The pace of life today has quickened. There is tremendous pressure to work longer hours, to produce more, to make more money, to become a dazzling success. More and more of us are spending our time at work, and are becoming more obsessed with meeting targets and pressures in meeting deadlines. Most of us seem to be chained to our computers. We skip our lunch, rush through dinner, and cheat ourselves of hours of sleep.
Our vocational achievements are so strongly tied up with our self-image that we strive to enhance our self-worth by working longer hours and completing more projects. Many managers, particularly over-stressed managers, believe that the present world of business is no place for play, fun, happiness, creativity, or laughter.
The phenomenon is so widespread and its social consequences so devastating that it has acquired the licentious nickname “workaholism” – a combination of the words “work” and “alcoholism”.
Although the trend during the past years seems to be unequivocal – less work, more play, and the official working week in most countries in the world is limited to 45 hours a week, it is not rare to find the white-collar members of the liberal professions like managers, accountants, lawyers, doctors, IT professionals, consultants, academics, etc to put in 80-hours a week.
One fundamental definition of workaholism is when one’s relationship with work competes with other important relationships. Relationships require a certain amount of time and attention to keep them alive. Unfortunately, workaholism tends to distance us from our immediate families.
We have no time to be physically and emotionally available to our loved ones. What happens in the process is that intimacy soon dies, family life gets disrupted, intellectual horizons become narrow, and the consequences to the workaholic’s health are severe – fat accumulation lack of exercise, stress taking the toll. Undeniably, it has become a serious cause of concern into the 21st century and stress and burnout have been big topics in the last two decades.
Classified as “alpha” types, workaholics suffer three times as many heart attacks as their peers.
Workaholism is an addiction. It’s the illusion and the associated destructive behaviors caused by that illusion, that a person can effectively address challenges in life and work exclusively by working harder at work. The addiction seems to follow this cycle.
Workaholism is not a recognized psychiatric disorder, and experts can’t agree on whether it’s an addiction, a coping strategy, or a mask for another psychological condition. But they do all agree on one thing – an obsession with work is harmful.
People with work addiction are not the same as hard workers. There is nothing wrong in loving your work, going the extra mile to meet a deadline or finish a project, and feeling contented with your achievements. Workaholics, in contrast, are out of control. They think about work incessantly and if unable to work, feel panicky and depressed, jittery, jumpy and nervous.
Traits of a Workaholic
- Can’t just sit still and “waste time”
- Work on weekends as well
- Resists taking breaks or rewarding himself with vacations.
Experts believe people who are workaholic, work to hide their anxiety, low self-esteem, and intimacy problems. They overwork to compensate for self-esteem, self-concept and identity issues.
Too much stress can seriously interfere with your ability to perform effectively. Just like machines, human systems have limits and breaking points and require maintenance. If you are under increased pressure, push yourself too hard and neglect the proper maintenance on yourself, you will and deteriorate and eventually have a “breakdown” and your body will force you to stop and attend to it.
Don’t push yourself so hard that you use up all your best and have nothing left for your spouse and family but fatigue, intolerance, and irritability. Don’t risk the loss of your personal relationships or the loss of your health. Save some of your best for yourself and your loved ones.
GOOD LUCK 🙂