The Ableism of Hustle Culture

June 29, 2021

"Work hard, work smart, work more."

It's the way to success, and with it, anyone can get to the top.

But is it? And can they?

Not only could the principles of Hustle Culture be untrue, they're outright dangerous for up to a quarter of the US adult population.


Because Hustle Culture is ableist at its core.

Depending on how much benefit of the doubt you give it, the mindset either overlooks disabled people completely, or suggests they're not valuable.

There's so much I have to say about Hustle Culture, from how it's counterproductive to its Christian hegemonic roots, but today I want to focus on something else:

How dangerous the Hustle Culture mindset & society is when you're disabled or chronically ill.

Hustle Culture says that work is the way to worthiness.

That you don't deserve success, happiness, or a good night's sleep until you've worked your way to the top.

But the thing is that rest IS work.

You can't endlessly work without rest...the two make up the full productivity cycle.

But the work hours, habits, and mindset of Hustle Culture is incompatible with that reality.

Working 70-hour weeks and sleeping 4 hours a night is bad enough when you're abled.

But when I did it?

I was in the worst extended flare-up of my life, one that almost killed me because I tried to hustle my way through it.

I had internalized the "rest is a reward" mindset so much that I'd work from emergency room beds and call it productivity instead of workaholism.

But that workaholism was why I was in the emergency room SO often in the first place.

It's counterproductive, it's performative, and it's deadly.

If this essay helped you learn something or think differently, please consider sending a tip. I love writing about doing marketing differently, but spending my energy this way has real repercussions for my health and business.