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Are You or is Someone You Know a Workaholic?
by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D., quintcareers.com
Does this scenario sound familiar to you? You love your work and are responsible for multiple projects and tasks that continue to be assigned to you or your group. You actually thrive on the multiple deadline pressures. Or perhaps you hold multiple jobs or own your own business. Your work hours are long, your at-home hours short, and your sleep hours few. Vacations and social visits with friends are a distant memory. Your only hobby is your job.
Itís pretty likely that you -- or someone you know -- is a workaholic. Workaholics live for their work, often spending many extra hours at work, and often taking work home to complete. Americans -- when compared to many other countries -- are typically a work-hard culture, but when work becomes the sole reason for a personís existence above more important things (such as family and friends), the issue becomes critical.
Part of the matter is societal. Americans are working more hours per week than in years past, and with all the downsizings and consolidations and lack of replacement hirings, more and more workers are putting in extra hours to complete the work previously completed by others. Some studies show that as much as many as 40 percent of workers don't even bother to take vacations, partly because of fears they may not have a job to come back to if they do.
Part of the matter is technological. We live and work in a connected environment -- e-mails, instant messaging, fax machines, cell phones, and digital assistants -- making it hard for workers to truly get time away from their work.
Part of the matter is financial. Whether it is how more and more of us mistakenly define success in terms of financial and materialistic measures or the fact that many Americans simply must work multiple jobs simply to earn a living wage and keep their families out of poverty, we are working more and more for the financial outcomes.
Regardless of the reasons, workaholism can be a serious condition that can lead to the decline and destruction of families, as well as to serious stress-related health problems. When work becomes the sole reason for being -- when it becomes the only thing we think about, the only thing that truly makes us happy -- then it is time for some sort of intervention. And do not confuse hard work for workaholism. Hard workers know the boundaries between work and personal times and can function normally when not at work, while workaholics have no personal times and cannot function well outside of work.
So, are you -- or more likely someone you know since a workaholic probably would not take the time to read this article -- a workaholic?
10 Strategies for Reducing Workaholism
The key is making time away from work -- totally away from work -- to get your life back in balance. It will take some effort on your part -- and perhaps the part of a friend or spouse -- to make the shift from a sole focus on work, but for your mental and physical well-being, you really should make the effort.
1. Block out "personal time" to spend with family and (non-work) friends.
If you find yourself not able to do any of these suggestions, consider getting professional help to deal with what is basically an addiction.