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"Workaholics": Symptoms & Types
First of all, there is no such thing as the “typical” workaholic. The idea of the work-obsessed manager who is “on the job” around the clock and has to be available corresponds to a clichéd idea of work addiction. It expresses itself more multifaceted. Sometimes unnoticed in silence, with never-ending accuracy that prevents you from completing a job. For many workaholics their self-imposed high standards stand in the way, so that the amount of time invested increases. It is not uncommon for job addicts to make a pilgrimage to work on days off or on weekends to do one or the other “important thing”. A feeling of irreplaceability is typical: they often think that they can do everything better themselves and that nothing works without them.
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Work addicts have problems in their free time to endure the “dolce far niente” (sweet idleness). Being unproductive arouses feelings of guilt or even withdrawal symptoms in them, which drive them to stock up on unnecessary tasks. Instead of enjoying free time and pursuing hobbies or activities with family or friends, performance is again demanded of oneself, such as meticulous gardening, cleaning, cataloging collected things, running marathons.
Signs of workaholism
There are no official criteria for diagnosing work addiction. Possible characteristics of work-addicted behavior are:
- Everything revolves around work: thinking, acting and talking are focused on work most of the time (addictive trait: decline in work behavior).
- Always and everywhere work: The person concerned no longer has the workload under control. Leisure and work are becoming increasingly blurred (addictive trait: loss of control).
- It doesn't work without work: The person affected cannot go without work even during non-working times such as vacation or weekend. Mails are retrieved, etc. To avoid conflicts, it often happens secretly (addictive characteristic: inability to abstain).
- Nervous without work: The person affected will experience withdrawal symptoms when they are not working. Vegetative symptoms such as palpitations, sweating, shortness of breath etc. are also possible (addictive trait: withdrawal symptoms).
- There is even more performance: Similar to the dose increase in drug addiction, there is a certain tolerance development in work addiction. In order to get into the “work frenzy”, people work more and more (addictive characteristic: tolerance development and dose increase).
It is not always perfectionism or a strong sense of responsibility that make a workaholic. Job addiction can also be characterized by a lack of flexibility or difficulty in making decisions. In the literature, there is a rough distinction between four different types of work addiction, which exemplifies how different and contradicting it can be. Combinations with one another are also possible. Every workohalic shows individual behavior.
|The dogged guy||
|The overwhelmed-inflexible type||
|The overwhelmed-compulsive type||
|The uncertain type||
Source: Types of work addiction according to Poppelreuter, from "Psychological stress at work"