Workaholics have always existed. We can’t blame the internet for ruining people’s lives and chaining them to their work. There was a time, however, when being a workaholic was frowned upon. It’s likely where the proverb, ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’ came from.
But not anymore. Nowadays, people work all day and half the night. They mainline caffeine, living on a diet that is rich in energy drinks and coffee. They proudly proclaim to the world that they never stop working. They take their work everywhere with them. They live it. They breathe it. They take no breaks from it.
And people love them for it. They become heroes to the masses of people who can’t find the time to do more than they already do.
Workaholics are held up as some shining example of what all others need to be. We need to run on three hours sleep and a caffeine drip. We need to work all 18-hours a day. We live in a society of excess and nothing is safe from the idea that enough is never enough—not even working.
But workaholics aren’t superior and their lifestyle, while it may work for them (or not) should not be something society strives to emulate. Especially when workaholism has been linked to health problems like alcoholism, sleep problems, depression and anxiety, heart disease, high blood pressure and even premature death.
We’ve been trained like seals and made to believe that good people work hard and seldom take breaks. We’ve been trained to believe that having one vacation day every year is plenty of time off. We’ve been taught that we don’t need to stop and smell the roses until we retire, but if you work yourself into an early grave, you’ll never know just how aromatic those thorny blooms are.
Society tells us, ad nauseam, that if you work hard good things will happen to you. Society also wants us to compete with everyone around us. Work more. Make more. Consume more. Have more. Use more. Do more. Be more. More. More. More. And on it drones.
The perceived superiority of workaholics is ridiculous and unfounded. Yes. Workaholics work a lot. But is chugging coffee all day so you can claim to thrive on no sleep really worth it? Most of these people will burn out, or worse, their work ethic will turn against them and they’ll do serious damage to their health or their relationships with loved ones.
It’s time for us to strike a balance. Take a break. Set down the caffeine. Knock off at a reasonable hour.
Work will still be there tomorrow.