Working addiction goes further than committment

If you never rest and live stressed without apparent reason it is posible that you suffer a professional sickness. During 10 years a business administrator who preferred to omit her name, didn´t went on vacation and dedicated all her time to her manager job at an entertaining business.

Since then she has faced the consecuences of working addiction.

Eventhough this woman is passionate about her job, she recognizes that not having children or a couple, plus an acceptable salary were aspects that made more notorious her excessive attachment to her  job for almost a decade. Nobody doubts that sometimes working in excess, as well as committment with the position and the organization may generate admiration from bosses and coworkerss.

However, few recognize negative consequences that working addiction causes if it becomes a habit or eventhough a life style.

Human Resources experts identify working addict profile and give tips to overcome or cope with this excess.

For Doriana Faccini , Manager of Humans Dimensions International, specialized firm in organizational development, work obssesion is a most common phenomenon in modern society and comes up when there´s no adequate balance between working and personal activities.

“Generally organizations reward those employees that stay more time than regular at the office and that are available to leave their familiar or individual committments in order to fullfil  their  work responsabilities. This generates that many people search at any price to overcome business´ expectations and that is how they become work addicts”, she added.

Working addict´s profile

In the other hand, according to Career Partners International associated consulting, Andrea Gómez Cubillos, working “obsessed” characterize for:

  • Seek for any excuse to stay at the office
  • Be in charge of functions that doesn´t correspond to him
  • Take pendant homework
  • Give excessive importance to boss recognition
  • Neglect his personal life
  • Conceive his position as his existence most important aspect

According to Andres Rojas, marketing specialist and psychologist working addicts also present  electronic device dependant personalities, to such tools as mobiles, electronic agendas and pc´s.

Also they are controllers, perfectionists, afraid to failure, they don´t go on vacation, and have few or none social or entertaining activities.

In this specialist concept those who are obssesed with work usually don´t delegate activities and when they do, they exercise strict vigilance, eventhough on most insignificant details.

“Some of these characteristics are shared also by succesful people, but they are not working addicts. The difference is in knowing how to establish boundries and dedicate more time to different activities than offices´” said Inés Pardo, Top Executives, certificate coach.

Specialists agree that some working addiction consequences are unsatisfactory personal and family relationships, lack of space to share with children, couple or relatives, and friend´s circle limited to working environment.

In these cases, divorces are more frequent and the explanantion that justifies working excess usually is to take extra money home.

About health aftermaths, working addiction may trigger fatigue, stress, insomnia, stomach or cardiovascular diseases, ulcers, migrains, among others.

Myriam Plata Bermúdez, pyschologist, consultor and college teacher, commented that in some cases, officials  that work at financial areas such as accounting, treasury, budgets, payroll, administration and costs are the most likely to become working addicts.

Specialists also pointed as working addicts and profiles most likely to suffer this “disease”:  lawyers, journalists, economists, commercial areas employees and top executives between 30 and 40 years old.

However they clarified that behind a working addict there´s not always a monetary reason or a working recognition desire.

Finally, to counteract a working obssesion, experts recommend to identify symptoms and if necessary, contact an specialist to start adequate treatment for each case.

Working addiction, how to overcome it?

Working obssesion as any other addiction, need treatment and can only be controlled if there´s will and concrete actions.

For Doriana Faccini from Human Dimensions, the beginning starts when therés a high consciousness level.

Another alternative to face this situation may be to balance work and personal time, delegate certain functions, regulate sleep and alimentation, plan tasks and widen friends circle.

In this context, the business administrator that was a working addict, recognized that she dedicated to overcome this problem just when she was diagnosed cronic migraine, disease that gave her 30 days disability, and she was told she should take out of town vacations so nobody could contact her by working reasons.

In this ocassion she traveled to a place where she could dedicate exclusively to rest. When she returned to her job she could calm down and her working burden lowered, among other reasons, because the company hired two auxiliaries and the situation was manageable.

However, Inés Pardo from Top Executives said that overcoming working addiction requires an accompaniment adequate process, apart from the consciousness need to change office behaviors, learn to manage time and establish priorities.

“You must be very responsible at work, but not allow employment to control you, because in order to demonstrate efficiency and capability for everything, may cause long term serious family, working and personal problems” pointed the ex working addict.

Published article in El

August 15, 2008

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