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What Drives Us to Be Workaholics (Even If We Hate Our Jobs)

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We as a society tend to work ourselves too hard. How many people do you know who’ve dragged themselves into work with the flu, checked business email on vacation or even put off taking a vacation to put in more hours? You may be guilty of this yourself.

Whether you love your job or it’s just a paycheck, chances are you’ve felt the pressure of our collective drive to work harder and longer and to put our careers before other parts of your life. But what is it that drives us to be workaholics?

According to a recent article by Dorie Clark on Harvard Business Review, the answer is manifold. Whether it’s fear of the competition, a desire to impress others or a mistaken idea of happiness, our perception of work — and our priorities as a result of that — are often skewed.

As Clark writes:

Even when we know working to excess isn’t good for us, it’s hard to cut back. Most of us aren’t as extreme as the investment bank intern who died in London after allegedly working 72 hours straight to impress his bosses. But according to Christensen, we may not be that different, either: it’s a matter of degree, and timing. Overwork may not kill us tomorrow, but —  if left unaddressed — it may kill our most important relationships in 10 or 20 years.

To read the full article, click here.

Are you (or someone you know) a workaholic? Why do you think we work ourselves so hard?

Brazen powers real-time, online events for leading organizations around the world. Our lifestyle and career blog, Brazen Life, offers fun and edgy ideas for ambitious professionals navigating the changing world of work.

  • http://internetdreams.com/ Samuel

    I’m definitely a workaholic but the only difference between me and the rest of them is I love what I do and would go 72 hours straight to accomplish a goal!

    If you’re working to impress (not your audience), then it might come back to bite you. Yikes to that worker!

    - Sam

  • http://www.it-sales-leads.com/ Barbara Mckinney

    Responsibility is what drives us to be workaholics even if we hate our jobs. Employers whose suffering to a very stressful work should take time reading this article.

  • dkd

    I am the most hated type of American. I
    am discriminated against, openly mocked and ridiculed. I have been
    told my whole life that the way I feel is shameful, and that I can
    and should change.

    I do not have dark skin, or a
    non-normative gender presentation. I do not worship a forbidden god.
    America hates me not because of what I am, but because of what I am
    not.

    I am not a worker.

    I don’t get pleasure from working and I
    don’t look to employment to give my life meaning. I don’t enjoy being
    busy all the time. I do not aspire to any sort of career.

    I am not a bad person. I make an effort
    to treat everyone with kindness. I am quiet and honest and
    compassionate.

    But I’ve never had a job I like, and I
    can think of no job I would like to have. I feel sick when I spend
    too much time looking at a computer. My back rebels after a few days
    of manual labor.

    I like to walk underneath big trees. I
    like to watch the movement of water, the movement of clouds. I like
    to watch the movement of my own mind. I don’t need a lot. A roof and
    a full stomach, a space to wander and feel myself alive, a few
    people who love me and a few people I can love.

    I am not a worker and I don’t want to
    be.

    Why is that not OK?