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Spring 2021 ︎ SUNY Purchase ︎ (DES3240) Design Issues

Hustle Culture / Workaholism


I may have said this specifically in this class, as rough as it can be,  I think if there was ever a time to “burn the candle at both ends” it is now; particularly right now as things are in a speculative state for how the future can be shaped. All that being said there are obviously effects of that process on people, especially over the long term.

Content to view


Supplemental Contextualizing Content

Here’s some stuff  that is less directly related, not required but probably interesting and will help enrich the discussion.

Questions to think about

  • How does the relationship between hustle culture and workaholism and burn out play out in other industries like programming/video games (where there are staggeringly large projects)? How does that relate to sites and services like Fiverr, Uber, TaskRabbit, Fresh Direct, Instacart? 
  • How much do you “believe” in hustle culture, even if it you find it to be an ultimately toxic notion?
  • Are the tenants associated with “hustling” ever productive?
  • Is the use of the term “hustling” appropriative when it makes its way to the universe of Sillicon Valley and startups?
  • Is this all “just a capitalism”? I’m not trying to indoctrinate you into any system but would you still be out here hustling if there was a better social safety net or socialized healthcare? 
  • Are you seeing the economic effects of corona as they relate to burn out and hustle culture in your life currently? In what ways?

Things discussed in class

    • William Hung (on Arrested Development)︎
    • Susan Boyle︎
    • Sanjaya Malakar on American Idol’s Top 12︎
    • (I brought all three of these people up as examples of not living in a meritocracy and that although they are usually perceived of as “jokes” we get to have beautiful cultural moments where these people are in the spotlight).
    • Ben Shapiro receiving criticism/pushback︎
    • (I believe this came up because we were talking about Gary Vee’s project as functioning not unlike a conservative commentator and Shabeebo came up. The link above is a longer piece where Michael Brooks talks about a Ben Shapiro TV appearance. I miss Brooks’ contribution so linking it partly for that reason)
    • “NYC” from Annie︎
    • (I think this came up because we were talking about the nature of living in NY and how culture has worked to construct/support the idea of “hustling”, in the sense this song is romantic, rather than fiscally irresponsible)
    • You can’t scan money︎ (Gwen’s review had $100.00 bills in it)
    • Play︎
    • (The link above is to a cool vidja from PBS’s Idea Channel, which isn’t a thing anymore unfortunately. We talked a bunch about the idea that you shouldn’t have to monetize all your hobbies. This video talks more about the notion of “play” itself... we may have talked about video games and the time involved in those things in class.)
    • Trisha Paytas reality show︎
    • (We talked about another person on a reality show getting sabotaged I forget the exact context of that. I think something to the effect that people are set up to fail in these contexts and that the novelty of those failures is part of the engines of these shows’ successes.)
    • Tyler Perry  “work ethic”︎ (I think I just brought up this clip, and was corrected about this by Cassandra that this notion of “work ethic” is actually used to deemphasize the idea that Tyler Perry doesn’t have a writers’ room and thus doesn’t give writers of color opportunity).

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