© Copyright Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD, Authenticity Consulting,
Adapted from the Field Guide to Leadership and Supervision.
Workaholism is an addiction. It's the illusion, and associated destructive behaviors caused from that illusion, that a person can effectively address challenges in life and work exclusively by working harder at work.
The addiction seems to follow this cycle. Discomforts in life and work cause the person to seek relief from those discomforts. The primary form of relief that the person (the "workaholic") has access to, and believes in the most, is to feel good by accomplishing something as part of their job at work. So the workaholic attends to getting something done at work. However, as the workaholic attends increasingly to getting things done at work, their personal life begins to suffer from lack of attention. As their personal life suffers, it causes more discomfort for the workaholic, so the workaholic works even harder at getting more things done at work, causing their personal lives to suffer even more -- and the vicious cycle, or compulsive work syndrome, goes on and on.
One of the most difficult problems in recovering from workaholism is that the workaholic's hard work is often viewed by the person's superiors (supervisors and upper management) as superior performance, so they are rewarded for their hard work. Fortunately, many people in organizations are learning to recognize the signs of workaholism and to realize that, ultimately, the addiction hurts the person's performance.
Various Perspectives on Workaholism
Motivating and Inspiring Yourself
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