Career

5 Signs You’re Actually A Workaholic

Growing up, we were all told time and time again about the importance of hard work, by our parents, grandparents, teachers and that condescending neighbour who was only two years older than us.

While the hard-work lecture may have elicited an eye roll as angsty teens, as we get older we start to understand. In 2018, putting in the hard yards isn’t just about rising through the ranks in the workplace and earning lots of money (although that’s always nice). It’s about creating your dream lifestyle and building a legacy you can be proud of.

For some, this means becoming the CEO of a company they’re passionate about. For others, it’s simply about doing everything they can to help others. Whatever the lofty career aspiration, one fact remains the same: To achieve what nobody else has (or at least, 99% of people), you have to do what nobody else does. In most cases, that means doing more than showing up in the office from 9 to 5 and scrolling through Facebook for eight hours.

When you’re working for a cause, you don’t mind sacrificing nights out with your friends (or sacred TV time) and working around the clock. That said, there IS such a thing as working too hard. When your health, relationships and mental wellbeing start to take a nosedive, it’s safe to say you’ve taken the hustle too far. Here, career coach, HR professional and owner of Pop Your Career Rebecca McFarland gives us the lowdown on the signs that you’ve crossed that line from hard worker to workaholic.

#1 You work when you’re on holidays

For months, you’ve been looking forward to your beach getaway. Then, it finally arrives and while you’re lying by the pool with your mai tai, you find yourself wondering how everyone is going back in the office.

“By working through your holidays, you are basically telling yourself that your wellbeing is not valued.”

“I’ll just take a quick peek at my email,” you tell yourself. Before you know it, you’re sucked back in and are brainstorming ideas for that project you have to work on once you return. Sound familiar?

“It’s law for employers to provide holiday leave to employees for a reason,” Rebecca says. “People need to take a break from working, for their physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. By working through your holidays, you are basically telling yourself that your wellbeing is not valued.”

The same goes for people who are self-employed. While it’s great to be able to work from anywhere you want in the world, there’s no point travelling if you’re going to be glued to your laptop the whole time. Make sure you give yourself designated holidays, too.

#2 It’s all you think about

If work is the first thing you think about when you wake up and the last thing you think about when you doze off, it can be cause for concern.

“If work is taking over your late night and early morning thoughts, you need to ask yourself a couple of questions,” Rebecca says. “What else do you have in your life that makes you feel fulfilled, aside from your career? How much time do you dedicate to nurturing these other areas of your life? Your responses to these questions alone will be telling.”

If you work from home, it’s also important to give yourself at least a few hours before bed to unwind to ensure you’re getting a proper night’s rest.

#3 Its affecting your relationships

Have you been snapping at your significant other over silly things because you’re tired and stressed? Or perhaps you can’t remember the last time you caught up with your friends or family? If so, it may be time to revisit your priorities.

“If work is getting in the way of your relationships, you really need to stop for a moment and think about what is most important to you. Are you really willing to sacrifice your relationship for a deadline?” Rebecca says. “Here’s a word of advice: Your family will be with you long after your career is done and dusted so don’t take them for granted.”

#4 All you talk about is work

When you’re passionate about your work, it’s only natural that you’re going to want to talk about it with anyone who will listen. But if you find it’s dominating the majority of your discussions, it’s a surefire sign you’re on your way to becoming a workaholic (and probably really dull to listen to).

“There is nothing more boring than someone who talks about work non-stop,” Rebecca says. “And quite frankly, your friends and family want to know how you are doing, not how lazy Sally in IT is or how many hours you’ve put in to finish your latest project.”

#5 It’s affecting your health

Every now and again, you may have to pull an all-nighter, heat up a frozen meal or skip a gym session to meet an urgent deadline. But if you’re making a habit out of it, you’re not doing yourself any favours.

“If you don’t appreciate your health and you prioritise work above your own wellbeing, you’re eventually going to crash and burn,” Rebecca says. “If you don’t take care of yourself, you’ll find that you won’t be healthy enough to work, and forced time off to deal with a health issue is a very real possibility.”

As well as eating well, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep, make sure you’re taking some time out of your busy schedule to practice self-care. Your mind, body, work quality and the people around you will thank you for it.


Emma Norris is a Sydney-based freelance writer and the owner of copywriting business, contentinthecity.com and lifestyle blog, agirlinprogress.com. When she’s not playing with words, she’s either doing pushups or stuffing her face with pizza. You can follow her on Instagram @emmajanenorris.

(Main image: Suits/USA Network)