Understanding Workaholics

The modern person can suffer from a wide variety of addictions, most of which are universally regarded as unhealthy. There are people who drink too much, spend too much or exercise too much. All of these addictions bring more harm than good to a person and they are hard to break. One obsession that sometimes is brushed off as a positive trait however is being a workaholic.

A workaholic is someone who makes their career and earning potential their top priority, placing work above family, friends and even themselves. While the stereotype is that high-level executives are workaholics, this is not always true. Workaholics can be found at any level of an organization and often executives lead balanced and healthy lives. 

I believe that large cities tend to promote workaholism, particularly cities in the northeast such as Boston and New York. These cities are full of an educated workforce and high-wealth jobs. This can foster a very competitive environment which can lead employees to try to outperform one another. Sure, always trying to be the best can lead to job security, but it can lead to personal insecurity. Comparing not to ones own potential but the potential of others is a game that everyone is set up to lose, because someone always appears better.

One of the main reasons that it is acceptable to be a workaholic is that it seems in many cases to be an unrecognized problem. Many people are under the impression that being worked to exhaustion is the only way to achieve success. But at the end of the day, what is it that defines success? Is it a fat paycheck, or is it having a happy life full of strong relationships with family and friends? This question often goes unasked to the workaholic.

It is easy to focus on the positive sides of working too much alone; it is much more pleasant to imagine that there are no downsides. Balance is one of the most important things in life and this can only be achieved through honest self reflection.