IT Employment

You might be a workaholic if...

Here's a quiz that may tell you whether you're a workaholic.

I am writing this blog so that it can be scheduled to run next week while I'm on vacation. I'm a little leery of taking my vacation for the following reasons:

  • I have to scramble to work ahead for the week I'm out.
  • I will have to scramble to catch up when I get back.
  • When I come back, I will be faced with approximately 40 kerbillion unread email messages.
  • I'm not sure why, but companies that I work for seem to undergo major changes when I'm away. (One company I worked for sold half its business, one underwent a reorg, and another was sold altogether. I'm not saying it's directly related to my vacation, but things like that can make a girl superstitious.)

I have to ask myself: Am I a workaholic? I don't think so - I enjoy my leisure time way too much. But the duties of my job do remain topmost in my mind when I'm away from the office. I'm very invested in my job and in the TechRepublic site.

According to this quiz on CIO Insight's web page, I'm only half a workaholic since I never let work interfere with spending time with my family. It's an interesting quiz. Take it yourself and see where you stand.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

21 comments
webservant2003
webservant2003

I decided to "take the summer off." As a teacher I have two months of unemploy-- er vacation (you know we don't get paid for those two months) and this year I decided to not teach summer school and get away from work. Just kick back. Do a bit of writing, sleep late, etc. I did pretty good overall, but I still get emails requiring attention from the college every week. And somehow, I just can't help myself checking my work email. Like I said, my computer is an emailer.

info
info

Sometimes I think we can be SO intense at our work that our peers (and even superiors) find it a bit spooky. Especially when we're not as vested financially in the organization as they may be. http://xkcd.com/705/ Sometimes this is a good thing, because they leave us alone. However, we can sometimes be our own worst enemies. We struggle so hard to 'get things done' (and it's often not pride, but love of a challenge) that we don't realize if we were to suddenly throw all of this onto those that make the decisions, that extra resources would often MAGICALLY appear! A lot of the times they can GUESS what would happen if we suddenly became like a normal worker, and they don't KNOW enough to know for sure and take the chance that things would keep themselves running.

santeewelding
santeewelding

When you come back that TR has decamped with no forwarding address, it's because they can't do it without you. Really.

RW17
RW17

... If you think you are going insane, and you find you have to ask this question of yourself, it has been determined that this simple act of self-questioning means you are not going insane at all. Those who are insane think they are getting more sane, and those who oppose their opinion have gone insane... This is a good lesson for Toni's question, though in the opposite direction... If you have to ask yourself if you are workaholic (more than once) then, YES, you are! Those who know they are not workaholics don't have to ask themselves this question. Those who are avoiding the rhetorical answer to this question when they ask themselves it over and over are simply searching for any evidence to the contrary in order to ease their emotions on the matter. The fact that they cannot find much of such evidence implicitly provides the answer. I am a workaholic... and I enjoy my down-time far more than I enjoy my work. The two items are in no way mutually-exclusive. However, this breeds another question... would I love my work more if I simply did not find the need to be a workaholic to perform my assigned tasks. Or, put in another way, "If you were effectively employed to make love to the most beautiful person you know of today, every day, for 11 hours on average per day, with all the guilt and stress that would present itself if you were to miss a day of this task and, thus, have to make up the lost time at some point in the future, how exactly would you feel about this task after a while?" :-) Actually, we all know that too much of anything is not good, even though some of you might initially deceive yourselves and insist the "make love" scenario is one you could never tire of (I believe even Wilt-the-Stilt came to this conclusion...). Being a workaholic is no good, but it is today's reality. In fact, being an "anything-aholic" is no good, I would argue...

