The following is from an interview with Life Coach and Owner of Thriveworks Conway Counseling, Curtiss Robinson:
How would you define workaholism? Why do you think some people are workaholics?
The work–life balance has drastically changed in our country. The traditional 9-to-5 workday is a dinosaur. There is a new normal. Employers expect workers to accept extended hours. They require availability by electronic means: Email, text, and phone are never off. The number of self-employed (entrepreneurs) has also increased. I’m seeing that the risk-reward requirement is a twelve-hour day, six — and sometimes seven — days a week. Vacation time always shifts to the right on the calendar.
How do you think workaholism is related to mental health/how does it impact mental health?
The consequences of excessive work hours are dramatic. Twelve cups of coffee starts the day. Ambien or alcohol ends the day. Family time has been reduced to tucking kids into bed at night, and then waking them in time for the bus in the morning. For the workaholic, the whole world revolves around his or her work. They feel that they can’t stop. When an individual is working too many hours, the likelihood of depression, burnout, anxiety, and serious relationship conflicts increases.
A recent study suggested that young adults tend to be workaholics more so than older adults. Do you agree with this? Or do you think this is inaccurate from what you’ve seen in your professional opinion?
While anyone can become a workaholic, young people new to the work force are particularly ambitious and driven to prove themselves. That ambition can lead to a workaholic lifestyle. One needs to learn to slow down, and it’s possible that some older, or more experienced, people in the workforce have figured this out already.
What are some ways to get out of a workaholic mindset?
There are a number of ways that people can improve their work–life balance. Setting healthy boundaries, gaining insight into the costs of workaholism, and scheduling downtime can be effective tools. Seeing the negative effects on physical health, relationships, and all around life satisfaction and happiness can be a wakeup call for many.