Are you addicted to working? You have never taken a day off work. It seems normal to check on your emails at bedtime and during weekends. Saturday dinners will never seem complete without your trusty phone on your hand, checking off if there is anything that you might have missed before calling it a week. Wi-Fi, laptops and mobile phone made it possible for you to work anytime, so except for sleep, you are working round the clock.
Sounds like normal? Well, if you answered yes, you might not notice but you are probably suffering from a so called addiction, work addiction specifically. This type of addiction looks harmless. It seems normal enough, in fact, our society tends to glorify it. People who are addicted to work are viewed as ambitious and overachiever; somebody who get things done and gets positive job evaluation in return.
But there is a limit to what we mere mortals can endure. “Karoshi” is a fitting term as called by the Japanese. It means “overwork death”, a sudden death caused by too much work and exhaustion, leading to heart attack or stroke.
So what separates a hard worker from a workaholic / work addict?
- The person solely identifies with the idea of working hard to justify his self-worth. Work has become both an excuse as well as an escape from the harsh reality.
- The desire to do excessive work may not always mean work addiction. It will only be called as such if the said person is unable to control and stop himself when needed.
- A workaholic may feel too tired physically to be able to complete tasks for the day but will keep on working nonetheless, in order to relieve the anxiety and guilt about missing out.
- Such people have a sort of obsessive compulsive disorder and usually seen as the last man to log out of the office. They hardly see the daylight and have a virtually non-existent life outside the office.
- A workaholic might sometimes be physically ill after being unable to work. This might be due to withdrawal symptoms being experienced. It may be not as strong as substance abuse users experience but the characteristics may be the same. The said withdrawal symptoms may disappear when work resumes.
- It is not a question of long hours but the inability to lay back and go slack. They feel a compulsion to be busy at work and is unable to turn this off.
- Paid vacation leaves are rarely used. Taking time off will just result to more anxiety over “not keeping up” and the feeling of being left behind.
- You are missing out on small and big family occasions and vacations.
- Deprioritizing quality time, forgetting exercise and foregoing hobbies because of work. A person might previously have an interest to do things such as outdoor sports, art or travelling but it has already been replaced by the desire to work during all those free time.
- After some time, overexertion will lead to decrease of quality of work. Such persons hardly socialize with co-workers outside office; hence they will have a harder time to cooperate with projects needing collaboration.
- Friends and family has already noticed your penchant to overwork and have asked you to cut back and relax a little; then you hardly listen.
- Your work habits have affected your health. Physical signs of too much work include fatigue, headache, dizziness, nervous tics or chest pains.
- A hard worker is usually someone at the office dreaming about that vacation. A workaholic on the other hand is somebody taking a day off yet dreaming about returning to work.
Like other types of addiction, being a workaholic will harm a person in the long run. Job burn-out, depression, anxiety and physical illness will consume you in the end. Self-worth must not revolve around work. The quality of your relationship must be the center of your life. After all, work must be not the end but rather, just a means to an end. If you want to find out if you are addicted to work then take our free addiction assessment.