He works a lot, he does everything to get ahead. He is at his workplace from morning to evening, no wonder he has no time for anything else...
Almost everyone can recall a colleague, acquaintance, or friend who fits the above statements. Moreover, if someone works hard, their reputation is positive - especially if the result (advancement, higher salary, success) does not remain absent.
The coin, however, has more sides. The social perception of hard work is mostly positive and undeniably comes with many benefits if someone works well (and hard) - for example, it provides financial security, respect and brings structure to our daily lives.
Nevertheless, it often happens that the balance between work and private life is upset to the detriment of work - even when it would not necessarily be necessary to work so much.
Let's see what exactly does workaholism, or work alcoholism mean and how can it be recognized!
Workaholism, work alcoholism, work addiction - how can it be recognized?
The first warning sign is always when the balance between work and private life is disrupted (or simply not present). In such cases, the affected persons almost spend their whole day at work and after a while their interest in anything else starts to decrease. This can have serious mental and physical consequences in the long run.
It is however difficult to recognize and name the problem, since due to the positive social perception of hard work, we can consider workaholism as ambition and diligence for a long time.
The first warning signs may be when our private life and relationship start to deteriorate - however, we often notice this too late, as we don't have enough energy to deal with it after work.
A warning sign may be if we only feel our day is complete and successful if we dictate a fast pace in our work. When the weekend or vacation comes, we feel a strange emptiness, as if we don't know what to do with ourselves. As if, when we don't feel the pressure of constant tasks, our day has no meaning.
Moreover, we are increasingly unable to feel any interest in any other activity or topic outside of work. Even if we are present in a friendly conversation, we are constantly thinking about work-related problems and questions.
It is important to take seriously the warning signs of workaholism. It is possible for a while to run at 120%, but eventually our body will signal and the symptoms of overwork will appear in the form of health problems. At this point, we can no longer postpone facing the problem.
How and why does work addiction develop?
To explain why and how work addiction develops, it is difficult to identify a single cause. Both external and internal factors may be involved, let's look at some of them!
The modern work culture often encourages us to be constantly available and meet all expectations. The events of the past few years and the emergence of working from home have further reinforced this.
Smartphones and the internet allow us to stay connected to our workplace, thus blurring the boundaries between work and private life.
Not everyone will become a workaholic, even in today's world full of expectations and rushing. There may be certain characteristics and personality traits that can predispose to this type of addiction. These include lack of self-confidence and low self-esteem, since achieving maximum performance in our work can give us a feeling of success and confidence.
It may also happen that our workaholism is an escape from other, more uncertain areas of life. Maybe there are problems in our relationships that we can't handle. In such cases, the predictable and planned world of work can provide comfort and support.
Take the warning signs seriously.
From when can we talk about addiction? It is not easy to recognize this boundary, yet there are some warning signs to pay attention to.
For example, this is an increasing anxiety, which we escape from by going to work or when any other (private, relationship) problem arises, we deal with it by saying I don't have time to deal with this now, I have to work.
It is very important to recognize the symptoms and ask for help, as workaholism can lead to a deterioration of our health in the long run, a narrowing of our relationships, increased anxiety and a feeling of emptiness.
It is worth taking professional help, - either a psychologist or a coach's support - which many companies now provide to their employees as part of employee support.