hippiekarl
hippiekarl

And why are people its adherents? Is there a substance called 'chocohol' as well, which, if eaten to compulsive excess will render one a 'chocoholic'? Alcohol-------alcoholic Anemia-------anemic Dyslexia-----dyslexic Work---------workOHOLic??? Any left-brainers want to explain what the syllable 'ohol' is doing in that last one? I've been wondering for years..... "Work bothers me; even when someone else is doing it" ----Mark Twain

jgmsys@yahoo.com
jgmsys@yahoo.com

I work for a company where 6 months out of the year constitutes busy season, and nobody in my group is permitted the luxury of contiguous time off during those 6 months, and what I mean by that is a week or more. So, when I do finally get to go on vacation, I leave all my gadgets at home. Work communication while vacationing, to me, is taboo. I don't want to be bothered while I'm resting from running myself into the ground for 6 months, regardless of who likes it or doesn't. That's MY time, nobody else's. Outside of vacation time, however, I suspect I do display many symptoms of workaholism.

collins465
collins465

there is no doubt, i am really a workaholic. Thanks to your post.

IT-b
IT-b

I love my job duties. I have way too many of them though. It's not possible to finish it all, and sometimes it's quieter at home or on the weekend. I don't work as much as others in this field, but my teenage kids are starting to think things like "I'll never work in computers because you have to work all the time", or "I don't want to work in a cubicle...that's where Mom works, and it definitely doesn't look like fun". Of course, that's also about the time when I remind them where the new clothes come from :)

Syngenuity
Syngenuity

I don't consider myself a workaholic - but then again, I'm probably biased and I've not known many like-minded folk to compare myself to. I'm currently organizing/testing my computer to allow me to remote back into my home server network from abroad when I take my first 2-week vacation in over 12 years. If my laptop doesn't come with me, I *absolutely* will NOT be able to relax, at all. And I feel no shame in that. I'm not trying to prove anything to anyone, it's just the nature of the beast for the work lifestyle of my choosing. As an entrepreneur and "key technologist" in 2 start-ups and one government organization, I see nothing wrong with making sure you're at least *reading* through your email to keep up with stuff (perhaps a couple of hours a day), while away. If there's anything urgent, I can stay on top of it and keep my client's BP (and my own) at a relative resting rate, by keeping the pressure from mounting in my absence. In this day and age, while the global markets are tanking and we're all coming to grips with a verified "double-dip" recession, I've worked enough [started consulting as a C programmer at 12; I'm now turning 46] to retire before I'm 50 with part ownership in 2 companies and an anticipated majority stake of an endeavor that took me 9 years to bring to fruition. I'm able to raise funds in these tough times, at very favourable rates and I currently employ 2 programmers who are more than welcome to telecommute when they feel like it - as we've kept costs down by avoiding an "office space" in lieu of good pay to keep everyone happy enough to meet their deadlines (with smiles on their faces). Having said that, I'll be the first to admit that my priorities are pretty skewed off the norm, with respect to my *personal* leisure time... I still spend time with family: I make sure to spend a day or two with my aging parents every couple of weeks; I still "game play" with my brother online and babysit my niece for my sister when I can [I'll be visiting aunts, uncles and cousins overseas in November] - but I've always had the goal of self-sustenance and I'm often regarded as the tech "visionary" behind the scenes [their words, not mine - I know there are a LOT of techies out their with my skill set and far more, we only come across as *stars* because we take the time (when we're not "working") to keep up with our craft - because we love it and we know you only get out what you put in: computers themselves, taught us that]. Bottom line: in a world where 24/7 connectivity is no longer the exception, why label people as workaholics because they want to properly service their client or customer or the public? If I *can* retire when I'm 50 (yes, "will" retire is a different story - I love what I'm doing) - it's simply because I've "banked" so many hours of work (for reward) when I was younger. It doesn't take a workaholic to plan ahead and budget time accordingly. Actually, in doing so, I've started hitting the gym about 3 years ago to strive for a fitter "me" as I devote more time to travel and shift it away from work: *quality* time is just as important as quantity where your life is concerned... and yes, my notebook is coming with me for that, too! There are a few things I've learned: 1. Family & Friends are more important than work (they're - hopefully - still there, when the work is all finished and you want someone to play with) 2. Work isn't "work" at all, when you love what you do... so, first and foremost, concentrate on doing what you love (for pay) - the "real" money will always follow because the quality of your work will always show through [it may take some time, but it'll come] 3. Patience is a virtue and Luck is the residue of design. (Be patient with yourself in your design phase of a project and you'll be surprised at how quickly the rest of it comes together [with minimal frustration] ...and with your "self-patience", patience for others seems to naturally follow) 4. Definition of an entrepreneur? "One who enjoys the fruits of his labour after growing a tree from the pits of his luck." (all mine) [ok, now I've got to get back to work!] ;)

