How many times do friends and family call you “the workaholic”? Is there an ongoing joke about how you need to go to worker anonymous? These are just a few signs you could actually be addicted to work, and while it may seem like a good idea to maximize your earning potential and strive for the upper echelons of your company, the price could be higher than you want to pay.
Work addiction is no laughing matter. It is a real problem that left unchecked can go from great paychecks and advancement to lost relationships, bad health and even worse. Your first step is to identify the addiction and if possible, the underlying cause.
Signs and Symptoms:
- Working long hours when not needed
- Intense fear of failure professionally
- Perfectionism on the job
- Thinking about work in your off time
- Delaying family trips, activities or days off in favor of more time at work
- Feeling anxiety when you cannot be at work because of prior obligations
- Defensive attitude about your work hours
- Using work to escape problems in life (crisis, death, financial, relationships etc.)
Work addiction treatment can often be accomplished on an outpatient basis, but the workaholic usually will not seek treatment until there is a substance abuse or physical illness forcing them to make changes. It should be noted here that many times, a substance abuser will become addicted to working in an effort to avoid the temptation to use or drink.
As with any addiction, the first step is recognizing the problem. Next is looking for a suitable treatment option. You really want to seek a therapist or professional who is well versed in work addiction because the temptation is to treat it as less serious than other forms of addiction.
Working with a counselor one on one or in a group setting will help you identify the reasons behind your work addiction. Are you seeking approval because it was severely lacking in your childhood? Do you have extremely low self-esteem that is buoyed by supervisor recognition? Delving into these issues will help resolve your addiction to work.
Work addiction may be the most socially acceptable form of addiction, but that does not mean it is good for you or your family. Over time, working long hours for days on end will erode personal relationships and your health to the point you have very little if any of either. Identify, seek treatment and then work the steps.