‘Workaholism’ is a mental disorder of some sort – or at the very least a behavioral problem.
I am not qualified to suggest any cures. I am just going to try and identify the symptoms and the damage it causes –and make a few suggestions.
- You leave for work a lot earlier than you need to and stay at the office a lot later than is really necessary. I once asked a colleague why he always stayed at the office so late. He told me that he liked to get home when his children had been fed, bathed and ready for bed.
- You ‘have’ to go into the office on a Saturday morning. This may be to avoid accompanying your partner on a shopping expedition.
- While at home you constantly check for email on your mobile phone. You’ve also told clients and your staff that they may call you at any time.
- You take your laptop on holiday ‘just in case something comes up’ and you have to deal with it.
- You have ‘work’ commitments that cause you to not to be available for family gatherings.
- You have a need to escape from family commitments. This could be because you just don’t get on well with your family.
- You lack self-esteem and confidence. You’re always worried about not being promoted or being fired. As a result you believe that by putting in extraordinarily long hours you will be safe.
- You’re a bad manager. You can’t get your work done in the available time. You don’t trust your staff and feel the need to constantly call them while you’re away.
- ‘Workaholism’ is contagious. You work with a group of workaholics and get caught up in the behavior or feel the need to fit in.
Escaping from family commitments can lead to strained relationship with partners and the alienation of children. It often leads to the breakdown of relationships. Suggestion: If your family is really horrid in the extreme – get out. If you can be honest with yourself and realize that you are the problem – get help from a professional.
Self-esteem and a lack of confidence. Suggestion: Find out what measurable outputs are required from you. Ensure that you meet and exceed targets. Regard yourself as being a ‘business within a business’ – and like any good business market yourself and build your personal brand.
You’re a bad self-manager. Suggestion: Attend a workshop or read a book on how to organize your tasks to fit into regular working hours.
You’re a bad people manager. By constantly calling your staff to see ‘how things are going’ while you’re away they see it as a lack of trust and confidence in them. I once had a boss who called very second day and all he would say is, “What’s happening?” nothing else. It was really irritating. What was I supposed to say? So one day when he called and asked the usual question I said, “Nothing much. The guys come and go as they like. We’ve had a few noon to 6pm lunches. Whoever invented answering machines made a great contribution to mankind.” He did not call again. Suggestion: if you don’t have confidence in your team - coach them. If they can’t shape up get rid of them and get new people. That’s what you’re being paid to do.
Because the above results can have disastrous consequences for families and your health take positive steps to have a clear break between you work life and your private life.