Waltzing with the Workmonster
Hi, my name is Sarah, and I’m a workaholic.
It wasn’t meant to work out this way. Back in the eighties we discovered the “workaholic” syndrome.
At the time I remembered thinking it was nonsense. The theory, at least according to the experts, was that workaholics came into work too early, left too late and the reason they were doing this was some mumbo jumbo about avoiding your family and the emptiness of your own soul.
In fact, they classed workaholism at the same level as alcoholism, as a coping mechanism for the anomie of modern life, or what have you.
I still think it’s a load of hooey. Look, I came of age in the early eighties. I remember the tight labor market and the hero mode most intellectual industries worked under. My husband was in computers. He was expected to work till he dropped or the project was done, whichever came first. People who didn’t pull for the team were often let go.
Then it occurred to me that this workplace climate and the expectations might very well have encouraged workaholism.
You see, at least according to the experts, the problem is that workaholics are always “on” but their rate of return for the time invested gets smaller and smaller.
You’ve all known this person. He comes to the office before everyone. He leaves last. He is always insanely busy. But when you analyze what he’s done, it’s almost nothing.
And that’s where I found myself this week – and many weeks throughout the year. I’m always working, but I’m not accomplishing my most important tasks -- to wit, finishing novels.