I’ve realised that most of the people I know are workaholics. Granted, they don’t necessarily see it that way, although I’m sure at least some of them would own up to it. It’s not even considered a dirty word, really. Lots of people are happy to wear it, and some even take it as a badge of honour.
To me, though, it doesn’t have anything to do with the quality of work you produce or the value of your service to the world. It just means you habitually distract yourself from your inner life through work. I’m usually inclined to think it’s none of my business – each to their own and all – but lately I’ve been feeling waves of annoyance when my close friends display this type of behaviour. Why? Because it means they’re letting their lives spiral out of their control, which can’t be healthy in the long term.
I also don’t want to deal with the fallout of their distracted lives, which is something that often ends up on me, despite my best efforts. I feel like my friends see me as their stand-in (and unpaid) life-fixer simply because I’m one of the few people they know who isn’t going around in a constant state of stress. It’s high time for them to start looking for actual stress management consultants. Melbourne is cosmopolitan enough; there are 100% people out there who offer this service professionally.
Of course, it would help if more employers offered corporate stress management training. Then people wound’t have to eat into their precious personal time in order to remain a valued corporate asset. Ultimately, though, people need to take responsibility for their health and wellbeing. Our culture encourages pushing personal resources to the max in the name of productivity and growth, but most biological organisms need periods of rest to balance out this strenuous activity. It’s a cycle, people.