Some quick reflections on persistence, working hard, and hustle culture
The gospel for today is again about one of my favorite stories best summed by this verse: “I tell you, if the man does not get up and give it to him for friendship’s sake, persistence will make him get up and give his friend all he wants.”
Indeed, there are times when persistence or working hard is more effective than “mere” friendship and brotherhood.
Persistence and working hard are such values that a work-oriented society seems to admire strongly. As business educators, we want to produce graduates who are persistent and have strong work ethic. Yet our department claims that we want to care for the well-being of our stakeholders and not just look at productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness.
One of my student thesis groups is exploring how hustle culture comes to be and is maintained within a higher education context, and our initial insight seems to point to the obvious: we have to find the golden mean between persistence, working hard, and caring for one’s well-being. Hopefully, by combining statistical analysis and qualitative analysis, we will be able to estimate thresholds of when work is too much (i.e., borders workaholism or hustling) and what level of working hard is “healthy” such that it leads to higher life satisfaction.
The challenge is that each individual would have particular stamina or thresholds of what level of work leads to lower life satisfaction or may even lead to the suffering of one’s mental health. How should managers push students to increase one’s stamina without leading to burnout?
Maybe athletics is a great analogy for this. Sometimes, there really are contexts or sports where higher endurance is a must. Maybe the goal of educators and managers is to have a sober understanding of a work condition such that we do not inadvertently put people with lower thresholds in positions where they might suffer.
Luke 11:5-13. “I tell you, if the man does not get up and give it to him for friendship’s sake, persistence will make him get up and give his friend all he wants.”
[DAILY GOSPEL INSIGHTS AND REFLECTION FOR MANAGEMENT AND ORGANIZATION 279: OCTOBER 6, 2022]