The first money disorder we examined was relatively easy to detect. Workaholism on-the-other-hand is pretty difficult to convince people of being a disorder because it is so socially accepted. As a matter of fact it is almost worn as a badge of honor…think about how many of your favorite athletes, musicians, business tycoons, comedians, doctors, actors, the list is endless that pride themselves on how hard they worked to get to where they are. This is why this disorder is so hard to distinguish because “the things a workaholic works for and the things a non-addictive worker works for seem exactly the same on the surface [more money, success, financial security, etc.] but in actuality they are as different as night and day” (p. 42).
Workaholics vs Non-workaholics: The Businessman and the Fisherman Story.
The original meaning for a workaholic is someone whose addiction to work meant that they neglected other aspects of their larger life-such as sustaining intimate relationships, nourishing their creativity, or tending to their spiritual development (p.2). I remember reading a story about a successful businessman, who was constantly working, agreeing to stop working to take his wife on vacation to a Caribbean island. While on vacation he noticed that everyday a local fisherman would spend the early part of the day fishing, the mid-afternoon selling the fish he had just caught, and the evening using the day’s earnings to enjoy the festivities with his family. After so many days of watching his success the businessman suggested that the fisherman should give his gig a more organized business structure by hiring fisherman [to constantly catch more fish] and sellers [to constantly sell the incoming fish] allowing him to just manage everything.
‘Why would I want to do that?’ asked the fisherman
‘So you can get more money,’ replied the businessman
‘What do I need more money for?’ asked the fisherman still confused by this reasoning.
‘So you can provide for your family.’
‘I already do that.’
Depending on how you interpret this story could determine if you are a workaholic or not. The non-workaholics tend to side with the fisherman as he seems to have the perfect work-life balance as he is doing what he loves while also being able to provide and spend time with his family. The workaholics; however, tend to logically side with the businessman agreeing with the train of thought that more money would lead to a better life. The important aspect of the story was not about being able to provide for one’s family, but rather the businessman’s inability to stop thinking about work even while on a vacation.
Workaholism Warning Signs
- Preoccupation with money;
- Having no time for anything but work;
- Fantasy that a certain amount of money well end all problems;
- Feeling like there’s never enough;
- Inability to earn enough to meet your needs;
- Erratic work history;
- Fear of financial insecurity;
- Having employment that doesn’t seem to fit your talents or goals
Change Your Mindset
In a previous article, Change Your Mindset, we discussed the ridiculous amount of time that we are expected to be at work for. Workaholics are interesting because they are particularly adept at maintaining justifiable reasons for their intense and obsessive working. One favorite [excuse] is that working as [hard as] they do is the only way to get ahead and stay ahead (p.43). Eventually, when they get to the level they aspire to; then they will be able to kick back and relax. But does anyone truly stop their workaholism simply because they now earn a certain amount of money? Not really. Because if one feels that the blessings in their life were do to there own works then they will continue their pattern which is one of the reasons why it is so difficult for individuals to adjust to retirement. They will also teach their children this mentality making this addictive cycle reoccur in future generations.
Let’s not get misconstrued here: There is nothing wrong with working hard. The problem is when work unwillingly overshadows or protrudes into every facet of our lives manifesting into workaholism. We love to promote the ideology of working smarter not harder and unfortunately many workaholics tend to believe that success comes the harder you work.
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