Portraits of Workaholism
Henry can’t even recall the last time he felt he was able to truly relax. What he can recall, however, is just how difficult it was for him growing up poor. All he seems to care about these days is making sure that he does not have to experience those struggles again. He worries that if he stops working for even a day, then he will lose everything.
Marie can’t get herself to slow down. She is constantly picking up after her two children, cooking, and cleaning in attempt to maintain a spotless household. Unfortunately, as a result she can never actually enjoy her home and family.
Definitions and Key Thoughts
Workaholism occurs when one fails to maintain a healthy balance between work and life. For workaholics, work is their principal avenue for finding success, approval, and respect.
For many, work has become a powerful obsession. However, workaholism is a health-robbing, sleep-depriving, and greed-festering addiction. However, it is a problem that often goes unchallenged, and even rewarded.
Workaholism is not only an issue for men and women in the workplace, but also for those who strive to have the “perfect” family and home.
Symptoms of workaholism can include: inability to rest; a constant sense of urgency in every activity; working 50 to 70 hours a week or more; a need for acceptance or significance in the eyes others through one’s work; viewing work stress as a means to finding significance; problems with rigidity, self-image, or with intimacy in relationships; being seen by others as irritable, without humor, inattentive, or always in a hurry; and worrying more about providing financial security and a better lifestyle than about the emotional demands of family.
Generally, those who are addicted to work feel a compulsive need to do everything perfectly and better than others, that their worth can only be measure through their achievements, pain from their past, self-critical, and a deep sense of emptiness.
The following action steps could help you overcome workaholism:
1). Assess the problem.
Admit to yourself (and perhaps those close to you) that your workaholism is an addiction and that it must be treated as such. Also, evaluate what your workaholism has been providing you in relation to your life and self worth.
2). Find a balance.
Evaluate your weekly schedule and filter out any unnecessary involvements that are contributing to the your addiction to working. Begin to balance work, family, and other relationships by scheduling times for play and leisure. Treat these times as a priority.
3). Slow your pace.
Establish a slower pace for each day. Remember the importance of sufficient rest, exercise, and eating right.
4). Get support.
If you’re not making progress, consider speaking with a professional. And remember that change takes time.