Women and Workaholism

I was watching Joyce Meyer one morning and she was talking about how she was involved in everything. She wanted to do everything or found it hard to delegate. It took a while but she finally realized that she was not super woman and had to give up a lot of the responsibilities. She worked until 6pm and then she spent the rest of the time doing what she wanted. She stressed the importance of rest–of taking care of our bodies by eating well, drinking lots of water and juices and alcohol in moderation and getting lots of rest.

How many of us women like to handle everything and feel as if we ought to be doing something when we are not working? How many of us burn ourselves out by doing office work, church work and domestic work?

How many of us try to be a superwoman? I can’t help thinking about Moses who was trying to do everything by himself until his father-in-law advised him to delegate.

Workaholics can be men or women and share common traits: a desk stacked high with projects, always working, demanding, constantly sweating the small details and a hard-line perfectionist.

In most cases, workaholics aren’t team players, don’t delegate authority or tasks well and routinely act as if everything is all about them.

Dr. Bryan E. Robinson, a psychotherapist in private practice in Asheville, N.C., and author of Chained To The Desk: A Guidebook for Workaholics, Their Partners and Children, and The Clinicians Who Treat Them said, “It’s not about long hours. “It’s about the inability to turn it off. It’s a question of balance.”

Robinson defines the difference between hardworking people and workaholics. A hard worker sprints at the office, performing complicated tasks efficiently and well. Such people know how to relax and enjoy life away from the office and share outside interests with family and friends. But a workaholic constantly thinks and talks about work, even when at home or on at the beach. As a result, the workaholic’s family suffers, and despite long hours at the office, productivity lags.” Perfectionism overrides efficiency, according to Robertson as a workaholic will spend unnecessary time on a project, often going over it again and again before passing it on. Employers don’t benefit from workaholics but they do from hardworkers who have better working relationships with co-workers and are more efficient.

How can you tell if you are a workaholic? Well, there’s one way to find out. Click here and take Dr. Robertson’s quiz.

There are physical signs of workaholism. These include Physical signs of workaholism may include headaches, fatigue, indigestion, chest pain, shortness of breath, nervous tics or dizziness. There are changes in behavior as well. The person may have temper outbursts, experience restlessness, insomnia, have difficulty relaxing, irritable, impatient, forgetful, have difficulty concentrating, experience boredom and mood swings from euphoria to depression.

Workaholics can’t be good parents because they are so focused on work. Their relationships with their children suffer as well as their relationships with their spouses. They make terrible bosses because they tend to micro-manage their subordinates and they are responsible for the morale problems among the staff–causing people to burn out, stay away from work and experience anxiety. It is believed that workaholics suffer from low self-esteem and lack of confidence.

In the past, workaholics have typically been men, but the problem is becoming more common among women as greater numbers of females move into upper management.

Workaholism is a serious problem. It can lead to health problems and some people say that the the physical and mental problems that stem from workaholism may cost U.S. companies as much as $160 billion per year. Dr. Robertson warns, “Workaholism destroys marriages and harms children,” We need to give workaholism the stigma it deserves.”

According to Bryan Robinson, a psychotherapist in Asheville, N.C., and professor emeritus at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, there are four categories of workaholics. They are:

1. “The bulimic workaholic feels the job must be done perfectly or not at all. Bulimic workaholics often can’t get started on projects, and then scramble to complete it by deadline, often frantically working to the point of exhaustion — with sloppy results.

2. The relentless workaholic is the adrenaline junkie who often takes on more work than can possibly be done. In an attempt to juggle too many balls, they often work too fast or are too busy for careful, thorough results.

3. The attention-deficit workaholic often starts with fury, but fails to finish projects — often because they lose interest for another project. They often savor the “brainstorming” aspects but get easily bored with the necessary details or follow-through.

4. The savoring workaholic is slow, methodical, and overly scrupulous. They often have trouble letting go of projects and don’t work well with others. These are often consummate perfectionists, frequently missing deadlines because “it’s not perfect.”

Robinson added that “”…one thing that we do know is that workaholics tend to seek out jobs that allow them to exercise their addiction. The workplace itself does not create the addiction any more than the supermarket creates food addiction, but it does enable it. Workaholics tend to seek high-stress jobs to keep the adrenaline rush going.”

As with any addiction, there is help. There is a 12-step for workaholics. For more information, visit http://www.workaholics-anonymous.org/page.php?page=home. You can seek counselling. Speak to your boss. No corporation or business should encourage workaholism. It is an addiction that needs to be treated.

If you suspect that someone is suffering from workaholism, support her and encourage her to take the 12 step program or to seek counselling. Don’t blame her for her addiction. Support her.

There is nothing noble or admirable about being a workaholic. It causes problems in families and relationships. No one is perfect and no one likes someone who tries to be. There is more to life than work. We work to make a living not live to work. We need to take care of ourselves and not work ourselves into early graves. No more text messaging on our Blackberries or spending long hours on the computer or pouring over a mountain of paperwork. We need to leave the work at the office and spend quality time with our families.

Source: http://www.forbes.com/2006/04/19/workaholics-anonymous-office-cx_sr_0420work.html



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