Of course, the real trick is recognizing that work addiction may be harming your health, but it can be tricky to notice because for many of us, and our employers, it’s a good thing:
Despite that, 48% of Americans self-identify as workaholics – and for many, this a proud identification. Being a “workaholic” is often synonymous with dedication, ambition, and initiative. Employees are exhorted by managers to consistently go “above and beyond.” Raises, promotions, and other perks are handed out to those who take on “extra responsibilities.” If an employee refuses a task because it’s not part of their job, they’re at risk of being viewed as difficult and “not a team player.”
The article below goes on to talk about the difference between engagement, where you enjoy the work you do and take on more, and addiction, where you feel compelled to constantly be working no matter what.
The thing is, for an employer there might not be a difference. They look the same from the management point of view, like an employee going above and beyond to get the work done. They will even encourage and reward it, all the while not realizing how much damage they are doing to the employee, or to the other employees who are not addicted to work.
I think this article, while helpful, also hints at a larger societal problem that many of us have been thinking about and that is what role our work plays in our overall lives and our sense of work. Working all the time isn’t just something we sometimes do. It’s part and parcel of being “important” in our society. Let’s face it, when someone tells us they disconnect in the evenings and weekends, our first thought is not “Oh how healthy”, it is much more to be “Oh you must not be very important then”.
Until that perception changes, I don’t know that we’ll make much progress, but it does need to change. Our work plays far too much of a role in our self-worth and therefore is it is far too easy to take advantage of employees.
After all, you don’t want anyone to see you as unhelpful or “not a team player” do you? That’s a career death sentence, even if you actually are a great team player, who just happens to value things outside of work.