Workaholic- One who has a compulsive and unrelenting need to work.
This is how the dictionary defines a workaholic but the implications of being one are beyond definition. Until recently, even I was very proud of being a workaholic. I assumed that my workaholism portrayed my hunger for growth, innovation and performance. But, I was proven wrong when one night lying sick in bed, I had no one to even come and visit me and the sickness was the payback from all the stress and fatigue of working 14-15hrs daily.
Then it got me thinking that the train was seriously derailed at some point without my realization. In the excitement of outperforming my peers and being appreciated by my boss, I was unable to comprehend the implications. I analyzed how it all began and when did it get so out of hands that I needed therapy.
Most of the times workaholism is perceived as an attribute of character, much appreciated and exemplified among the corporate/organizational “climbers”, a person “doing what they love”. The climate for workaholism manifests naturally when there are financial demands, and is a result of using work as a distraction from chaotic home situations, conflicts and issues at work. All this arises from an insecurity in the person. The organizational causes seem to be the culprit of the biggest order. To name a few – the glamour of technology makes work addiction look very enticing, being ‘always connected’ has become a ‘work ethic’, blurring the lines of work and home with no process to keep this in check and Puritan work ethic that values hard work and productivity. Being a workaholic not only stresses the person but also the other team members across the organization. A workaholic is generally not a team player, has a strong need to control which limits problem solving and scope of participation from others. Such a person has a one track mind, is disillusioned that he/she is the best and creates stress and imposes it on others. Such people make ‘Horrible Bosses’. To begin with, they constantly micromanage, refuse to delegate, push and burn out the team , are overly critical and intolerant of mistakes, make unreasonable demands at ungodly hours, are inconsistent with principles and policies and last but not the least, over schedule and mismanage time.
The workaholic doesn’t limit herself to being a bad boss but it gets translated as a spouse/partner, parent, friend and other realms of life as well. As a parent he/she will generally be ‘mentally absent’, always cranky and running around for no reason. Focus is always on work, colleagues and he/she will give the excuse of earning a living. As a partner he/she expects too many adjustments at the family front, let’s the other parent do the parenting, family time gets over powered by work schedules and calls and he/she clearly will have practically no friends.
The implications get so advanced that he/she will need therapy because he/she is going to be sucked into it without realizing and won’t know a way out.
If this doesn’t make you anxious, and retrace your life patterns, nothing will. In the next blog I will talk about what I learned from therapy and how it has made me a happier person with no compromises in my work.
To begin with, the person sitting across the table is more than worthy of being in a relationship with than your smart phone!