Some people get so involved in their job that it becomes the centre of their entire existence. Not realising that they are burning away their youth in a job that will not stay with them forever.
The woman who came to my clinic last week was in her early forties. She is very smart and ambitious. When her boss retired, she was the first to be nominated as the acting manager, but this promotion came with a price as she found herself working long hours to supervise her team members and do her own work.
The term “acting” before her new title meant this position was temporary and without extra pay so she had to attend an interview and compete with other applicants who can be from outside the organisation where she worked or more experienced.
Understandably she became more anxious and stressed, working late almost every day and managing to squeeze one hour at the gym which was according to her “more of stress therapy than fun”.
She was sleeping less as she used the time catching up at work and lost the desire to socialise with others as weekends became a time to catch up with sleep and spend time with the family. Her anxiety levels were so high that she started questioning her abilities to lead her team.
She would experience panic attacks as the interview date approached and became extremely worried that this anxiety will affect her performance during the job interview.
Some people get so much involved in their job that they sacrifice their physical and mental health, others spend less quality time with their family and loved ones to the point of needing reminding to keep some time for others. The situation becomes similar to an alcoholic who gets so dependent on alcohol that it becomes the centre of his world. He would neglect other aspects of his life including work and family. The term workaholic was derived to describe a similar situation. Someone would ask. Is being a workaholic bad for you?
We all agree that working hard in itself is not a bad thing, but there’s a thin line between “hard worker” and “workaholic.” And when you cross that line you end up putting yourself at risk of developing mental and physical illnesses such as depression, heart disease, and high blood pressure. The impact of being a workaholic is not limited to the person alone but affects their partners who experience feelings of neglect and abandonment, while the children of workaholics show increased rates of anxiety and depression.
According to psychologists, people become workaholics when they are working with other workaholics who set up standards for those around them, this can be seen in competitive jobs like medicine where spending long hours at work beyond the expected time is praised and seen as a sign of dedication, other factors include having a personality type that’s always on the move doing things makes the person more likely to become workaholic.
So what can you do to avoid being a workaholic? One tip is to learn time management and leadership skills so you don’t have to stay longer at work or take work home with you, schedule social time in your calendar and make sure there is enough “me time” in your week.
Whatever you do, make sure you are working towards a better work-life balance.