Is life only important for service providers

Workaholic: definition, causes, test

Anyone who works 60 hours a week, is always available and thinks sleep is overrated, is not a committed employee, but a Workaholic. Bertold Brecht put it aptly: People used to work to live, today people live to work. But when work has become the only purpose in life, it is high time to pull the emergency brake. Otherwise, a workaholic is heading straight for health problems. But many fail to recognize for themselves that they are addicted to work. Here you can find out what makes a workaholic and what causes it can be - you can also do the self-test: Are you a workaholic?

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Workaholic: When work becomes a meaning in life

The average employee accumulates an unbelievable number of hours worked in his or her life: depending on the working years between 70,000 and 90,000 hours According to studies, an employee pursues his employment throughout his life. A Workaholic surely exceeds this number again significantly. But although people who work particularly hard and a lot are referred to as workaholics, the line cannot simply be drawn based on the hours worked.

Indeed it is serious illness. The self-confidence of those affected is often highly dependent on the work performed. Workaholics are simply unable to quit their jobs - neither physically nor mentally.

That means: They don't really know how to end the workday. Even in their free time, they deal with problems, while on vacation - thanks to modern technology - they stay connected to the office and restful deep sleep is just another name for coma for them. Workaholic is just a more melodious term for work addiction and it should be treated as such.

Instead of praising work ethic, it is better to look at the causes and take countermeasures. Because even for a short or long time, the behavior of all workaholics leads to a constant overload, which also increases on health affects.

Headache, difficulty concentrating, feeling drained to depression and burnout can result from work addiction. It is all the more important that this is treated as early as possible.

Causes: Why does someone become a workaholic?

Workaholics like to describe themselves as ambitious and praise their own Ambitions, their resilience and motivation.

In the beginning it is actually mostly positive, it often begins with fun and enthusiasm for the job. But there is also a crucial feeling that is the first cause: It feels good to achieve something, to be successful - and of course to get recognition for it.

Anyone who learns that their work gives them more respect and appreciation gives this part of their life ever greater space. Your own value is increasingly determined by professional performance, that Self-image says: You have to work harder to be good enough and continue to be valued by others.

If there is no compensation, the work becomes only purpose in life, the only source of joy, appreciation and self-confidence. Social bonds suffer, family and friends are seen less often, there is no space and no time to take care of them.

Anything not related to work and related Sense of affirmation heard, is put on the back burner until the workaholic is completely trapped in his own thinking.

When not to apologize for being a workaholic

Before starting the self-test, it should be pointed out at this point that there are certainly situations in which it is perfectly okay to become a workaholic. The important limitation here, however, it reads: It should be a time-limited - in the best case very short - period of time.

If this prerequisite is given, the short phase as a workaholic can even help and lead to good results if it is possible to return to a normal work rhythm afterwards. You don't have to apologize for being a workaholic in these situations:

  • If you are going on vacation soon. The long-awaited vacation is finally imminent, but before that there is usually a lot to do. In order not to leave any half-finished things lying around during the holiday, you can really tackle it again beforehand, after all, you can then relax in the sun.
  • If you want to achieve a goal. Would you like to recommend yourself for a promotion or a raise? Then it can make sense to convince the boss with his willingness to work.
  • When the job requires it. A distinction must be made here: It is not about believing or telling yourself that it is necessary. This refers to actual deadlines or important projects that are being completed. Here you can and should hang out, maybe even to advance your career - and then treat yourself to a well-deserved rest.

Test: Are you a workaholic?

Workaholics usually react very late and suffer for some time before they change anything in the situation. The problem: Those affected usually do not even realize - or do not want to admit it - that work is far too high a priority in their lives.

But in order to be able to protect yourself and, in case of doubt, to accept help, you need to recognize that there is actually a problem. You have to admit to yourself that you are a workaholic. At this point, however, many find it difficult and prefer to close their eyes. To help with a better and honest self-assessment, we have a little one Workaholic self-test compiled.

The self-test consists of ten questions. A different number of points is given for the answers. Please add these together. At the end, you will get an evaluation based on your score.

How often do you work overtime per week?

  • Extremely rare. I can't remember the last time. 1 P.
  • I'm never home before ten o'clock in the evening. 3 p.
  • With tight deadlines or special requests from the customer. That happens every now and then. 2 p.

A big project is on the way. You have to do a lot of work on different construction sites. How do you react?

