind all of this, especially the mindset of the younger generations (Millennials and Gen Zs). I am by nature an optimist, an idealist. So, I started to research, which included a lot of reading, listening to podcasts, watching videos, and asking a lot of questions. And as with anything explored with an open mind, I started seeing how and why the younger employees think and feel the way they do.

Maybe the Younger Generations Get It, and We Were Wrong

Here is a snippet from what one of my favorite podcasters, Scott Galloway wrote in a great piece called Advice to Grads: Be Warriors, Not Wokesters

“Don’t do what you are asked to do, but what you are capable of doing…Get strong, really strong. You should be able to walk into a room and believe you could overpower, outrun, or outlast every person in the room…take as much of this energy and time for the next couple of years and reallocate that human capital to three things: work, relationships, and fitness…Balance is a myth. There are only trade-offs. Having balance at my age is a function of lacking it at your age.”

I love and agree 100% with what Galloway said. Especially this part: “Having balance at my age is a function of lacking it at your age.” However, who is to say that is the way everyone should believe or behave? Who is to say that my generation was right?

The younger generations got a front-row seat watching their parents and grandparents work their tails off as they put in extra hours, all in the hopes of building a better life for their children. They didn’t like what they saw. For many of their older family members, all that hard work didn’t end up paying off financially. It sometimes included getting laid off or working way past retirementoften up until the day they died. As for the ones for whom it did pay off financially, that too came at a cost. The greatest cost, other than regret, was a lack of solid relationships with their spouses, children, and friends. In high achievers, it is not uncommon to see patterns of high divorce rates as well as potential substance abuse and mental health struggles.

*RelatedWho Is To Blame For Greedflation?

Younger Generations Say: Take Your Hustle Culture and Shove It

Elon Musk once tweeted, “Nobody ever changed the world on 40 hours a week.” However, the Millennials and Zoomers (Zs) are unwilling to trade the hope for advancement in their professional careers at the cost of their personal lives and happiness. Hustle culture—today known as grind culture, burnout culture, or even toxic culture—refers to the mentality that one must work all day, every day in pursuit of one’s professional goals. For many, hustle culture becomes a lifestyle, an obsessive drive fueled by toxic productivity, which appears as a motivational movement with a pot of gold waiting for you at the end. “Rise and Grind” is both the theme of a Nike ad campaign and the title of a book by a “Shark Tank” shark.

Workaholism: Which Employees Put in the Most Hours?

Society has conditioned us to believe that anyone can achieve anything if they work hard enough. The term “workaholism” refers to a go-getter who is celebrated for the 12+ hour workday and wears it like a badge of honor, shaming those who do not do the same. What isn’t explained is, at what cost? “The vast majority of people beating the drum of hustle-mania are not the people doing the actual work. They’re the managers, financiers, and owners,” said David Heinemeier Hansson, the author of It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work, a book about creating healthy company cultures.

Today, people want more meaning in their lives. They also want lower stress levels and a balanced life, including a reasonable number of work hours per week. The pandemic was a professional awakening, prompting employees to take a pause and reflect on this hustle lifestyle. The realization was that hustle culture can be disruptive to mental and physical well-being. Consequently, many have chosen to opt out.

In an article titled Millennials cancel hustle culture, K. Badar shared, “The pandemic helped people across the world realize the importance of genuine social connections. Locked in, they rediscovered their families and friends. They were able to take their mind off their work and contemplate what the world truly was. They understood the value of free time.” April Wilson, MD, chair of the preventative medicine department at Loma Linda University Health in California, has said that “Hustle culture is about being a ‘human doing’ rather than a ‘human being’.”

Live to Work, or Work to Live

Unnamed 48, The DiJulius GroupAll of this has led many American employees to join the Great Resignation and Quiet Quitting movements. The NY Post reported that 42% of Gen Zs would rather be at a company that gives them a sense of purpose than one that pays more, compared to 40% of Millennials and 32% of Gen Xers who said the same. 

It can seem easy to lump the post-Boomer generations together, but Gen Z has one very significant difference. The first of these employees born in 1997-2012 joined the workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic, with some working from home at least part of the time. A significant number of them have never experienced a traditional, 100% on-site workplace! It’s really no wonder they have such a firm, holistic vision, expecting as much fulfillment from their professional lives as from their personal ones. And they’re not afraid to demand it. Now, more than ever, the best-in-class customer experience begins with a superior employee experience.

*RelatedWin the Great Retention by Prioritizing Employee Mental Well Being

*New Customer Experience Executive Academy starting in September ’23

Episode 108 of the CSRev Podcast Building a World-Class Internal Culture

Unnamed 28, The DiJulius GroupThis episode is from a presentation by Dave Murray, VP of Consulting with The DiJulius Group, presented at the Customer Service Revolution Conference in Cleveland on Nov 7th, 2022. The title of the presentation is Building a World-Class Internal Culture.

Building teams that work together focused on the Customer. Departments operating in silos, poor internal handoffs, and miscommunication are all employee dissatisfiers and have a negative impact on customers. Learn how to fix these common pitfalls and get all team members focused on your customer’s experience.


“Customer engagement is a contact sport.”

New Customer Experience Executive Academy starting in September ’23

Unnamed 46, The DiJulius GroupOur 2023 Class of our Customer Experience Executive Academy (CXEA) that started in January sold out. So instead of waiting till 2024, we are starting a new class in September ’23. We expect this class to also sell out. Don’t delay and register now!

Are you in charge of your brand’s customer experience? Are you currently, or on track to be your company’s Chief Experience Officer (CXO)? It’s time to start learning the methodology applied by world-class companies to create consistently memorable moments that lead to happy customers and happy employees. The Customer Experience Executive Academy (CXEA) is the Harvard of Customer Experience, featuring: 

  • The DiJulius Group’s trademarked X-Commandment methodology
  • How to improve the 6 components of your customer’s experience
  • How to develop a strong Customer Experience Action Statement that brings purpose and meaning to your employees and organization
  • How to recruit and develop a team with high customer service aptitude that aligns with your core values
  • How to build a culture that always goes above and beyond what is expected during interactions
  • How to develop tailored experiential standards for each customer, in each interaction they have with your company
  • How to create systems that ensure consistency among departments and locations
  • How to implement zero-risk systems that avoid service challenges and strengthen customer relationships
  • How to measure your customers’ experience and execute with the data you receive, and
  • Become a world-class Customer Service Experience leader!

*Register for the Class of 2023 Customer Experience Executive Academy 

About The Author

John DiJulius

John R. DiJulius is a best-selling author, consultant, keynote speaker and President of The DiJulius Group, the leading Customer experience consulting firm in the nation. He blogs on Customer experience trends and best practices.