Confused about the difference between hard working and workaholism?

There are people who put in long hours, while being available for their loved ones, giving back to their communities and enjoying activities unrelated to their work. These people are considered hard workers, not workaholics and there is a very distinct difference.

When work defines you and when it is valued above all else, work becomes your addiction.  When your work negatively affects your health, your family, and the quality of your work, you might be considered a workaholic.

Is work all consuming and joyless?

If you find yourself going beyond the necessary and you have no other interests or activities, your work becomes a negative addiction. Workaholics work because they have nothing else to take its place. Their work addiction is a recurring obsession, and typically joyless.

Real workaholics let their family lives fall apart. They often have health problems and suffer from depression or deep insecurities. A workaholic is someone who constantly thinks about work, and without work feels anxious and depressed. Workaholics are difficult to get along with because they frequently push others as hard as they push themselves. Like any addiction, they repeat destructive behaviors despite knowing that they’re destructive. Many would like to stop but find it difficult or impossible to do so.

Workaholic vs hard working

Workaholics should not be confused with people who just work hard and go the extra mile to finish a project. Here are three key differences between hard workers and workaholics:

  1. Hard workers view work as a requirement or obligation. In contrast, workaholics use work to distance themselves from unwanted feelings and relationships.
  2. Where hard workers make time in their schedule for family and friends, workaholics put the utmost importance on work and use it to exclude anything else in their lives, including family and friends.
  3. While hard workers can take breaks from work, workaholics think about work regardless of what they’re doing or who they’re with.

Understanding a person’s motivation can help to determine the difference between a workaholic and a hard worker.  Identified by researchers E.J. Douglas and R.L. Morris are five reasons why people work hard.

  • Financial rewards: “material goal seekers”-working hard for financial rewards.
  • Substitution for leisure: “low leisure” -workers that get little satisfaction or joy from leisure activities.
  • Perks: “perkaholics” -working for the perks like fun co-workers, a good health plan, and prizes or trips.
  • Working to work: A “workaholic” – working to work, with no ulterior motive or outside motivation.
  • Loving your work: “love what they do” – working because their job is rewarding, important, and enjoyable.

Do these six workaholic traits apply to you?

  • Are you intense, energetic, competitive and driven, to a fault?
  • Do you work to escape self-doubt and other emotional pain?
  • Do you prefer work over leisure?
  • Do you work all the time and anywhere?
  • Do you blur the lines between business and pleasure?
  • Do you have stress related or chronic fatigue health issues?

Sometimes an obsession with work is more than just hard work, it can be a real and dangerous addiction causing serious physical and life concerns.

I have embarked on a catastrophic life-changing journey that ultimately revealed my personal purpose.  As a result, I now share a vulnerable story encouraging you to look at your own life and “lockbox” to set yourself free from the secrets that make you sick.  We all have a lockbox full of secrets, lies, negative self-talk, pain and fear.  My authentic vulnerable way of connecting with people leaves the audience in a place that removes shame and guilt and is the catalyst for personal transformation. 

Having gone through my own personal journey as a family member of a loved one who struggled with unresolved trauma, mental health, and addiction, my personal mission is to educate people, business leaders, students, and professionals to help find their way physically, emotionally and spiritually.  Contact me to speak and inspire the attendees at your event today.

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