Thursday, February 19, 2009

Workaholism: Working For The Sake of Constant Activity

Some people are not aware that there is a world of difference between being “hardworking” and being a “workaholic.” Being hardworking is characterized by perseverance and diligence. However, being compelled to work for the sake of working, and you feel panic, anxiety or a sense of loss when you aren’t working, is a case of being a workaholic. And that is a totally different story.
The difference between the two lies in knowing when to stop and set boundaries. A hardworking person knows when he/she has worked long enough. On the other hand, the workaholic feels uneasy and not yet satisfied with his/her work even if he/she has been doing it for hours longer than the usual. The lack of constant activity makes the workaholic person uneasy and incomplete.
According to Diane M. Fassel, author of Working Ourselves to Death and Chief Executive of New Measures, which conducts employee satisfaction surveys, “the workaholic is addicted to incessant activity. The behavior continues even if the worker becomes aware that it is personally harmful — even harmful to the quality of the work.”
Compared to drug addiction and alcoholism, being a workaholic is viewed by many as praiseworthy. They are rewarded for working excessively, which never happens with addiction.
However, mental health professionals are now considering workaholism as a condition that can cause both mental and physical damage. There are certain types of people who are more susceptible to workaholism than others. They are the perfectionists and those who have the need to be always in control.
Also, these are the people who engage in too much work in order to escape from a bad relationship or to make up for an absence in one’s personal life. The danger of working too hard is that the stress that goes along with it has been shown to lead to substance abuse, sleep disorders, anxiety, and, ultimately, to physical problems like heart disease.
The following are tell-tale signs of workaholism:
When most people close to you feel neglected by you because of your work, you should certainly take their concerns seriously.
When you regularly conceal from family members that you are working, even sneaking into the next room to work on your laptop, you may have a problem.
Nowadays, people are just too willing to get connected, 24-7. Advances in technology have significantly contributed in transforming people into becoming workaholics. The advent of mobile phones, laptops, and internet shops allow people easy access to go online wherever they are; be it in the restaurants, on the sidewalk, at home, or during vacation.
Workaholism can be very hard to change. It will require professional help, as well as behavioral and cognitive therapy. During treatment, workaholics may go through withdrawal syndrome. The active support of family members and friends may be needed to turn the tide.

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