Workaholism is a painful condition that is not customary to talk about.

    Only lazy did not kick a subject of professional burning out on Habré. There were stories about how to deal with this, and the stories of people who personally faced this problem, and articles like "How to Avoid Burnout." In fact, the topic is important and necessary. For many developers, their profession translates into not only a way to earn money, but also into personal hobbies. People get real pleasure from what they do, and leaving the office in the evening they return home and pick their own pet-projects.

    But for some reason everyone is either bashfully silent, or they do not pay attention to such a thing as dependence on work. People who have just earned this sore confuse it with motivation and increased productivity. But in fact, dependence on work or (clinical) workaholism is the path to one of the most severe neuroses that cannot be compared even with professional burnout. And that's why.

    Workaholism is customary to praise, but it's a monster

    I didn’t just mention professional burnout. We all know its main features: aversion to work, decreased concentration, apathy. In short, a person becomes boring, lethargic and does not need anything from life. The keyboard is reluctant and only from very great need. One does not have to talk about any satisfaction from one’s activity. And it scares everyone very, very much, because in IT circles, most people actually like what they do.

    In contrast to burnout, they bring about a state of “working tonus” - when you are cheerful, fresh and productive. Just songs, like a Disney princess, you don’t sing. Labor in our society is also customary to praise, as is the desire for it. I don’t know where it came from, maybe life used to be easier (no) and you could play pranks daily (also not, but you never know), but the painful craving for work has been elevated to the rank of virtues in our society.

    But what if I say that workaholism is not such a cute fluffy bunny as it is painted? It’s true that mothers almost boast to their friends that their little basket son (even a little son under forty, three children and a dog) is so hardworking that she won’t be happy, and the phrase “just a workaholic” will slip through I have it! ” If mothers clearly knew what "joys" promise workaholism, they would not be so optimistic.

    Workaholism as it is

    In general, the term “workaholism” appeared relatively recently and was coined by Wayne Watts in his 1971 edition of the Confession of a Workaholic. At the same time, it is believed that workaholism precedes exactly the above-mentioned professional burnout, but personally I just can’t put in one line the physical dependence on work with subsequent apathy and denial of professional activity. Rather, workaholism only worsens over time, because as with alcoholism in tune with it, it is a physical addiction.

    Now I will give part of the list of signs of workaholism, which are kindly collected on the Wiki, choosing the most "hard" of them:

    • After hard work, it’s impossible for a workaholic to switch to another activity.
    • Concern about work disturbs him during his rest.
    • A workaholic believes that satisfaction can only be felt in work.
    • A workaholic feels energetic, confident and self-sufficient only when working or thinking about work.
    • If it does not work, then it feels dissatisfaction and irritation.
    • A workaholic does not organically understand the meaning of relaxation and receiving joy from it.
    • He panically avoids the state of "doing nothing."
    • The words are characteristic of him: "all," "always," "I must."
    • Usually a workaholic sets goals for himself that he cannot achieve, and makes excessive demands on himself.

    And now I will describe a number of states of a typical workaholic in which he constantly exists.

    A workaholic can be lazy, this is generally normal for all living things. But unlike an ordinary person, our victim is getting worse and worse in physical terms every hour. Just because it doesn't work.

    Rest is not about workaholics at all. No, they are resting, sleeping, watching a movie, but if ordinary people are distracted and accumulate strength during rest, the workaholic is charged with a level of anxiety. You know how it feels before a thunderstorm, or if something bad is supposed to happen. You can get rid of this only with a dose of shock work.

    A vacation for a workaholic is possible if you deprive him of any opportunity for work. The first 2-3 days, he will have a breakdown, after which our nervous system will go “under the skin” and hide to start pumping the nervous system of a workaholic with a vengeance upon returning home.

    Do not confuse workaholism and hard work

    Many people do not share workaholism and industriousness, believing that both of these phenomena are one and the same. Very often, people who simply can quickly "get together" are credited with the traits of workaholics. This is not true.

    First of all, you need to be aware that workaholism is an extremely painful and, in the long term, dangerous state of the human psyche. Workaholism does not give superpowers, productivity and other "Stakhanov" buns with which it is associated. A workaholic can be lethargic, exhausted, have problems with concentration. What distinguishes him from just a hardworking person is that he is physically ill without the process of work .

    At the same time, the results of labor fade into the background: as soon as the workaholic copes with the task assigned to him, the result instantly depreciates, it is no longer important. All that matters is getting and completing the next task.

    Workaholics still do not know how to "work on credit." No matter how many hours you worked yesterday, you also need to do something useful today. Neurosis is not affected by either complexity or the number of tasks assigned. They all disappear, as if in a black hole, and the workaholic goes in search of a new "dose". In general, the analogy with any type of drug addiction most clearly characterizes the state of a workaholic. The same dissatisfaction, the same physical dependence, the same search for a new dose. The longer a workaholic stays idle for objective or subjective reasons, the more stress he builds up. And getting rid of this condition is almost impossible.

    Risk groups and how they live with it

    Freelancers of all colors and sizes can be recorded in the “risk group”, but in reality no one is protected from this neurosis. How to deal with it is also not clear. On the one hand, workaholism, it seems, is useful. At least profitable. In addition, the problem of workaholics is successfully hushed up, and encouraged by business at all, because such people are extremely valuable and profitable. Workaholics themselves, like avid drug addicts, do not want and will not be treated.

    I did not come across a term such as "the struggle against workaholism." In society, this nervousness is perceived at the level of a joke: “Oh, well, it works, and okay. Everyone is working! ” An ordinary person simply does not understand the painful state of a workaholic, and out of ignorance can also envy him.

    They live with this phenomenon mostly in silence, sometimes also for a long time. Constant stress from not working or working is not exhausting and burning internal resources. It would seem that the logical outcome of such a state should be burnout, but this does not always happen. At the same time, workaholics are often clearly aware of their own problems, but they follow the path of least resistance: work and calm down for a while. When you live in a state of “compressed spring” for many years, such destructive tactics seem to be the best way out. Just work, close a couple of tasks, and then a couple more. Tomorrow will be a new day, new tasks, then you need to survive the weekend and Monday morning, and you're back on horseback.

    But there is a question: will the nervous system withstand such a rhythm and will you reach old age?

    And there is no answer to it, because workaholism is supposedly not a problem, and there is nothing to discuss it.

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