Are you tired of working long days that end up feeling like early tomorrows? If so, you’re not the only one. Are you a workaholic closet-case, or do you know you’re working yourself to the bone? Help me, help you.
But first thing’s first, this article should begin with a personal disclaimer as the content might sound awfully hypocritical to my friends and family. But anyways, let’s get right to it.
Are you a workaholic?
A workaholic is someone with a compulsive and unrelenting need to work. So the main question is: what is your line of work? How do you view your work? And what is the purpose of your work?
Some readers may simply view their jobs as collecting a paycheck and paying off the bills. Many of the people answering this way probably work hard in traditional positions, in stale environments, repeating mundane tasks as they itch for the week to end.
Others are luckier, not because they earn more, have a bigger office (or office to start with) and an expense account, but simply because they view their jobs as far more than that. As idealistic as it may sound, a profession has the potential to be a calling: a greater purpose in life as one seeks to blend family, love, career, health and friends (in no particular order).
As you may imagine, work means and entails entirely different things to these two types of people. As a result, my advice to the two groups is specific. Clearly, what I tell the first group who work to survive, is to put their health, family and friends above and beyond everything pertaining to work.
While they should remain loyal to employers, they should also realize that, as cruel as it may sound, they are nothing more than a commodity, a pawn in a chess game with too many kings and queens and not enough rooks and knights. Therefore, they don’t carry much weight in the game.
Where do you fit?
To the other group, I have an entirely different piece of advice, and as you can guess, herein lies the introductory disclaimer.
First and foremost, you must always strive to make your job fun. Whether it entails a trivial task while in college, or a more challenging position in the job market.
Prioritizing “fun” very highly is important in life: whether it involves family affairs, friends or one’s career. This said, one should swerve away from jobs that would be painful and boring. Admittedly, not everyone has this luxury.
Yes, banking and law are great fields, but they are not for everyone, even though we all have our calling and should pursue it aggressively.
Personally, my friends point out that I work too much. I tell them that I have too much fun for it to be considered work. And even if I would rather be outside on a nice summer afternoon sometimes, it is worth it to be in the office, even on weekends. Yes, you heard me correctly.
Would you get up for an emergency Saturday morning meeting?
At my previous job, I recall the CFO paging me at 8 or 9am on a Saturday. Now, besides the fact that I was still feeling the repercussions of Friday night, I do not think that anyone is up that early on Saturdays. Regardless, after the initial shock of realizing that your services are required, you put things into perspective.
What perspective could possibly put this in a favorable light? Well, if the CEO and CFO are meeting on a Saturday to go over a presentation for bankers and request that you be there, shouldn’t you take this as compliment?
Weekends are made to relax, but business never stops. If you want to reach the pinnacle of success, then I have news for you — take a break. Take two if you need, but don’t forget that the first one to snooze, loses.
People usually expect a pat on the back. So what if you don’t get one? Do you become bitter and go postal? Of course not, you just realize that when you are the head honcho, you pat several of your soldiers so that they continue to enjoy helping you out.
My old bosses were actually pretty nice and recognized this. Mostly, they knew I was crazy enough to actually go in and be part of an early Saturday morning meeting.
Time to move on
Old habits die hard, all the more so at my new job where I find that I am constantly thinking of ways to improve the business. While this is good in itself, I do admit that over the past 6 months, I have let things get out of balance. The truth is that I am having more fun than ever, and feel that no other position will allow me to do what I’m doing now.
The most determined and driven individuals would argue that their jobs are essentially extensions of their personalities. Clearly, there comes a point and time when they decide to lay low and emphasize their families, but most businessmen understand that at the end of the day, their impact outweighs putting in extra work hours. While balance is very important in life, so is seizing the moment.
Being a workaholic is dangerous if you have no outlets to unleash your energy. But if you find a job where you can be creative, learn, exchange, help, share and execute, then consider yourself lucky and be grateful for the opportunity you have. You can always catch up on sleep tomorrow.
Ash Karbasfrooshan is also the author of Course To Success, available at www.CourseToSuccess.com.