Are You a Workaholic?
You might as well face it -- you’re addicted to work. Could your workaholism be hurting you?
Workaholism: A Life Out of Balance continued...
Workaholism is remarkably similar to alcoholism in some ways. Just as an
alcoholic will hide bottles around the house and drink furtively, for example,
workaholics may try to sneak in work when they think no one is looking.
"It's something that I did in the throes of my own work addiction, and when
I think about it now it sounds pretty sick," Robinson says. He once hid some
work papers in his jeans after his family went through his suitcase looking for
his secret stash while packing for a trip to the beach, he tells WebMD.
Other key signs of workaholism are:
- Trouble delegating work (workaholics tend to be control freaks and
- Neglecting other aspects of one's nonworking life (like the dad who never
has time to attend Junior's school play)
- Incorporating other aspects of life into work (such as trying to turn a
hobby into a new business)
Workaholics: All Work and No Play
A workaholic might seem to be every CEO's dream: an employee who comes in
early, stays late, doesn't take vacations, and takes on mountains of work. But
those very qualities may make the workaholic a poor candidate for employee of
the month because they often have more work than they can handle effectively,
don't delegate, aren't team players, and are often more disorganized than their
less compulsive colleagues, Robinson says.
In addition, workaholics may refuse to take time off, even when their work
performance is affected -- although here cultural expectations and financial
realities may come into play.
"People are afraid to take vacations because they're afraid that with all
the downsizing and the economy being what it is that they'd be the first to
go," Robinson says.
"I train residents at McLean Hospital," Neuhaus says, "and I tell them, 'You
have to take vacations. Go away. You're not going to be any good to me
if you don't take vacations.'"
Are Workaholics Hurting Their Health?
Like other forms of addiction, workaholism can have significant health
consequences, experts say, including significantly higher work-related stress
and job burn-out rates, anger, depression, anxiety, and psychosomatic symptoms
such as stomachaches and headaches.