A workaholic puts in lots of hours at work because it often seems like the thing to do if you want to get ahead.
It’s the thing to do when projects need to get done. If you want that promotion, you’ve got to put in the work. Put in the extra hours to make sure those in power can see your commitment and dedication. The belief is that if you’re the first one in and the last one out, you’ll be first up for that promotion when the time comes.
This comes at a cost though. Slowly resentment builds for the job, for your peers, and even the leaders because things aren’t moving fast enough for the amount of work you put in and the happenings you miss out on in your personal life, whether it’s at home with your family and friends or out on the dating scene.
There’s just no time for any of it because that time is being spent working. The stress of it all adds up and starts affecting your health, and there’s no time for doctor visits or rest. It’s been going on for too long, and you don’t feel like you’re being rewarded or compensated fairly. The resentment leads you to question everything. Perhaps overnight, you’ve begun to think that work sucks.
Is it worth the price you’re paying?
When you started being a workaholic, what was the prize that you were chasing to make it seem worth it in the first place?
Don’t like the word workaholic? Well, what label would you give to spending more time at or on work than any other area of your life? Anywhere you see the word “workaholic”, feel free to replace it with your own personal label.
Workaholics, Burnout, and Never Ending Projects
Maybe you’re in a role producing a product and outcome for customers who don’t know that you’re the one keeping the lights on and the ship afloat.
Maybe your experience and expertise can’t be duplicated because no one has your gifts or work ethic. There’s no time to train or mentor someone to be reliable help.
If only you could get through the current list of projects and gain a little breathing room!
The problem is the relief never comes. Something always happens so the breathing room gets eaten up by the next emergency or crisis. At times it may feel like you’re in the business of emergency management.
With that dynamic, you must get pushing through and delivering. There’s no time to take vacations or even call in sick.
Resentment of the work and all the people around you have slowly crept in over time.
How are you treating people as the impact from working extra hours builds up and the frustration sets in? Are you treating people the way you want to be treated, or are you treating them as pawns to help you achieve your goals?
The reward you’re chasing is not coming fast enough and is starting to look like it may not come at all. What is that reward after all? There’s something driving you to perform in the manner you have been all this time.
Avoid Burnout to Save Your Health
How’s your health holding up by the way? Are you feeling physically and emotionally, your best, or have things changed? When was the last time you went to the doctor?
More importantly, how sustainable is this approach? How much longer do you have to keep putting in the hours you are, chasing the reward? Once you achieve it, then what?
You’ve become a cornerstone on the team and for the organization. Your commitment is seen by all, the time you put in, the sacrifices. It’s gone on for so long that and sometimes it may seem like you ARE the team or the company. Without you, things would be drastically different. What would they do without you? How would things go? You’re the one keeping the lights on. You are the engine in the machine.
When it all comes down to it, why you? How did you get to be the source of everything? How did you become the one? What was the environment like when you first started? How did the team or the organization function before you?
Burnout for the Workaholic is Inevitable.
If it’s not your physical health that gives out, maybe it will be your mental health to have some sort of break down.
The exhaustion from pushing long and hard catches up to you. it’s possible the quality of your work starts to diminish because you’re no longer able to show up and give the same effort as in the past. Your tolerance for the lack of performance in others is diminished, and it’s creeping up in interactions. Some days you’re extra snippy with people. Eventually you find yourself in your boss’s office having a conversation about your attitude.
This is not how you saw things playing out, but here you are. What now?
You’ve been here for some time. You’ve learned how to contribute and how to make a difference.
But what for, aside from the paycheck? What’s your long-term plan? How many sick days do you take? How often do you get sick? Do you have a superhuman immune system that you never get sick, so you never call out?
When was your last vacation, and where did you go? Work life balance is an ongoing conversation for health and productivity reasons, making sure that people are taking care of their bodies and their minds so they can give their best in the workplace. What happens if you weren’t to show up tomorrow? Who would do the things you normally do? How would the company survive without your presence or your contribution?
Question Why You Do What You Do
You’ve been busting your ass, giving your body and soul to this job for that big promotion. Everything you’ve endured has been a sacrifice.
How do you know that is the recipe needed for success though? Is that what the someone in the organization told you to, or were you guessing based on your experiences and perceptions?
Hard work is absolutely the path to success; however, you need to be doing the work in the right areas for it to matter.
The only way to know you’re doing what is expected to achieve your goals, is to ask.
Asking what steps are required to reach your destination, not only gets you the direct path to success, but also alerts those in power to be on the lookout for your efforts.
An added benefit is the lack of wasted efforts that come from guessing what to do in situations. It’s like your own personal cheat code. With this effort to get that promotion, what are you chasing exactly?
Once you get that raise or that promotion, then what? What does it mean? What are you going to do with it? How do you know it’ll be enough, or even know it’s worth it?
There’s the status of a promotion, the feeling of accomplishment, and maybe extra money. What’s really driving you towards it? How will you feel once you cross that finish line?
Measure Your Impact to Work Smarter, Not Harder.
How will others be impacted by your success?
There will always be an impact created for others by your achievements, and an opportunity to manage the impact in a way that uplifts them at the same time. Leaders consider others on their climb to the mountain top of their goals, because they know their success depends on the success of others.
Don’t let your hard work be for nothing
What if it all came crashing down, then what? What if the lights got shut off? Is the company going down? Does business just stop? Does the team go down? Is everybody getting fired? How much time have you spent deeply thinking about if there were no you, and how would everybody else get by?
How did you get in the position that you are such that everything and everyone is dependent on you and that you are the savior? Being in that position, how do you feel? What do you really think about everyone that you work with? What are the beliefs you have about their commitment, and the value that they provide?
Dedication and what it might look like is subjective. Be sure to check-in with yourself as to your reasons for putting in the hours that you do. Check with those who have the power and influence over your promotional opportunities, for what they want to see from you, that will help with your advancement.
Check with those around you for the impact you’re creating through your hard work, to be sure it’s one you want to have. Check with family and friends for the impact you’re creating with them as well. If you can no longer show up to work to put in the hours due to your health, it’s all for nothing, so check in with your doctor too. The only guarantee is that you won’t be around forever to do the work you do, so get the most of the experience for yourself and those around you.