WORKPLACE / DEC. 11, 2015
version 10, draft 10

What Type of Workaholic Are You?

We all experience those days at work – something needs to be completed and the pressure is on. Instead of going home at your usual time, you need to stay for a few extra hours to meet your deadline. This happens the odd time and so you do what you need to do. With that being said, there are also many people who would rather be at work than at home – choosing to stay, working longer hours because they want to.

See Also: Top 5 Signs and Symptoms of a Workaholic

There are people who live for their job and although there is nothing wrong with dedication, these individuals are chained to their work. Those who are often told to work less, yet refuse - are what’s known as workaholics. Perhaps you can relate if you like to spend every waking hour focused on your career.

Workaholism – What Does It Mean?

When we think of someone being a workaholic, we automatically think of an individual who puts their work before everything else. They eat, sleep, and breathe work, but does that mean they enjoy their work? Before we jump into the different types of workaholics in greater depth – it’s important to understand that both voluntary and involuntary workaholics exist.

The term workaholic tends to have a slightly negative undertone – as many view workaholics as being ’addicted’ to their job. Sure, it’s well known that work-life balance is critical for optimal health, however, being so dedicated to one’s career can also be seen as a positive.

A workaholic could truly love their job so much that they put their work before other aspects of their life. These people are, of course, voluntary workaholics. Displaying this type of work ethic will allow you to develop your career more rapidly. Once many experience this momentum, they just can’t stop. Instead of looking for free time away from work, voluntary workaholics aim to free up more time to focus on their work-related goals. 

On the other end of the spectrum, there are individuals who work extended hours each and every week and appear to be workaholics – yet they would rather be doing something else. They may need to work 50-hour work weeks in order to support their family or they work so hard to ensure their place within a company. If this sounds more like you, you’re what’s considered to be an involuntary workaholic.

Types of Workaholics

Workaholics share a lot of the same traits and in many ways, they’re related in terms of their work ethic and drive. With that being said, there are clear differences amongst the workaholic population and the following types display these unique differences. Which type are you?

1. The Perfectionist Workaholic

Often referred to as the all-or-nothing workaholic, this type either wants a job done perfectly or not at all. Do you seem to set nearly impossible expectations for yourself? Do you put off tasks at first, based on the expectations you’ve created? Unfortunately, it’s said that this type of workaholic generally has low self-esteem. Once a project is started, this type of individual will work themselves to the bone.

2. The Ruthless Workaholic

If you’re this type, you have no problem diving into your tasks. Once you do start working, you won’t stop. Even if it makes sense to slow down, you’ll have a hard time doing so. You would rather do it yourself, struggling to delegate tasks and set priorities. This is why mistakes are made – there’s too much work for one person and the pace is too rapid. Carelessness can cause many hiccups, both big and small. Work, work, work, without much time to think about the process, is what leads to mistakes. 

3. The Controlling, Lingering Workaholic

This type of workaholic believes that if they do not complete an assignment, it won’t be done right. If someone else finishes their work, it will not be completed as well as they’d like. Not only do they lack trust in others to contribute, but they drag their work out. If you obsess over details and create additional work to savor the project, not wanting to let go, this may be you.

4. The Self-Sabotaging Workaholic

This type of individual will work until they have nothing left. What others value deeply, such as family and positive health, will often be ignored if there’s work to be done. Have you cancelled an important dinner with your partner because your boss wanted you to work on another assignment? Did you skip your kid’s first soccer tournament to meet with a client? If this sounds like you, be careful. Broken relationships can be hard to heal and you can’t work without your health.

How to Take Control Over Your Workaholic Mentality and Behaviours

Sometimes, you need to stop and reflect. If you’re a young, single individual, there’s nothing stopping you from working eighty hours a week if you wanted. When your working habits aren’t really affecting anyone else, the amount of time you dedicate to your work is completely up to you.

With that being said, most people have family members or friends that care and want to spend time with them. If you completely neglect these people, you may find that when you retire – you had a great career, but now have no one to enjoy your success with.

Don’t allow people to walk out of your life, especially those who care about you. If you have been pressured to reduce your working hours or acknowledge your obsession with work, here are a few tips:

  1. Take Baby Steps

You’re not going to transform overnight, working obsessively one week then being able to relax on a vacation the next week. Truly implementing change will take some hard work and dedication, constantly reminding yourself that it’s okay to stop.

Start by setting goals for yourself. Maybe one week, you stop working to have lunch with a friend. This means, removing yourself from your work environment and actually engaging in meaningful conversation. Don’t go to lunch only to reply to emails for 45 minutes. Remove your body and mind from work. In turn, you’ll strengthen vital social relationships.

The following week, you can set a new goal. Slowly, you’ll see that life goes on and things get accomplished. Force yourself to delegate tasks, allowing yourself to not take on such a heavy workload. Put you trust in those most capable – you’ll soon see that there’s no shame in asking for help.

  1. Set a Time and Stick to It 

There will always be exceptions and in these cases, you can make exceptions or delegate more tasks – however, you should be setting a set time each day. At this time, that is when your work ends and your relaxation begins. If you choose 6 pm, view this as a strict deadline. Once six o’clock rolls around, ensure that your office knows not to call unless there’s an emergency.

Once the clock strikes 6 pm, that means you’re done for the day. Instead of focusing on potential work-related achievements, become motivated by other important aspects of your life – your family, hobbies, exercise, or anything that promotes relaxation. Get into the habit of stopping once you reach your set time.

  1. Learn to Feel Good About Your Choices

This will be the hardest part for many as a workaholic mindset makes it challenging to enjoy relaxation. You will want to work towards feeling good about the choices you make. Instead of focusing on what needs to be done at work, live in the moment, not letting your life pass you by.

See Also: How to Stop Being a Workaholic

Regardless of which type you are – a workaholic is a workaholic. You will be missing out on some of the most rewarding moments in your life due to your obsession with work. If you continue to place such high value on long hours and little value on everything else, you may hurt those closest to you and in the long run, you’ll hurt yourself. Stay motivated and driven, but learn when to back off and allow others to pick up some of the slack.

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