Wed 26 Jan, 2005 06:23 pm
What gives with workaholics?
I have worked for The Man and I have worked for myself and while 12 hour days sometimes necessary they aren't the norm.
What is this all about?
Somebody, anybody, please explain!
My father was a newspaper man who worked long hours because he wanted a perfect newspaper every single day I still run into the occasional young reporter who trained under him who felt he must have been a wonderful parent. He was an excellent Father of the Fifties, but this was not a time of hand-on parenting for the male parent.
The First Mr. Noddy drifted into journalism and worked long hours because the best party times came after midnight. He was also exceedingly ambitious.
I suppose if for one reason or another you feel that the job is the most important part of your life, you are a workaholic.
I've know women who tackled motherhood with such super-devotion that you felt the maternal devotion had become more important than the kid.
Random thoughts...and I'm still thinking.
Well, if you work enough hours, you must be the most important person in the organization. Everyone likes to think they're important.
I had a boss once, a mentor really, who sat me down, looked me in the eye and said "your exhaustion is not impressive".
I really took that message to heart and knew from then on that all work and no play not only makes one a dull boy (girl, in my case) but also an ineffective worker.
I'm worried Mr. B is becoming addicted to work and, frankly, its frightening.
Maybe it is the - nobody can do it as good as I can - thing, like Noddy's dad.
Or maybe it is the - I can escape for a while - like the ex-Mr. Noddy.
Or maybe it is the - I'm so insecure that if I work myself to death everyone will think I'm important - like Roger says.
When Mo moved in two years ago we tightened our belts and sat back to enjoy the ride. The workaholism came about right around the time that we went to court to formalize our custody. Right after that Mr. B became involved in a new business as a partner. They are just starting up and the job has tons of potential and he's already making quite a bit of money at it.....
.... but it really seems like an infection.....
........ a body snatch......
The overly long hours seemed to have settled into habit more than anything else.
I'm a low maintence girl so I know this insanity is not to provide me stuff.
I'm hoping that on this wonderfully anyonumous fourm where I would never hold a grudge that someone would just spill the beans on what this workaholism is all about.
I remember when my father would come home from a long day of work and see something that wasn't quite right in the home, so he'd pull out his tool box and spend hours, days, or even weeks fixing it only to move on to another project when he was finished (or even before then). I never understood it until recently, but it all makes sense now. He loved crafting things with his hands, feeling like he had a purpose, trying to solve problems, and appreciating what he had and how he could make things better.
Perhaps those qualities are what make a workaholic. The determination to do his or her best (whether in the project itself, or just to get ahead in the world) or the love of what he or she is doing to the point where stopping before being completely finished seems wrong.
Or maybe I'm just rambling on and it's the result of genetics or something imposed upon us by the hierarchical structure of the business world.
Psychologist Lloyd J. Thomas, faculty member of the Institute For Life Coach Training in Fr. Collins, CO. lists the symptoms of burnout from long-term, high-intensity stress:
Insomnia, depression, lethargy, anxiety, irritability, fatigue, poor concentration, racing thoughts and loss of interest in usual activities.
Actually there was an article in the NYT a while back -- will have to figure out how to look it up, "workaholic" maybe? -- that talked about how for a certain kind of workaholic, call 'em genetic workaholics, they were healthier mentally and physically when they were working that hard.
I'm a former workaholic, or maybe workaholic in remission, or maybe workaholic in denial, I dunno. When I worked way too much it was for a variety of reasons, some good and some not.
I am not good at delegating, so I would just plain take on too much responsibility. I got better at that over time. I liked getting credit for what was being accomplished, and at the beginning especially it was often genuinely easier for me to do something myself rather than let a staff member do it and then deal with the fallout -- having to re-do things, having a larger problem in the place of the one that had been "solved", etc.
Another big aspect was that there were a lot of people who needed things from me and I had a terrible time rushing them. If I had 3 hours available and 6 people who really needed help, I just couldn't jump in the middle of their tale of woe when 30 minutes went by and say sorry, time's up. So I'd stay as long as it took.
That was probably the biggest time sink of all -- what I did end up doing towards the end was set up sort of "office hours", when I was available and when I absolutely wasn't even though I was there.
What I'd often do though is go in on the weekends when it was quiet to catch up on all the non-people stuff -- paperwork, devising curricula, etc.
It was generally very satisfying, though. Big outlay of energy, big reward.
I know that in general I have a tendency to want to work hard when I feel less in control of other aspects of my life. That wasn't really a component when I was working for pay, what I was talking about above, but I noticed that with volunteering after the kid was born, and have definitely noticed that with His Workaholicness, E.G.
I love the quote from your mentor, very true.