Have you used the term “back to the grind” before? If so, why and in what context? I was inspired to write this blog post because I have been hearing the phrase a lot lately. It strikes me as a weighted term even though it is often used loosely.
What does the grind really mean and why do we use the phrase “back to the grind?” From my understanding, it is a term that represents monotonous and strenuous work i.e. the grinding down of a substance to a fine powder. I have heard people use it in many contexts, however, what I find interesting is that it is not used solely by people who do not like their jobs or careers.
Here are 5 ways I have heard or understood “back to the grind” to mean and the lessons I have derived from it so that it may prove valuable for you as well:
Job or Career Dissatisfaction
I would say this is the most popular use of the term “back to the grind.” If you are associating your job or career to a grind then most likely you do not enjoy what you are doing.
It might seem laborious or tedious and most likely a means to an end (i.e. biweekly pay, if not a stepping stone). If you truly believe it is a grind, and you are not into it, it is perhaps time to move on. You are probably not giving it your all and that is a waste of time, energy and resources. What do you feel is not a grind? Try that.
Sometimes people talk about the grind because they are bored. They like what they do and where they are at but they have hit a plateau. They don’t want to move on but they know something has to give.
In this case, I would say it is time to innovate. What can you do differently to better the situation and breathe new life into your office or organization? Can you initiate a project you are interested in and that would help your company? Could you spruce up your office so it is more stimulating? I heard that things like businesses and jobs “fail” because we run out of ideas. Could this be the case instead?
I have also heard “back to the grind” used as a badge of honour. These people are not bored or dissatisfied they are disciplined. They will stick it out with a place or a goal because it develops and reveals character and commitment.
Even if their job or career is a source of boredom or dissatisfaction, going back to the grind and sticking to the grind can be satisfying in the discipline it asks for. This can be great but it also can be a mask for rigidity or a fear of not wanting to try new things. On the other hand, discipline in something you are not really passionate about at first can grow into a passion if you keep at it. I am sure we all can think of an example of this.
The grind can also be a source of comfort. It is for the very reason that it is predictable and routine that it derives pleasure. Some say “back to the grind” with this in mind. It is also a badge, a comfort one as opposed to discipline.
Take a friend of mine. She is a nurse and loves what she does but she uses the term often enough. For her, the grind represents a level of comfort and security and she enjoys it. Apparently, you can love the grind as well, which brings me to my next point.
Whether people love it or not, sometimes the grind is something one is used to. It can be a mindset, an entrenched one. The struggle mentality can be familiar or also a badge of honour. It is only worth something if you mentally/physically and/or emotionally pay for it. Does this sound familiar? I have met many clients with a struggle mindset and I used to have it as well.
It’s not real work unless it is hard work. I believe there are a time and place for hard work but life and situations do not have to be a struggle. For people with this sort of mindset, it’s not easy to replace but it sure is worth challenging. Can work and life be smooth and valuable? At least mainly smooth?
This said most people saying they are going “back to the grind” are coming back from a break of some sort, whether it be a weekend or summer vacation. The contrast between their break and regular routine (employed or self-employed) highlights the categories I mentioned above. No wonder I have heard this saying more lately; a lot of people are back to school or their jobs/businesses after a summer break.
So are you going or have you gone “back to the grind?” Is it truly a grind or is the term representing something else? If you use the phrase, is there a lesson in your “grind?” I am sure there is.
Ps. If you feel you are "in a grind" and not a comforting one, click here to set up a complimentary call to see if I can help.