  • I cancel all weekend appointments for the coming weeks and put in a few extra shifts to do all the work. 3 p.
  • I ask my colleagues for help and distribute some of the tasks in the team. Nobody can do it alone. 1 P.
  • I ask my colleagues for help, but only hand in minor tasks. Colleagues don't have the same demands and then the result just won't be that good. 2 p.

After work, you can meet up with a few friends for a beer. What are you talking about?

  • Sometimes about the job, sometimes about the family or problems with the car. What I'm concerned with right now. 2 p.
  • We rarely talk about the job. Much more often, family, partner, upcoming vacations and hobbies are topics. 1 P.
  • I often get bored with these conversations. I prefer to talk about industry figures, project progress or changes in the company. 3 p.

It's Sunday morning and the sun is shining. How are you spending this day?

  • I have a leisurely breakfast with the family and then we go on a trip together. 1 P.
  • I brought work home with me. I can use the time to complete a few more tasks. 3 p.
  • I check the inbox for my work email, prepare for tomorrow's work day and read trade magazines. 2 p.

How often do you meet up with friends and acquaintances?

  • We meet regularly, do something together, celebrate birthdays. We maintain a lively exchange. 1 P.
  • Most of my colleagues are friends. The contact with friends outside of the job has fallen asleep. 2 p.
  • I'm always very busy. It's been a long time since I've had time to go out with friends. 3 p.

How important is vacation to you?

  • I take a three-week break every year. 1 P.
  • I don't get around to taking long periods of time off in a row. A lot of remaining vacation has built up. 2 p.
  • I never know what to do with myself on vacation. When I travel, I take my laptop and work documents with me, otherwise I get bored quickly. 3 p.

How much time do you spend on hobbies or doing sports?

  • I go jogging in the morning before work. Otherwise I hardly have any time for hobbies. 2 p.
  • I love my job. My job is my hobby. 3 p.
  • My hobbies are important to me, and I regularly take the time for them. 1 P.

What does your partner say when you come home late from work or continue working at home?

  • I don't have a partner at all. My job is hard to combine with a relationship. 3 p.
  • My partner complains that I work too much. Personally, however, I don't see it that way. 2 p.
  • My partner knows that there is an exception if I bring work home or come later. 1 P.

Please take a critical look around your apartment. What does it look like there?

  • Mountains of laundry and dirty dishes pile up. I just can't get around to cleaning up. 3 p.
  • Everything is in its place. Maybe I should dust off one more time, but otherwise I'm happy. 1 P.
  • Quite alright. The refrigerator is empty and the desk is messy, but generally tidy. 2 p.

You are sitting in the waiting area of ​​the citizens' office to pick up your new identity card. How do you pass the time?

  • I've brought a good book and I'm reading. 1 P.
  • I check my e-mails and am annoyed that I did not take any work documents with me. 2 p.
  • I keep looking at the clock. In my head I am already thinking about the upcoming appointments of the day and am annoyed about the lost working hours. I am already planning how I can make up for this and decide to skip the lunch break. 3 p.

Evaluation: Here you can find the result of the workaholic self-test

Think again about whether you are actually getting yourself honestly and self-critically decided for the answer that actually suits you, your personality and the current situation. If you have then added up the points, you will find the corresponding ones here Resolutions for self-test:

Workaholic does not necessarily mean high achievers

Workaholics like to see themselves as top performers who are solely responsible for the success of the entire company. Your motto: Nothing works here without me. The impression mostly arises from the fact that so invested a lot of time and energy and one's self-confidence is so closely linked to performance that one's own thoughts do not allow any other conclusion.

However, one should be aware that success does not depend on overtime, but on long-term good performance. Those who work a lot are not automatically high performers - they just work a lot.

This causes stress, frustration and all the negative effects of work addiction, but does not take your career one step further and the boss does not notice it positively. There are some signswhich you can tell that while you belong to the workaholic category, you only stand out for pure work time and not for results.

You are a workaholic but not a high performer if ...

  1. You spend every lunch break at your desk

    Perhaps it seems to you that taking breaks at your desk gives you an advantage over your colleagues. In the end, however, you are only harming yourself with this behavior. By having a lunch break alone at your desk, you miss several important opportunities that are crucial for a high performer: You cannot recover, which decreases your concentration and the quality of your work. You will also miss the chance to build up a network over lunch and thus advance professionally without overtime.

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  2. You cannot please yourself

    Both a workaholic and a high performer have high demands on themselves and their own performance. The difference: if a high performer has achieved his goal, he can be happy about it and is proud of his own achievement. A workaholic, on the other hand, is never satisfied with his own tasks, but immediately plunges into a new project. However, the feeling of success, whether large or small, is essential in order to be able to assess the value of one's own work.

