R.I.P., Hustle Culture

It’s time to nest down.

Jessica Wildfire
5 min readSep 28, 2021


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I can’t hustle anymore.

I’ve tried. Some days I think I can return to my pre-pandemic level of productivity. It lasts for about a day.

After that, I need Odinsleep.

I’ve got friends who hustle. I zoomed with one last week. She’s working on all kinds of projects. Just talking to her made me want a nap. She doesn’t have any kids. She’s had a very different pandemic.

I’ve been thinking about the before times. If there’s one word to sum up our lives over the last ten years, it’s this one:


We worshiped this word, even if we hated it. Despite our lost decade, we were going to work so hard and make so much money.

We were going to find our dream job, or forge it from the molten steel of side gigs. We were going to accept ourselves, fall in love, and embrace minimalism. We would live nowhere, and everywhere. The word evolved its own meaning, a way of fixing everything broken in our lives. We were going to replace everything taken from us by hustling.

We couldn’t wait to be digital nomads. If we knew we’d never get to retire, at least we could work poolside.

Now for many of us, our hustle is gone.

What happened?

This is the hustle hangover.

The age of hustle culture is over.

Don’t get me wrong, some of us are working harder than ever. It’s just that we’re not celebrating it like we were a few years ago. Some of us aren’t hustling anymore because we’ve got kids, and no childcare. Some of us are rebelling. We’re rejecting hustle and lying flat.

I think we all know why.

We spent the last ten years busting our butts. Our reward was a pandemic. The whole time, we never stopped to think about why we were having to commit all this hustle. We considered those passive income streams extra money, even if we were using them to pay rent.

It never occurred to us that our hustle culture could just be a prequel to the dawn of neo-feudalism, an era where hustle became a permanent fixture of our lives, not the party we imagined.