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

May think that what we do is strange but even then I doubt it. I personally get paid by some Idiot to do what I love doing so I can not get enough of it. But then the same applies to Surgeons, Solicitors and other professionals. I have many friends or should that be fiends in those industries and they are exactly the same as me. Col

Lazarus439
Lazarus439

I doubt there are too many people in this line of work who don't like it. Their boss may be a total ass and the company a half step below a dungeon, but the work is fun. That makes it hard to shut off, even on vacation.

delaorden
delaorden

Well, I don't think you're workaholic. What happens IMO is that we are not really in total vacation, specially if your area is technology, information etc... We can not afford to switch off completely from our everyday tasks. So what we really take is half vacations with half up-to-dates . The only thing we really take at full capacity is the "open mouth" and you??ll know it at the end of your half vacations in your first scale stop and go.

toni.bowers
toni.bowers

But now that you mention it, I'm here at 7:53 and no one's in the office yet. Heyyyy.... Santee, I think they just took the opportunity to move while I was out, so they didn't have me running after the moving van going "Wait for me guys!"

gechurch
gechurch

Sometimes the simplest answer is the right one... 'workic' sounds stupid!

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

WTH is a Vacation? I keep hearing people talk about these whatever that are but I'm yet to experience one. I did have a few weeks off work when the wife???s daughter was born but that was in 1976 and other than sickness I haven't had any time off since. What is a Vacation and why do you have them? Col :D

toni.bowers
toni.bowers

When it's a chosen career and not just a job, it's hard not to let work consume you sometimes.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

I love my work. Sometimes I wonder about the job...

Head_IT_Man
Head_IT_Man

.... is symptomatic of us living in the "Information Age". We crave it all the time. Even if it's work related. I suspect being a workaholic is closely aligned to being under-resourced at work, which is also symptomatic of today's information age.... or, should that be "Mobile Workforce". We establish the ability to hotdesk and work remotely, and therefore there are increased expectation that work will get done, regardless of the time required to complete it. Comes back to under resourcing departments, and increasing demands on staff. As you rise through the ranks, there's implicit expectation to work more than your standard 40 hour week. In my current role, I don't have the resources to complete the required work, so the resources I DO have (ie, 2.4 FTE) just have to work until the job gets done.

hippiekarl
hippiekarl

And more stupid still is the assumption somewhere along the line that we'd all accept the idea that a thing called 'workahol' exists (and that those who can't ignore its allure are....workaholics). That type of inane lexicography gives both work AND alcohol a bad name through association. We're all intelligent adults; couldn't we address those who are unhealthily obsessed with their job without invoking a completely different obsession (alcohol to excess)? How about: "Do you--or someone you know--suffer the heartbreak of 'work addiction'? I hear there's a support group now...."

hippiekarl
hippiekarl

glad you got it (we watched WAY too much TV, didn't we?!). It was a joke for people our age----the 'support group' part was for the younger crowd. Who says work(ahol)ics---and geeks---don't have a sense of humor?!

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

The derivation is logical and almost intuitive. The first time I heard the word, I had no need to ask what it meant. Besides, every time I hear the expression "the heartbreak of...", I want to complete it with 'psoriasis'.