Are You a Chocoholic or Workaholic?
I’m Addicted to Chocolate
Truth be told I’ve always had a bit of a sweet tooth. In fact, I don’t bring sweets into my home. It’s my dark dirty little secret. I can’t say no. My chocoholism began as a child. I would regularly sneak chocolate and ice cream into my bedroom. I couldn’t get enough. When I went away to college, my mom found my stash of empty frosting containers and chocolate candy wrappers beneath my bed.
From Chocoholism to Workaholism
The thrill of work, the satisfaction, purpose, the importance it brings adds to this addiction. Technology and the accessibility to feed this addiction, workaholism only adds to the desire. It’s like leaving a bag of peanut butter chocolate cups on my kitchen table — gonzo. Sooner or later the thrill, the need, the addiction, and the desire gets to be just too much. We give in. As a new college grad in 2001, I remember daydreaming of the day I would have my own Blackberry to answer calls and send work emails all at a moment’s notice. In my eyes, my boss was so lucky. He was important; spending hours on conference calls and answering emails; on call every single minute of every day. I guess this makes me an overachiever.
Most workaholics can’t strike a balance between work and home. We’re constantly taking calls over a family dinner or checking email during vacation. Admit it. I’m certain that most of us checked our email and responded to emails over the recent holiday. In fact a Harris Interactive study says 72% of us checked our work email and 41% of us are frustrated and annoyed when we receive work email during holiday downtime.
New Study Says Work Addiction Can Be Healthy
A new study released by Rouen Business School in France says workaholism can actually be constructive. Chocolate too. Workaholism is defined by work involvement, feelings of being compelled to work and work enjoyment. The study says that as long as the work is self-driven and provides self-worth and feelings of accomplishment working in excess is a-okay. Baruch, the study’s author compares chocoholism to workaholism saying, “Eating some chocolate on a regular basis can have health benefits and provides energy and satisfaction. Same with work for a workaholic.”
I can almost hear managers who learn of this study applauding in unison while printing, forwarding and sharing the results via interoffice mail. I’m tempted myself but not for the reasons you might imagine. The study supports my chocolate habit as a good thing and not the overindulgent one I’ve been programmed to believe.
But hold on there . . . not so fast Mister or Miss Manager. This study is contrary to almost all work life balance studies and psychology. Barbara Killinger, a writer for Psychology Today and noted clinical psychologist describes workaholics and those that display a lack of work life balance suffer from a soul-destroying addiction becoming emotionally crippled. Personally, that sounds a lot like my first marriage.
I’ve done some of my best work burning the midnight oil and putting in an 80 plus work week but always in moderation. I cannot sustain 80 hour work weeks forever. Otherwise, you can bet I’m cashing in my FMLA and checking myself into a 12 step addiction program. Time for a little vacay don’t you think?
Am I wrong? Does work provide enough purpose? Should the workforce strike a balance like Killinger recommends?