Being committed and passionate about your work is not a bad thing, until these traits lend to behaviors that become signs you are a workaholic. Being all-consumed by work can lead to misery, depression and also health issues. Check out these signs you are a workaholic and decide if you have anything to worry about.
The most obvious of signs you are a workaholic is that you arrive in your workplace well before any of your colleagues, and you are still there long after everyone else has gone home, apart from the night cleaning staff. It’s ok to do this in order to deliver a deadline but not consistently, and certainly it shouldn’t become a habit. Even more so, if you aren’t paid for the overtime. If you need to spend all this extra time to simply get your work done, either you need to reassess how you work to become more productive and cut down on the hours, or you need to talk to your boss about them increasing staff resources.
If when not at work all you do is think about work, you have a problem. Even if you love your job, it is not healthy for it to be all-consuming. It is even less healthy if you start to stress about not being at work to be able to get on with what you think you need to be doing. Being chained to the desk isn’t the same as being driven to succeed. If you obsess about work, if you can’t switch off and can’t wait till you can back to your desk to tackle your to do list, these are signs you might be a workaholic.
Yes, your job and career are important, but when you start to devalue and ignore personal priorities your work/life balance goes completely out of whack. How do you recognize these signs of being a workaholic? You work through your lunch break – every day; you look down on female colleagues who take the full allotment of maternity leave; you pour scorn on people who use every day of their vacation entitlement; you make medical appointments for after hours or weekends; you turn up to work when you’re ill and have no regard for the germs you might be spreading because that deadline has to be met. And, that’s all without the fact that your family hardly sees you and you can’t remember the last time you met up with friends.
Not only can you not say no, but you never say no. You take on extra responsibilities (without additional pay) and you put your hands up for every project that’s going without even thinking what is already on your to-do pile. Your drive to succeed and do a good job means you simply extend your hours even more to meet what you’ve committed to. But this is more than just a want to succeed scenario. When you also add in the fact that you have made yourself accessible – anytime, any place – everyone in the office has your number and knows they can contact you whenever, it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee – these are classic signs you are a workaholic.
It’s fairly commonplace these days for people to take their laptops on vacation to check in with work on the odd occasion “just in case,” but a workaholic takes their laptop on vacation to work. You may tell yourself that you’re sitting in the sun, sipping a cocktail so it isn’t really working, but if you’ve got that laptop open and you’re working – you are at work, you haven’t switched off. It’s a question of semantics; you are not on vacation, you are working – just in a different location.
One of the most important signs you are a workaholic is also one most overlooked. All of the previously mentioned indicators are going to be taking their toll on your health and well-being. No one can keep going, pushing yourself day after day, without regular breaks and rejuvenating time without it affecting your mind and body. Because diet and exercise are also on the back burner regarding priorities, workaholics risk burn out and at the very least, all the issues associated with just being generally run down. At the worst, you are at risk of heart attack and type 2 diabetes.
Of course, like with any addiction, recognizing it and admitting it is generally the crux of the issue. When there’s no guilt in not going to a family party because you have to work or you can’t go to a friend’s baby shower because you have to work, it’s a sure sign you don’t know you have become a workaholic. You will not admit to being a workaholic and you are in denial.
If you recognize any of these signs of a workaholic in yourself, it’s time to take stock. Is this really what you want from your life? Will it bring your hopes and dreams to life?
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