On Workaholism

Hi. My name is Tim((Hi Tim!)) and I am a workaholic.

I’d like to lead off by saying that in general, I am a person who is very aware of what I am good at and what I am not good at. I am very good at online geography quizzes, making Excel do exactly what I want it to, turn-based strategy games, and snarking at whatever happens to be on television at a given moment. I’m very bad at telling who people are just by looking at their faces, singing((Outside of a very, very small range of songs.)), keeping my opinion to myself, and making grilled cheese. This trait also applies to my work experience and the skills/traits related to various jobs I’ve held. I’m very good at calming people down, creative thinking, and designing properly scaffolded courses within a curriculum. I’m very bad at sales, business politics, and having any semblance of work-life balance.

That last item — work-life balance — is of particular note for a few reasons. First and foremost, while it is a factor that has become very obvious to me at my current job, this job is not the first job I’ve had this happen with. When I was in high school, I lived so close to the pizza shop I worked at that I could walk there in under five minutes. Despite the limitations placed on workers under 18 in the state of Ohio, I tried to work as much as I possibly could. In my mind, it made sense, as I was paying for my own gas, car insurance, school supplies, school fees, and pre-paid cell phone at the age of 16((I was paying for all of those except gas and insurance at 15, though if 15 year olds could drive, I likely would have been paying for things then.)). There were a number of things my family couldn’t afford, so why shouldn’t I be trying to bank as much money for myself as possible?

Fast forward to adulthood. I’m nearly ten years out of high school, married, and in a significantly better financial position than I was when I wasn’t the person providing for me. I’m managed to put myself in a pretty good position now and in an even better position for where I’ll be long-term.

I’m also tired, stressed, and jaded.

I had a rough week recently. On the Sunday of that week, I spent the better part of nine hours working on various items for work. It was a very productive Sunday((Even outside of the work stuff I completed, I wrote a blog post, got groceries, did dishes, and took out the trash.)), but one that left me rather drained when I went to bed. Monday was a frustrating day at work which left me in tears on multiple occasions at home. Following a rather large fight with my wife, I mentally vowed to do something about my stress level — though with no idea what at the time. Tuesday was just as frustrating as Monday, if not more so. At the end of the day, I left work without my computer.

This is a huge step for me for various reasons, both work-related and not. My personal computer is very, very slow. I’m currently writing this post on said computer, which has a brand new install of Windows 10 and is running Chrome with two tabs open((Neither of which are data-intensive: WordPress and Reddit.)) and nothing else. My computer is lagging about three words behind me as I type. As a result, I tend to use my work computer far more frequently than I would in other situations. But with using the work computer for personal use comes doing work more often. Excluding the week before my wedding and the time I was gone on my honeymoon, I’ve worked from home at least 4 nights a week (typically more) every week since October of 2014. It’s left me in a position where the emotions I listed above — tired, stressed, and jaded — only hit the tip of the iceburg of my fatigue. Even worse, because my job is often times writing-intensive, it leaves me not wanting to blog (or reusing old posts from my old blog).

I ended up leaving my computer at work two more times that week. I’m trying to make an effort now to not bring it home other than on weekends (or if I need to because my computer won’t load a website I need, which has sadly happened multiple times recently, though still less often than when I was running Windows 8). It’s a small step…and admittedly it’s one that’s difficult to make. I don’t want to live my future like I lived my past. I don’t want my adulthood to be dictated by stress, poverty, anger, frustration, or any combination therein. And as such, I need to learn to strike a balance to keep my sanity. Otherwise, I won’t have a future to dictate.

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4 thoughts on “On Workaholism

  1. I’m terrible with being a workaholic too, though lately, I would say I’ve been getting better. I leave my laptop in my laptop bag, and try to avoid it at home when I can. When we go away, I try to unplug, because otherwise I will spend all my time researching, reading news and working on stuff.

    It’s difficult to find that balance, particularly if you were built into that workaholic mentality straight from the beginning of your working years. I can’t say I remember a single job growing up where I didn’t work intense overtime, figure stuff out for work at home, and on and on.

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    1. I don’t really have a problem with unplugging. Video games are a way for me to unwind, so I use them as an escape when I’m stressed/frustrated. Keeping work separate from home is another matter all together. In the (roughly) 10 work days since this all happened I’ve left my computer at work 6 times and didn’t take it out of my bag twice. So I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.

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  2. Glad you are taking steps to lessen your stress. Being a workaholic is good in some ways, but definitely terrible for your home life. Good luck in finding a better balance! As for blogging, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m totally with you. I hate getting burnt out on writing, but that’s where I’ve been for the last several months. Even though my job isn’t writing intensive, I just get so mentally exhaustive that I want to come home and either sleep or just veg out in front of the TV.

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    1. I really do think that my work has had a huge impact on my blogging. The post that went up today and the one that will be going up on Friday are the last two scheduled posts I have in my queue. There were times within the last year or two where I’d be 4-5 weeks ahead on my posts…and that was when I was writing 3-4 posts a week. I think I’ve legitimately written maybe 6 posts since my wedding in total.

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