Workaholics Like Us

Greetings, Friends ~

Admittedly, I have done it again. Gotten myself so busy that not only are the days flying by, but entire weeks of time whoosh right past me. Because of competing priorities, my writing deadlines have sprouted wings and are “whooshing” with them. I find myself struggling to keep pace.

A workaholic is one who is addicted to work. Though no general, medically-accepted definition is agreed upon, the experts in the psychology of this problem agree it must be tied to some form of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Workaholism is different than simply working hard. The characteristics of one in such a state include putting aside any reasonable amount of time for their personal life in exchange for work. In that, even personal activities (let’s call it “time off”) are riddled with some type of chore. To a true workaholic, the term “work” is not indicative of just one’s paid employment.

As is the case with all “isms”, overworking is merely the symptom of a deeper issue. Historically, I have been called a runner. Not those lean types that utilize their morning hours for healthy activities, and THEN go to work. Rather, the kind that feels some level of emotional pain and…runs. Nothing but a cloud of dust behind me. What do I run to? Work. Piles of files and complex projects intended to consume even the most intelligent and organized of us. Is it a difficult task? Give it to me. I’ll take it on. After all, my day has 38 hours. It is a cycle of dysfunction with us working-too-much types.

With the best of intentions, we ground ourselves and promise to slow down. Enjoy life. Smell the roses. But then, something happens. The plates we have in the air start multiplying. They spin faster and faster until we can barely tell which is which. Unless we work every waking (and sleeping) hour available to us, one of those plates will surely hit the floor, shattering the self-image we hold that we are superman. And superman would never let something important hit the ground and break. That would be irresponsible.

As the workaholic cycle goes, our friends, families and colleagues start saying things like, “Are you taking any time for yourself?” Or, my personal favorite, “You know, there is always tomorrow.”

I do take the advice they offer. Recently, someone close to me said, “See that chair over there? Sit in it.” Looked like a comfortable enough space, so I obeyed. Moans of frustration were audible as I moved in that direction. En route to my adult time-out, I grabbed one of my laptops and powered it up. Sitting seemed like a great opportunity to catch up on some paperwork..,.

Other indicators also show up when a workaholic is about to hit the wall. Lately, I find myself telling people repeatedly, “I’d love to get together, but I am so swamped at work right now.” Right now turns into every single day from now until forever, if we don’t get a handle on it. Even the vacation days I have taken this summer were wrought with answering emails and working on projects. That is not the fault of my employer. I do that to myself. Perhaps after my life expires, the engraving on my headstone will read, “Here lies Jana. She worked.”

I am already committed to a busy end-of-summer, which now looks to bleed into early October. When the witching month reaches its mid, a few heavy-lift work-related projects will have been completed and I will rest.

I will.

Be well,


About Jana Brock

We don't see things as they are. We see things as we are.
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