Have you ever been accused of being married to your job? Are you the sort who would willingly excuse yourself from a night out with friends, because you would much rather be working from home? According to a recent study, workaholics can be vigorous and dedicated workers. So, is this the one addiction that is good for you?
Advertising executive Shoorveer Singh loves his job so much that he had to be asked to take time off from work for his own wedding. Shoorveer, however, doesn't believe he's married to the job. "I don't understand the concept of workaholism," he says. "I love working, and that's why I keep at it."
According to psychologist Anjali Chhabria's definition of a workaholic Shoorveer fits the bill perfectly. "A workaholic enjoys his work and is able to stay motivated for hours, regardless of whether he's at the office or in his home," she says, adding, "He may find pleasure in competing, being constantly occupied and achieving a better success rate."
According to a recent study by Rouen Business School professor Yehuda Baruch, workaholism can be a positive addiction.
Addicted? Not good
Psychotherapist Janki Mehta agrees that while hard work might take you ahead in life, an addiction to anything is not good. "Workaholism is a behavioural addiction. Workaholics find pleasure only in working, even at the cost of health, relationships and overall emotional wellbeing."
Confronting the workaholic, however, will only complicate the issue and is likely to meet with denial, she says, adding, "[Trying to] Stop them from doing so, compels them even more to do it."
Apart from a non-existent social life, workaholism has other implications. "The study mentions that workaholics display vigour and dedication, but that may not always hold true, as most workaholics are known to have low-self-esteem and let their work define them," explains Janki.
With the term 'workaholic' being bandied about, it is important to understand that not all who enjoy their work are workaholics. "For someone who is stressed at home, has a very high need for achievement, or has a lot of financial responsibility on his head, workaholism is 'good', as it will serve as a stress-buster for him, and he will be able to achieve results faster," says Dr Chhabria.
The downside is when the person never feels satisfied and constantly craves new achievements, which leads to 'bad' workaholism, according to experts. "When work starts affecting a person's health, he sleeps for a few hours, needs stimulants to keep him going, neglects close relationships his workaholism has gone from good to bad," shares Dr Chhabria.
While a little hard work and the occasional late night at the office never hurt anyone, the key, experts say, is to develop interests outside the workplace, so as not allow yourself to be solely defined by your job.
About the study
According to the study by Rouen Business School professor Yehuda Baruch, being a workaholic is not necessarily a bad thing, as it can lead to positive outcomes for individuals, businesses and society. Likening workaholism to chocolate addiction, Baruch says that being addicted to work has some health benefits. Research shows that workaholics display vigour and dedication, rather than exhaustion and cynicism, and are energized by their achievements, which helps reinforce a sense of well-being.
How not to be at loggerheads with a workaholic in the home
BE A BUDDY. Workaholics typically suffer from poor health, since they tend not to focus on eating right or setting aside time for exercise. Becoming a workout buddy with a workaholic may force them out of the workplace and into the great outdoors. Try to steer clear of conversations about work.
DON'T EXPECT OVERNIGHT CHANGE. Pick your battles. Don't suddenly demand that your partner take the day off in the middle of the week. Sudden changes make workaholics uneasy. It is especially important for a workaholic to feel appreciated. It is also important to set boundaries. For instance, request that they set work aside during mealtime, or that they have a cut-off time for work.
REMEMBER THAT THEY DON'T LIKE SURPRISES. As mentioned above, workaholics sudden changes make them uneasy. One reason workaholics work as hard as they do is because it makes them feel in control. So, give them advance notice, when planning something special like a weekend getaway or a 'surprise' bash.
ASK THE EXPERT. Don't be afraid to seek help from a mental health professional, if required.
- tips courtesy psychologist Janki Mehta
Are you a workaholic?
1. Do you take work home, most days of the week?
2.Do you tend to work through weekends/ holidays and your days off?
3. Does your partner frequently complain that you do not make time for her/ him?
4. Do you have a hobby that you make time for at least once a week?
5. Do you find it difficult to unwind and fall asleep at the end of the day?
6. Do you constantly check your phone and email, even on holidays?
7. Do you get irritated or annoyed by people who don't seem to take their work seriously?
8. Do you thrive on challenges?
9. Do you feel a sense of emptiness when you are not working?
10. Do you NOT make it a point to exercise for 30 minutes, at least thrice a week?
If you have answered 'YES' to four or more questions, you might need to re-prioritise your life.
Rishtey mein toh hum tumhaare...
AMITABH BACHCHAN is infamous for being a workaholic. With no signs of slowing down, in spite of his age - he's 69 - and several health scares, the Big B is known to work tirelessly. Director Balki once famously remarked, "You have to understand that this is no ordinary human being. Amitji is a miracle. He can continue working non-stop without sleep. At an age when most of us will be in a rocking chair, he is still rocking."
In a career spanning just a little over two decades, SHAH RUKH KHAN has over 77 movies to his credit. Two days after wrapping Ra.One, which took two years to make, the King Khan tweeted: "... I miss work already. I think my DNA is made up of working genes... relaxed loose-fit genes don't suit me."