Wake up. Work out. Go home. Grab Coffee. Go to work. Go out with friends. Catch 2 hours of sleep (or maybe 5 if you’re lucky). Repeat.
This is a typical day for Peter. He has completely bought in to the Burnout Gamble.
“I want the world coming at me at 100 miles per hour,” he says.
Three years out of school, Peter is working as a TV producer at a broadcasting company—a demanding job that requires focus and the ability to adapt and react quickly. His work hours shift depending on what show he’s working on. Sometimes, it’s an early-morning show; sometimes, it’s one that goes late into the evening.
For Peter, burnout is inevitable, and he has figured out his own way of dealing with it. Living in a big city while maintaining relationships, a job, and side projects is impossible without burning out, he says. “It’s the millennial way.”
“I just want to maximize my hours. That might seem irrational to some people—that’s why I’m a little bit hesitant to blame it on something that's not myself. Maybe the way I’m feeling is the way other people are feeling. And, in that sense, I’d say it’s a millennial condition.”
Bars and late-night partying are a part of Peter's life—it’s part of his rhythm, the continuation of his day. The party life includes frequent drug use and alcohol—things he uses to get himself through his gruelling day-to-day cycle.
“The drug use is measured...it’s very calculated. It’s what pushes me along,” says Peter.
“I’m the one who wants to party. Sometimes, you’re wired from a super-stressful day, and smoking some weed helps. Other times, you’re exhausted, and you don’t want to go out, but all your friends are out—so you go out too. Then, you’ve got to take some uppers at the party.”
While he recognizes the health risks of this lifestyle, he says it would take something drastic to get him to change. For him, this is the road to success.
“The only way to be a hyper-performing person, if you want to succeed at your personal life and your professional life, is to make every hour of your day count,” he says. “I’m either all in or all out.”