Don’t do the hustle

All too often, people find themselves stuck in unhealthy work environments. Sometimes falling deep into “hustle culture,” as it promises fortune in return for complete dedication. However, finding an appreciative boss who cares for employees may be a better option.

Hustle culture is the ideology that people can always work more, earn more and strive for praise. But it can do the opposite of what people want to achieve. Instead of reaching goals and maximizing income, it can quickly lead to burnout.

Some employers are abandoning the notion of hustle culture and choosing another approach. Showing gratitude and highlighting the importance of work-life balance may be the keys to success. 

Here are five ways employers show gratitude for employees that young people may want to look out for as they enter the workforce. 

Relaxed atmosphere

If being at work feels comfortable and easygoing, it’s a good sign. An employer who practices gratitude won’t encourage a high-stress atmosphere. 

This is something Dr. Michael Sommers and Erin McCaughan, co-owners of Evolve Chiropractic and Physiotherapy in Toronto, strive to achieve. 

“We have tried to create a working environment where staff feel that they are a part of an important role and feel valued for their work,” Dr. Sommers says. 

He also believes creating a relaxed environment is a two-way street. 

“In return, they create an amazing work environment in our clinic. Our patients are happier because all of our employees are happier,” he says. 


Small tokens of appreciation can boost morale and make employees feel valued. McCaughan explains how she likes showing simple acts of kindness towards employees. 

“Obviously, compensation is a huge factor. But it’s also showing employees that you care with simple things, like bringing in donuts!” she says. 

Gestures don’t have to be materialistic. Sometimes, ignoring the concept of “leaving personal life at home” can show gratitude.  

“There’s also being there when they are having a hard time and need extra support,” McCaughan says. 


Employees are their own people outside of work and remembering that indicates an appreciative employer. 

“I think employee-employer relationships are just like any relationships in our lives,” Dr. Sommers says.

When an employer forms a bond with their employee, it can signify mutual respect. Employers who believe in hustle culture may be more inclined to treat their staff as replaceable. 


The “go hard or go home” hustle culture mindset means that some employers deny vacation time and sick days. This attitude can heighten stress levels in employees, creating a toxic workspace. 

Dr. Sommers and McCaughan think this is the wrong way to lead a team. 

“Work-life balance is critical, and I think we are learning this to a greater degree with each passing year,” Dr. Sommers says. 

Part of work-life balance is trying to be as accommodating as possible when employees need time off. 

“Burnout, whether mental or physical, is a very real danger in today’s workplace,” Dr. Sommers says. 

McCaughan also believes it’s important to try and help accommodate time off requests when possible. 

“It’s tricky when you live in an expensive city. But it’s really about balancing out financial goals and being able to enjoy life,” she says. 


An employer who acknowledges their staff’s future goals and other commitments is another sign of gratitude. For young people, many jobs are temporary. As such, it’s important to look for a boss who won’t interfere with school and the future. 

Some employers will actively encourage growth and be happy for their staff when they move on. 

“We have tried to invest in our employees,” Dr. Sommers says. “They require reciprocity and effort, and they need nurturing.” 

People are learning the damages of hustle culture and showing gratitude may be necessary for employers to avoid high turnover. 

“I think hustle culture is potentially damaging for everyone. Perhaps the younger generations are getting better at seeing this than older generations,” McCaughan says.

Ultimately, the keys to abandoning hustle culture are knowing one’s worth, limits and needs. 

Like Dr. Sommers says, “Young people need to continue advocating for themselves.”

About the author

Brittany is a reporter for Youth Mind. When she isn’t working hard to become a full-time writer, she can be found making a dinner reservation, rewatching her favourite movies, or reading about True Crime.

Brittany Stuckless

Brittany is a reporter for Youth Mind. When she isn’t working hard to become a full-time writer, she can be found making a dinner reservation, rewatching her favourite movies, or reading about True Crime.

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