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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at VCU chapter.

Grind culture is all about making your time count. If you are not working, you should be learning something new, adopting a new habit or working out. The “grind” puts emphasis on success—focusing on how many hours you are working or being productive by society’s standards. This idea that the longer you work, the more successful you will be is toxic and seems to only apply to the working class. The grind or the hustle puts value on the person who does more, insinuating that someone who watches TV in their free time is less than someone who learns a new language in their free time. 

There are only so many hours in a day. Your day should not be made up of hustling and grinding if you are forgetting to eat, shower or just taking some time for yourself. Your worth should not be measured on how long you are working. Why do you need a day job, a part-time job and your own business? That being said, no one should have to work multiple jobs in order to have enough money to live. It is too much for anyone to do, and it is rarely as beneficial as one believes.

There is a growing gap between the upper classes and the lower and middle classes. In order to be considered middle class, you need to make $41,000 a year. To put it into perspective, on average, a teacher makes $49,547 a year. Based on that number, teachers fall in the lower-middle class range and seem to only just make it by $9,000. The belief that working long hours will lead to being rich is not true. The growing disparities between the classes and the lack of wage increases make being comfortable unattainable.

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The rich get richer further increasing the gap between classes making it harder to get to the rich class. Increasing your workload will not get you there if the economy does not allow for people to rise in classes. All it does is decrease your physical and mental health. 

Grind culture has always been toxic, even before it became mainstream. Before #girlboss and the white influencers promoting the hustle, there were Black people who were forced to grind and hustle for the white American dream. Grind culture was promoted by white society in developing communities to get Black people to work longer hours for a paycheck that barely covered costs.

Even now, if someone of color does not have a job or a nice house, it is because they are lazy or they just don’t work hard enough and not because of the systematic oppression they face on a daily basis. The antiquated American dream is tiresome and re-purposing it into grind culture to hide the racist and classist underbelly is harmful to anyone who isn’t rich. 

Working is simply a necessary evil in order to survive. The only way to not work is to be rich, but in order to be rich, you have to work (or just get lucky enough to be born into a wealthy family). Selling an hour of your life for $7.25 will not make you rich, yet grind culture lets you believe that it will. Ultimately, do what makes you happy. Take care of yourself, mentally and physically. Working yourself to death should not be a trend, the norm or the goal.

Jaimison James is a writer for HerCampus at VCU. She is a current Junior majoring in Psychology with a concentration in Life Sciences and a minor in Biology.
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