Work addiction is just as serious as a drug or alcohol addiction, as it consumes your life and leads to a shallow and unhealthy existence based solely on work. The following are characteristics of a workaholic:
- A workaholic will load up on tasks, take on many different projects and agree on projects that may seem impossible to complete
- A workaholic may work past the end of his or her shift, even if he or she is not received overtime pay
- A workaholic may find it difficult to take days off from work and will spend days off concerned about what is being done at work, what could be done, and what he or she would be doing if at work
- A person addicted to work will focus on the job as opposed to family or social life, and he or she will face isolation and damaged personal relationships
- A workaholic will feel physical effects as a result of work addiction, and he or she will feel exhausted and irritable
What Causes Work Addiction?
Work addiction is often fueled by childhood troubles, environment, or current concerns. Work addicts may share one or more of the following:
- Fear of failure. Many people who become addicted to their jobs are afraid of failing or being subpar employees. They want to excel at what they do and be recognized for it.
- Lack of stability. If your home life is chaotic or unstable, you may feel that work is your safe haven.
Loss of control. If you feel a lack of control over many aspects of your life, work may provide a venue in which you are in charge.
- No proper stress outlet. Not having external ways to alleviate stress or frustration can lead someone to cope by staying busy and constantly working.
- Lack of self-worth. Work addicts may not feel valued in other areas of life, or they may feel their personal worth is determined by the work they complete.
Allowing your job to determine your self-worth, provide personal stability, or act as a coping method will lead to work addiction.
Enjoy Your Job and Avoid Work Addiction
You can enjoy the benefits of a job done well without becoming addicted. Some tips for healthily balancing work and life include the following:
- Celebrate the small successes. Reward yourself for a job well done. Recognize that you have worked hard and that you can now relax and focus on other aspects of life for a time.
- Find a hobby. Find an activity outside of work that you enjoy. Allow this to be your stress-relieving outlet rather than your job.
- Do not take on more than you can chew: Only take on tasks that you can complete with a reasonable amount of effort and time. Do not overwhelm yourself, and ask for help, an extension, or extra resources if you are assigned projects you cannot handle alone.
Avoiding or addressing work addiction involves learning to find balance in life. Work addiction does not make you a better employee, friend, or family member, but counseling and therapy will.