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  • Writer's pictureDiana

WORKAHOLISM AND HAPPINESS...

It's now obvious that we all have different concepts of happiness or success. We all have different motivators and backgrounds that dictate them. One thing's clear: we all get out of bed to go to work for a reason, whatever that is for each of us. However, it all becomes puzzling when work is all there is. How do we deal with work-life balance? Because I, my lovelies, have been fantastically shite at it so far. My name is Diana and I am a workaholic.


THE BASICS OF WORK ADDICTION


Myth 1: 'Workaholics don't have a life and all they have is their work.' Well that's just not true. These people exist of course, but they do not constitute a wide proportion of the population of workaholics I belong to. You could be married, have a big family, have loads of friends, have lots of hobbies, but if you posses those particular traits that tend to fuck-you-over, which I'll break down in a second, it's just an easy ride to workaholism.


Mark my words, you WILL sacrifice something for work and pretend it makes you happy and that is a choice you'll make over and over. You WILL miss your child's football game or ballet recital, you WILL forget to make a reservation for your anniversary, you WILL miss out on your best friend's birthday party all because of a meeting, a late call, a deadline, a 'cool' project or a networking event. Moreover, you WILL regret it later.


Myth 2: 'Working hard and being work addicted is basically the same thing'. Nope it is not. You can be a hard worker and smart and effective while understanding and respecting the importance of life outside of your job. Work addiction is when you just can't let go. You have people waiting for you to go home and you just keep prioritising the job. You just can't stop.


Myth 3: 'There are lots of workaholics that love their job above all else, heck they enjoy it! They would not rather do anything else.' Oh really? You think you're one of those people? Do you love working more than margaritas on a beach or spending time with your friends or family? If yes, than yay for you, let's all have a party and eat cake. You're a rare breed. But let's be honest here, we would all rather work whenever we want to, however we want to, for however long we want to, in order to have time for the OTHER stuff in our lives. So shift your mindset and re-prioritise.


THE FRUSTRATION THAT CAN COME WITH WORK ADDICTION


Don't get me wrong, a job is a healthy time spent doing something productive, growing, learning, achieving and even better, it pays for your life. But a job can also overtake that life and take the piss by using your prone-to-work too much and deliver attitude. And then...you'll just end up frustrated. Let's see if you relate:


  • You feel like your job is taking advantage of your need to over-achieve instead of ensuring you can last for the long-run.

  • It can suck the life out of you until you burn out and need time off to rest.

  • It's the type of environment that tells you that it's late and that you need to go home, but at the same time puts pressure with new deadlines or objectives.

  • You secretly hope the high-standard or the extra mile is appreciated, but it seems to always be taken for granted, gone unnoticed, or not even thanked for.

  • Even though you over-deliver you find yourself every year either fighting for a raise or a promotion, either being disappointed of how little they prioritise your needs.


You and me both buddy. And if any of these things are happening while you're working like a nutter and you're trying to convince yourself you're happy to do so, let me tell you something: you're not happy; you're frustrated. And you know what? It's nobody else's fault other than your own. You built some expectations and now have a tough time managing them. Let's just face it, sometimes you just cannot say no, or even worse, you're the one sabotaging yourself. At the end of the day you're working for a business, whether it's your own or someone else's...it's a business, and you're a resource.


THE GENESYS OF MY WORK ADDICTION


I haven't been working for 50 years, this is not a reflection close to retirement. I'm not even close to done and I have tons more to learn, about myself, about people, about my job, and about the politics of it all. I love and I am passionate about my work and my projects, but I'm hoping that after 10 years of intensely investing myself in them, I still have time to correct my behaviour and refocus my attention in the right direction: LIVING LIFE.


I am an intrinsically work-addicted person. I can't leave the office until everything is in the state I want it to be for tomorrow, until I have not only crossed off my to-do-list, but I have also gotten a head start. Not stopping until I over-delivered, over-achieved, nailed it! My perfectionism and my mild OCD does NOT help me either, to be honest.


How did I become this way, you ask? Oh well...years and years of practice. I have never been the type of person imagining her objectives within the usual strokes of life: academics, a home, marriage, children, career, richness etc. Never imagined my wedding, never planned for children, never have I even been enthusiastic about the idea of buying a house. It all made me think about what was the point of working all your life, raising your children and dying. What's the bloody point?! These things just didn't make me happy.


I wasn't particularly excellent at any one thing. I was good at many things, but never particularly talented or great. Whatever I was good at, I worked hard at for a very long time. Nothing came naturally to me: not people, not family, not school grades, not nothing. This whole concept is what made me a hard worker. I needed to 'work work work work work work' to stay afloat, to blend in, to succeed. And so, I have been a workaholic since I was a child.


However, what brought me close to happiness since young adulthood was my freedom: seeing the world, enjoying nice food and drinks, and spending time with my myself and my friends. Hence, that gave me enough of an objective to afford these things. I wasn't complacent with my job: oh no no, I strove for more and for better everyday, and I worked hard to achieve it, but it is indeed what I would have happily spent all my hard-worked money on. And so, we come full circle and I worked crazy hours to afford to have a nice life and I found that I barely have time to live it. Oh the irony.


HERE'S WHAT I'VE LEARNT


You might have a different motivation for working crazy hours, whether it's getting on the property ladder, affording luxuries, getting married, or simply you feel like you have no other choice as the breadwinner of your household. Whatever it is, bending over backwards at work is just not going to help you achieve your objective (most of the time).


Of course, I'm mostly talking about the privileged, middle-class, working people, who have a choice to reel it back and decide not to. There are of course you out there where a 9-5 job is not an option, or the luxury to go home on time occasionally just doesn't exist.


I'm mostly debating a mindset. Do work. Work hard. Strive for more and be better, but don't make that your sole purpose and always keep in mind the joys of life: your kids, your partner, your friends, your holiday, your home, YOURSELF.


And so, I have decided that I'd like to spend more time on me: drawing, more time reading, watching a movie (actually watching a movie, not bloody multi-screening while answering an email). I'd like to spend more time with my friends and making it on time to my meetings with them, not run late because of a call. Travel more and learn more. Be a sponge of knowledge. That's what makes me happy. Having a successful career is obviously something that I want and will continue to pursue, but as many successful business owners and CEOs before me have also learnt, you need to be able to last the long run to stay in the game.


You decide what's actually important for you and use your workaholism in the right areas of your life. My name is Diana, and I am a happy workaholic.



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