Work a Lot or Workaholic?

Almost one-third of us confess to being workaholics, which is defined as someone whose involvement in work has become excessive to the point of disturbing their health, happiness, social functions, and interpersonal relationships.

A study by some PHD students in organizational industrial psychology at Wayne University actually connected a number of personality traits associated with being a workaholic. OK, to short-cut that sentence: They are describing many Golds: Perfectionism and impatience, along with a tendency to get defensive, and having a hard time delegating or sharing their workload.

The study differentiated between someone who works a lot, or crosses the line. In their reasoning, a workaholic works because so much of their self-worth is tied to their work output, and not because they are necessarily passionate about their work itself. But then, work-life balance is generally hard for Golds and Blues to practice.

Golds have a hard time leaving work behind, while Blues have an even harder time leaving the people-issues at work, and finding an off switch to the constant question if they could have done more, should have done better, or what else they could have done to help.

The Globe & Mail had a story entitled: A Workaholic’s Worst Nightmare: Vacation. The story featured a lady who has now been forced to take weeks off at a time because she had accumulated so much overtime. It’s something she admitted to being quite worried about: What am I going to do for seven days? I’ve got to do something…. And that “something” is that she was considering a part-time job to fill in that break. Yikes!

When there’s pushback from family, it’s time to get real, and at least acknowledge that things are heading in the wrong direction. One-off projects aside, no employer worth working for will ask someone to become a workaholic. They know it’ll cause productivity to drop, and burnout is just around the corner. If you’re there already, or heading in that direction, get some help. It’s not a sign of weakness – it’s quite the opposite. Your faith and your family always come first, and if you don’t take care of yourself first, you can’t take care of others.