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can often end up with the person developing perfectionist, then obses-
sional traits” (p. 97).
Machlowitz (1980) reports that workaholics share the following six
traits: They are intense, energetic, competitive, and driven; they have self-
doubts; they prefer work to leisure; they work anytime, anywhere; they
make the most of their time; and, they blur the distinctions between busi-
ness and pleasure. As a consequence, it is not uncommon for workaholics
to have major health problems including stress-induced illnesses, chronic
fatigue, and increased anxiety levels.
Perhaps it would be useful to clarify the difference between positive
work addiction and unhealthy work addictions, or workaholism.
Workaholism can be defined as valuing work over any other activity
when, and this is important, it affects physical and emotional health, the
quality of work, and family, loved ones, and friendships. There are a
number of very hard-working people who put in long hours, but, when
they are free, they give back to their loved ones and enjoy relationships
and outside activities. When work becomes all-consuming and someone
goes well beyond what is necessary to do the job well and has no other
interests or activities beyond work, we might call it a negative addiction
to work. Without constant work, a true workaholic becomes anxious
and depressed. A negative work addiction is a recurring obsession with
joyless work.
It is true that many aspects of work are joyless and unpleasant but we
put up with them by getting pleasure from other aspects of the job and
from our outside activities and loved ones. And certainly, in this down
economy, many people work hard just to keep their jobs. It's not a work
addiction when someone is trying to survive. Real workaholics have few,
if any, outside interests. They let family life fall apart. They often have
health problems and suffer from depression and deep insecurities. Like
any addiction, they repeat behaviors that are destructive, even though
they know better and find it difficult or impossible to change.
It's important to keep in mind that work addicts should not be con-
fused with people who are simply hard workers, love their work, and go
the extra mile to finish a project. By contrast, workaholics constantly
think about work and, without work, feel anxious and depressed. They're
often difficult to get along with and push others as hard as they push
themselves. Saul (2009, p. 1) suggests the following differences between
hard workers and workaholics:
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