    You can also read about this:

  3. You can never take your foot off the gas

    Workaholics work to the point of exhaustion - and then a little further. It is obvious that this attitude to work cannot go well in the long run. However, in order to perform well and perhaps also to convince the boss of his qualities, you have to recognize when it is time to give full throttle. Score points in stressful phases with a high workload, but also take it easy on days with fewer tasks.

    You can also read about this:

  4. You criticize the way your colleagues work

    Workaholics quickly develop an attitude that the way they work is the only correct one. Based on this belief, other colleagues are then criticized because they do not work overtime every day, for example. The motto of many workaholics: If you are not fully occupied every second, you only work half-heartedly. High achievers, on the other hand, motivate the entire team and thus achieve the best results.

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  5. You only react to the unexpected every day

    Anyone who jumps from one thing to the next every day without worrying about the things that they actually set out to do works a lot, but often achieves little. For good results, it is important to complete the tasks that are on the agenda. Workaholics go there are too busy responding to distractions and incidents. At the end of the day, the main task remains undone or more overtime has to be done to complete the duty.

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  6. You are not working towards a specific goal

    Always working without a goal in mind will get you nowhere - except maybe to even more work. High achievers focus on one goal and work towards it. A typical workaholic looks for a variety of tasks that are not related to a specific goal. That way he is always busy, but makes little headway.

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  7. You put the needs of others above your own

    High achievers know themselves and know that it is sometimes necessary to focus on your own tasks without being rude. However, workaholics fail to recognize their own needs and thus pile up an even greater mountain of work. For example, you love to take on a colleague's duties, but forget that you are already behind with your own projects. At first glance this seems selfless and helpful, but a workaholic does more harm to himself than to helping others.

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  8. You are not promoted despite permanent overtime

    It is a strong sign that you are not a high achiever if your manager sees it that way too. Promotions don't come overnight. but if you have been working overtime regularly or taking work home with you for a long period of time and the necessary recognition from your boss is missing, you should ask yourself whether you are on the right track.

    You can also read about this:

Workaholic as a boss: how to deal with it

It's not only problematic to be a workaholic yourself. Also when you have to deal with a workaholic in your professional life, difficulties can hardly be avoided - especially when it comes to a superior.

For many, the first thought in a workaholic as a boss is: I'd better find a new job. That can of course be a solution and if there is no improvement in the work situation in the long term, you should seriously deal with this idea. However, it doesn't have to come to that, because you can do something yourself at an early stage to help yourself and your boss. These five tips can help with dealing with a workaholic in the executive chair.

  1. Don't get infected

    You shouldn't make the mistake of trying to emulate your boss. You may want to impress him for a promotion or raise, but you should be very careful with that.Not only will your private life suffer if you become a workaholic yourself. You create one too Expectations on the part of your boss. They feel confirmed in their behavior and will probably ask even more of you in the future.

  2. Say no

    It is not easy to tell your boss that there is nothing more you can do and it may seem like your own failure, but it is a good way to to show your boss the limits and at the same time demonstrate that something is going wrong. Silence is often interpreted as approval and confirmation, so don't make the mistake of hoping that things will work out on their own.

  3. Find the conversation

    Sometimes it needs that open communication to alert the workaholic of the difficulties. It is often the case that the boss is so crazy about work that he does not even notice how his behavior is putting the employees more and more under pressure. Address that the overtime has been getting too much lately and that there is a lack of compensation. Also make it clear that in addition to work, you have family and other appointments to attend to.

  4. Set priorities

    Having clear priorities can help you accomplish the most important tasks while showing your boss that he should do something about the situation. If the boss once again unloads a mountain of new tasks for you, ask which of them have the highest priority and also make it clear that you will not be able to edit everything. In this way, you also force your boss to question himself and possibly shift down a gear.

  5. Encourage change

    In order to create a better working atmosphere in the long term, changes are necessary. Since your boss is unlikely to notice this, take action and encourage these changes over and over again. Gather problems created by the workaholic, offer new solutions or question the processes that lead to constant overtime. If you keep pointing this out to the boss and at the same time showing how things could be done better, there is a good chance that he will actually heed your advice.

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January 17, 2021Author: Jochen Mai

Jochen Mai is the founder and editor-in-chief of the career bible. The author of several books lectures at the TH Köln and is a sought-after keynote speaker, coach and consultant.

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