Are you addicted to work?

November 03, 2017

Before Morrison & Company, I worked in the insurance industry. Now before you get red-faced and start telling me what a racket insurance is, let me just say one thing. Our office actually cared about our clients, and I often spent more time concerned with their wellbeing than my own. With time, I became more and more focused on my job and eventually, it was the only thing I thought of. I was staying late, working lunches, and meeting clients after hours. I was becoming addicted to my job.

Although my addition began from good-hearted intentions, I was finding I couldn’t sleep well anymore, and the longer I worked in that sector, the more invested (& consumed) I became. After all, I was proud to work for a small office where we saw the fruit of our efforts in our customers’ daily lives. We did great work for our clients. While I was whole-heartedly dedicated to my job, it was clearly consuming my life.

I see now that I am not alone. Countless people are addicted to their jobs today. Forbes references a study conducted by the University of Bergen in Norway that found a strong correlation between an addiction to work and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). In fact, “32.7% of workaholics also met the criteria for ADHD, compared with only 12.7% of non-workaholics.” The study goes on to reveal that those with ADHD believe work is a positive way to focus excess energy, but it can also be used negatively when they feel a need to compensate for their shortcomings by working evenings or weekends.  

Last year, I realized this can apply to everyone (far beyond those affected by ADHD), and it certainly applied for me. I had a running list of things to learn or do but was too tired from work to do them. I decided I had to change the habit. Being addicted to work is just that - a bad habit – but also something you can break free from. You cannot blame a work addiction on your temperament or wiring, it’s like any other addiction (i.e., drugs, alcohol, etc.), and it requires immediate attention to avoid long-term, adverse impacts. I am so thankful I gave it that attention. Now, I can proudly say I have an Italian stamp in my passport, took a new job, and have found countless other ways to better balance my life.

I encourage you all to continue your hard work, make goals for your career, and achieve them. If you’re building a business for your future or your family’s future, it is, of course, understandable that you would invest a little more time into the business. The key word there is “a little.” Just remember that most everything “good” in our lives is that way because of moderation. Excess in any one area of life usually promotes unhealthy behaviors. Keep your personal life in mind too and make goals there as well. Whether it’s learning something new or traveling around the globe, commit time to better your professional and personal life. As learned in math, all the parts make the whole.

About the Author 

+Michelle Genova is a consultant at Morrison & Company, providing business valuations, business planning (including budgeting, cash flow forecasting, and strategic planning), feasibility studies, recruitment, interim executive CFO services, competitive grant writing and special projects that don't fit into any conventional category. You can contact Michelle directly at mgenova@morrisonco.net or via telephone at 530-893-4764 ext. 209.

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