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Workaholics Are Not Role Models

Estimated reading time: 4 mins

Are workaholics the saviors of an organization? Do they add more value because they work more hours?

A CEO of a reputed organization once said he has been working more than 90 to 100 hours a week for many years, and jokingly adds he should have done more. And in another reputed car manufacturing company dozens of employees and managers get cash rewards and appreciation certificates for not taking a single day leave during the last three years. In yet another case, a jet set CEO was proudly patting his own back stating that he loves his work so much that he often does not see his family or kids for several weeks , and cannot remember when he took a couple of days leave or a vacation.

Nowadays the list of such work crazy people are increasing at an exponential rate. And you can very easily spot such people as they will be constantly talking on their mobiles, checking their hand held devices for text messages or always connected to their office via their laptops for never ending emails and so on. Such people have their hands and minds loaded with projects, countless unfinished tasks, endless meetings, emails and constantly sweating the small, medium and big details. When questioned they claim to enjoy their job so much that they just work, work and do more work, especially to impress the media. And they also proudly believe they can be role models for others. However, contrary to what they believe or self congratulate, such habits are nothing to be proud of, and nor should they be your role models as you will shortly see. In reality, workaholics are always driven by deep internal needs, rather than external ones. Here are some ugly facts about workaholics.

1. A New York tour operator once proudly said, “New York is a city that never sleeps.” For this an elderly tourist calmly replied, “And it definitely looks like it.” Super workaholics are not necessarily the most efficient people even if they stubbornly work 18 hours a day. In fact they are the least efficient of people. They may appear to be working, but internally their brain would have turned off. The output they produce or the ideas they generate when the brain and essential body systems turn off is nothing but trash and mediocre stuff.

2. Workaholics often believe themselves to be perfectionists and role models , and often the media also portrays them as so. But in reality they are neither perfectionists nor can be role models to anyone sensible and knowledgeable about the hazards of overwork. They may have plenty of hollow followers who are as lunatic as themselves, but no sensible person will agree or appreciate this kind of burnout.

3. High workaholics suffer from a disease called Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and an inability to let go. Most of them suffer from the indispensability syndrome to constantly prove something great everyday and every minute. They cannot bear being left out and want to be involved in everything always. They are terrified of being left out of the loop or some information.  They are unable to delegate . And they believe nothing can work if they are not involved.

4. Excessive workaholics are appreciation seeking addicts with a deep craving for recognition and appreciation . They suffer from a deep inferiority complex and try to cover it up by proving they can work long hours and days without a break. Just like drugs, once a person gets into the appreciation seeking habit it is very difficult for them to stop. They constantly seek appreciation and will keep doing things to invite more appreciation, even if their mind and body refuses to tag along.

5. Working non stop is perhaps the lousiest of work habits and work life balance. It is also the perfect road to ruining your health and those of others. Poor health and lack of a solid family life leads to poor performance and relationships at work. Workaholics not only ruin their health but also of their subordinates and their family members. Of course, they may earn more money than ordinary workers and access to more materialistic pleasures. But when they get a heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure and other nervous disorders it is their family and dependents that will be bear the brunt of looking after a human vegetable. Hence every workplace and home needs mentally and physically balanced individuals that can create pleasantness instead of chaos, stress and constant pressure .

6. Workaholics often don’t know whether they are workaholics. They falsely believe they are role models to the younger generation or their peers. But people will often pretend to appreciate a workaholic in front of them. But they laugh and ridicule them behind their back.

7. Finally no one on their death bed ever says, “I wish I could have worked more.” And we can conclude this article with a great quote from Bertrand Russell, “One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one’s work is terribly important.”

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This post is part 7 of 16 in the series Working & Living
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Thejendra BS is an IT manager and author from Bangalore, India. He scribbles mild and wild articles on technology, business management, self improvement and wacky humor that get published on many reputed websites and syndicated through various RSS feeds around our planet. He has also published diverse books like Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity, Practical IT Service Management, Corporate Wardrobe-Business Humor Series and Life-365-A Year's Supply of Wisdom, Tips & Advice. Visit his web cave www.thejendra.com for his free articles and details of his books.

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2 Comments

  1. Mark McClure Coaching

    I remember attending a meeting at a former employer where the head r&d guru described a coming world where employees would be contactable 24 x 7 in all kinds of smart tech ways – even down to wearing “smart biz clothes” that could communicate where you were at any point of the working day.

    Would make a great skit about employees accidentally “mixing up their biz clothes” for a day or so. (but I’m sure the whizkids will have some kind of body odor sensor to mask that one haha!!)

    On a more practical level, I believe there is a fine line between “hard workers” and “workaholics”.

    Usually the dividing line is recognizable between those who have a balanced life with other interests, loves and free time (remember that?!) versus those who (for many reasons) do not.

     
  2. simonstapleton

    @Mark – good way of categorizing the two. There are such people as ‘busy idiots’ – these people work hard but are not doing so effectively. So the cost per unit of work is high. There are also the people who work the standard hours, but are super efficient and effective. Then of course there are the people who are efficient, effective, and are workaholics – great value for the organization in the short term but it may cost in the long term if a unsustainable culture is created due to rewarding this behavior. Waddayouthink?

     

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