Work addiction

"There's a woman in the bedroom crying
Saying I thought we had plans
You say honey I'm sorry I'll make it up
When the job slows down and I'm not such
A busy man"
- Cyrus, Busy Man

We all know one, or two, or maybe you are one, though I doubt you are here reading this if you are a work addict. But what is a work addict and what can we do to help them?

The first step is understanding what a work addict is, they have a compulsion to work, this stems from the highly controlled work environment and the feeling of being appreciated. This feeds adrenaline into their systems and keeps them wanting to work more, even if they are not getting paid for overtime.

In the early stage, the worker tends to be constantly busy and tends to take on more than can realistically be done. They will put in lots of extra hours (even if not paid for the overtime) and cannot seem to find time to take days off.

In the middle stage, the addict begins to distant themselves from personal relationships, and what relationships they do foster are with co-workers. When they are home, they are distracted and emotionally stays at work (they are never really home). At this stage, the physical tolls often begin to manifest themselves, trouble sleeping, being tired all the time, weight changes.

Those in the late stage tend to find the more serious physical and emotional symptoms like chronic headaches, elevated blood pressure, stomach ulcers and increased risk of stroke.

Now that we know what to look for, we have to approach our loved ones and try to help them overcome this. We have to convince them to seek out help or work on the issues, no one can force another to change, it has to come from within.

Counseling can help, as can forcing yourself to make time for family and social activities, coming up with a strict schedule of when you work, when you relax.

Establish clear boundaries between your work life and your private life. Reassess the amount of time you spend talking about your work with family and friends, and the amount of time you spend associating only with friends from work or people in the same line of work. Obviously people who care about each other are interested in all the things that are important to the other, including work. But, being caught up in war stories may represent an inability to establish boundaries for work.

12 Nov 2008 15:22:57


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