signs you are a workaholic

10 Signs You Are a Workaholic

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According to the National Center for Fathering, John Snarey of Emory University has done a unique study in which he’s been able to examine the effect of fathers and their careers. Overall, Snarey found that fathers heavily involved in their children’s lives “may have delayed writing a paper or put off some other project but, in the long run, they went just as far in their work as comparable men did who were less involved with their kids.” In fact, fathers who were involved in two particular ways – in their children’s mental development and their adolescents’ social development – went further in their careers than dads who weren’t.

Why is that? There are myriads of reasons. But one in particular is that workaholic dads who aren’t involved in their children’s lives lose productivity due to marital conflict, trouble with their children’s education, legal issues, etc. It is so much better to make the right investment of time with your children now and reap the benefits of a great career and family later.

Here are 10 signs of a workaholic:

1. Conversation

When you’re with friends and family, what types of conversations do you have? If you’re a workaholic, chances are your input will almost surely be work-related. Whatever the latest huge account you are obsessed with will take center stage. You can manage to waddle through the small talk, but your conversations will always lead back to work. Your existence has been built to revolve around your job.

2. Who Are Your Friends?

How is your social life? Are the same people you socialize with also the same people you spend the majority of your life with at work? Friendships are made and last based on common interests. The workaholic is usually not able to connect long-term with others outside of his profession. [Tweet This]

3. Control

Are you able to properly delegate responsibility to others on your team? Can you give up total control and trust workmates to complete an assignment? “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” Do you find yourself saying that in your head, even when it’s not true? The workaholic needs total control. To them, nobody could possibly do the task as well.

4. Smartphone Attachment Disorder

It’s SAD. You carry it everywhere you go. The smartphone never leaves your side…even in church or on vacation. The thought of missing an important email or tidbit of information worries you to obsession. Your daughter just made an incredible sandcastle right in front of your feet. You barely look up to notice and your eyes go straight back to the phone. You need help.

5. The Roll Over Days

Your neighbor is complaining that it’s only September and he’s out of vacation days. Every year, your wife lobbies her company for more personal days to be with family. You? Last time you checked, you had 8½ weeks of rolled over vacation days. The last time you spent an entire week away from your job is when you didn’t have one. You always threaten coworkers: One of these days I’m going to take the whole month of July off. You never do.

6. Desk Cafeteria

What is inside your bottom desk drawer? Cans of soup, crackers, and prepackaged tuna lunches? Your desk cafeteria helps rid you of that annoying human trait: hunger. Who has time for lunch? If you work through it, you might be able to justify leaving when you are supposed to leave. This way, you might catch your son’s ballgame. However, if that still isn’t enough, the ballgame goes on the cut list. The workaholic only takes lunches that are business related. Otherwise, it’s the desk cafeteria and nose to the grindstone.

7. I’m Not Sick

Your nose is completely clogged. Your throat feels like you’re gargling razor blades. I’m not sick, I just have some allergies. You pump yourself up with whatever over-the-counter medication you can find that is nondrowsy and off to work you go. All day long, your germs spread through the office like a marauding band of pirates. You might consider your dedication as productive. The ten employees you infected and who are now out sick were never a consideration in your mind. They are just weak.

8. Middle Of The Night Brainstorming

It’s 3 am. Your wife is sleeping soundly beside you. You are wide awake trying to figure out the secret to landing the account you are chasing. The hours tick by as you lay in silence brainstorming. Another sleepless night but you think you might have found the edge you needed. Your health and disposition may suffer, but you got what you were after. The workaholic always has trouble sleeping.

9. Your Roommate

Do you spend quality time with your wife on a regular basis? Take her on spontaneous adventures? Spend evenings just talking about anything with her? Or has your marriage become more like a roommate situation? You have your life, she has hers. You just happen to sleep in the same bed. Quite possibly you don’t even do that. Since you are up working late on the computer, it’s easier for you to just sleep in your home office. Your marriage is a shell and, at this rate, it might be headed for eventual failure. This is not the type of provider she was hoping for.

10. Who Are Those Little People?

You remember your wife being pregnant. You certainly remember them being born. What you can’t figure out is: Who are these little people making all this noise while I’m trying to work at home? You kids go watch TV upstairs so Daddy can work. Do you have personal relationships with your children? Do you know who their teachers are? Their best friends? What are their hopes and dreams? Looking ahead into the future, you’ll ask your son, “I was a good dad, right? I provided for everything you ever needed.” Your son will look you in the eye and say, “Dad, the only thing I ever wanted was your time, but you were always busy.” That is the fate of the workaholic.

Sound Off

What do you do to make sure you are not a workaholic?

  • Chad Gamble

    I am frequently reminded of the song by Michael James – Slow Down. Great reminder of what our priorities are, but it is a constant struggle to say no to the pressing demands of others at the office.


    Great list of habits to watch for. Coming from a recovering W-A. “Cat’s in the cradle” is the song that still haunts me.

  • Josh

    I agree with everything on the list except #2. I love what I do and all of my close friends do the same thing. We love getting together and seeing how we can do what we do and do it better. Doing this allows me to be more productive, thus allowing for more time off with my family.

    • Seth

      I agree with you completely. The people that I work with at my business are amazing people, and promote having a healthy life outside of the office. There are many times we get together and hang out just to have fun together. They are a family that I choose to associate with, rather than one I was born into. Thankfully, this is the only thing on this list that really fits me. If there were others, then it might be a problem…

  • Paul_Sp

    This one actually IS rather funny, and not a lame attempt at humor.

  • Ryan DeBok

    I read on this topic about 10 years ago in an All Pro Dad email. It was life changing. As a young dad in ministry, trying to meet everyone’s needs + my wife’s, my children’s and my own, I realized that there was a problem. I was on some sort of career path to success, but was able to grapple with how my perception of success could lead me down a path to a rocky marriage, kids who weren’t interested in me because I wasn’t interested in them, and a list of other woes that ultimately weren’t success.

    Thanks APD for the rescue at a critical point in my life.

  • GaMomof5

    Sadly, my husband & others actually think being a workaholic is a virtue.

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Huddle up with your wife tonight and ask her, “How do you think I can quit working so much?”

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