Hard Work vs. Workaholism

There simply aren’t enough hours in the day for young professionals. By the time you get out of the office, hit the gym and grab a hurried dinner, it’s time to go to bed (not before sending off those final few emails) only to do it all again. We are firm believers in a “work hard, play hard” mentality and if you are not working hard, someone else will be working harder. But there is such thing as working too hard and we all know select YPs in our circles of friends or workplace that we could safely call “workaholics.” Maybe we all must become workaholics circumstantially – whether in the months leading to the launch of a business or when starting out at a new job – but sustaining a long-term workaholic lifestyle can have very negative effects on other areas of your life.

Last week, researcher Cecilie Schou Andreassen, from Norway’s University of Bergen, revealed a scale in attempt to mitigate some of the negative effects of workaholism. She believes that the negative effects of workaholism – insomnia, health problems, burnout, stress and conflict in one’s personal life – are on the rise around the world. The Bergen Work Addiction Scale is based on core elements that are recognized as diagnostic criteria for several addictions – salience, mood modification, tolerance, withdrawal, conflict, relapse – and asks subjects to identify particular individual weaknesses.

The tool then allows hard-working YPs to test themselves to determine their degree of work addiction, as categorized as non-addicted, mildly-addicted or workaholic. Andreassen’s study shows that scoring “often” or “always” on at least four of the seven items may suggest that you are, in fact, a workaholic.

The criteria:

You think of how you can free up more time to work. 
You spend much more time working than initially intended.
You work in order to reduce feelings of guilt, anxiety, helplessness and depression.
You have been told by others to cut down on work without listening to them.
You become stressed if you are prohibited from working.
You deprioritize hobbies, leisure activities, and exercise because of your work.
You work so much that it has negatively influenced your health.

Andreassen believes that work addictions are a global pandemic, and the inevitable product of a worldwide economy and globalization, new technology and a fusion of the boundaries between work and private life. With these factors considered and the common notion among YPs that being a workaholic to some degree is what it takes get up with the game, it may be wise to make rules for yourself to avoid falling into this trap.

1. Set aside designated “date nights” with your significant other or potential SO

2. Commit to playing on a team with other YPs once a week

3. Schedule brunch with friends on Sundays

4. Commit to calls with the parents

5. Maintain a Difference in mentality between weekends and weekdays and designate special “work-free” times, whether that means weeknights after 8pm, Sundays or both.