Are You, or Someone You Know, a Workaholic?

workaholicIt’s 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 person’s 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.

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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.

Questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information (definitions and links) on key college, career, and job-search terms by going to our Job-Seeker’s Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms.

workaholicDr. Randall S. Hansen is founder of Quintessential Careers, one of the oldest and most comprehensive career development sites on the Web, as well CEO He is also founder He is publisher of Quintessential Careers Press, including the Quintessential Careers electronic newsletter, QuintZine. Dr. Hansen is also a published author, with several books, chapters in books, and hundreds of articles. He’s often quoted in the media and conducts empowering workshops around the country. Finally, Dr. Hansen is also an educator, having taught at the college level for more than 15 years. Visit his personal Website or reach him by email [email protected].

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