People call you a workaholic, but you just see yourself as a dedicated and focused worker. Nonetheless it’s a fine line between being a model employee and being an ergomaniac (someone with an excessive devotion to work, often as a symptom of a mental disorder).
However, diagnosing yourself as a work addict can be just as hard as changing your ways. The only known cure? A long holiday so you can re-evaluate of your priorities!
Here are 12 signs to snap you out of denial and make you think about getting a little more balance in your life.
When your head finally hits the pillow at night your dreams are haunted by spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations. Even when you’re unconscious, your brain is working overtime to figure out how to save 10 per cent on this year’s budget. While it’s great that your mind is on the money and you’re extremely focused about your work, it is highly unlikely that you will come up with a resolution for the paper jam in the printer during shut-eye.
You find great pleasure in refilling the ink in your fountain pen, and using the last Post-it note gives you satisfaction. The last time you went shopping you bought an ergonomic swivel chair for your office. Meanwhile, your fridge is bare and you’re out of toilet paper. While this could be more a sign that you are, in fact, crazy and just love stationery as opposed to being a workaholic, you are still treading in dangerous waters. It is advised that you get out now while you still can.
You have to make a concerted effort to ensure you’re home in time to have dinner with the family. You also think it’s fine to hold conference calls during your son’s soccer match. When you first decided to have children you didn’t realise just how much work time they would actually chew up. In order to make a conscious effort to be a better parent you have started to set aside ‘home time’ in your filofax – but in pencil so you can always rub it out and reschedule if you need to.
This point could possibly be connected to point number three above. Somewhere between the company merger and today your daughter aged four years and someone forgot to send you the memo. The latest photo in your wallet proclaims that she’s a toothless toddler and that was only taken a few years ago, right? And you swear it was only yesterday that your progress on the Cooper account was interrupted because you had to take time off work for her first day at school.
In your eyes, a job well done can only be done by you. Why risk someone else spoiling those important files when you could just do all the work yourself? Of course, doing the jobs of the whole team means you need to come into work on Saturday, and probably Sunday…
Whenever a phone on the television rings, you instinctively reach for your phone. But, it’s already glued to the side of your face. How else are you meant to keep up-to-date with all your messages and projects? The keypad imprint on your cheek, the RSI in your thumbs and your jaw realignment surgery are small prices to pay to stay on top of the game. Whether you’re calling, emailing, texting or talking, your smartphone has become another appendage – one that you deem more important than an arm or a leg.
Despite the time differences between countries, you want to prove to your clients that you’re available whenever they need you and this means waking up in the middle of the night. Luckily, you sleep with your smartphone under your pillow so any vibrations signifying new emails wake you from your slumber anyway. And you never know when you might have to email your boss about a new proposal. Some of your best ideas come at night (see point number one).
An hour spent eating lunch and twiddling your thumbs could easily be spent organising the accounts. If you do eat lunch – rarely, though, as you don’t want to get smudges on the files – it’s out with a client for a business lunch where you’re working your magic anyway. Besides, you don’t run on food, you run on success.
To be perfectly honest, you never left the office last night. With deadlines looming, sleep is just a waste of precious time. Last night you managed to finalise two major deals for the company and drafted four proposals for important clients while the world was sleeping. And all you needed was good lighting and a strong pot of coffee. By the time the rest of the stragglers arrived at the office you were prepping yourself for the conference at 9 am. According to you, whoever came up with the eight-hour workday was just plain lazy. Think how much work would get done if people were more like you!
When you’re not at work, you’re working from home. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day to read, knit, or build models of airplanes as well. The last time you saw a movie it was The Godfather in 1972 because you heard it was about a successful family-run business. And you ended up taking an important business call in the middle of it.
Except for the time you had to have your jaw realigned, you have never missed a day of work. Sick leave and holiday leave are for weak, unfocused people and public holidays mean you miss out on your favourite day of the week – Monday. It also means that you need to catch up on three whole days of unanswered emails and reports, a task that throws your Tuesday schedule out of whack. You realise it’s a great occasion to spend quality time with the family, but you just don’t find them as interesting as quarterly financial reports.
You consider your boss to be your friend. And Jenny on the front desk smiles at you every time you walk in the office. So you don’t have a lot of friends outside the workplace – all your old friends seem to have drifted away for some reason. Besides, you feel more at home with your computer than in the company of other humans.