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1. Hard workers think of work as a required and, at times, a pleasurable
obligation. Workaholics see work as a way to distance themselves from
unwanted feelings and relationships.
2. Hard workers keep work in check so that they can be available to
their family and friends. Workaholics believe that work is more
than anything else in their lives,
including family and
3. Workaholics get excitement from meeting impossible demands. Hard
workers don't.
4. Hard workers can take breaks from work whereas workaholics can't
and think about work regardless of what they're doing or who they're
An interesting way of understanding the difference between hard
workers and workaholics is found in research by Douglas and Morris
(2006) , who argue that what we typically call a workaholic, with its nega-
tive connotations, may more correctly be understood when we look at
that person's motivation to work. The researchers found that people work
hard for four reasons:
1. Because they want the financial rewards of hard work—Douglas and
Morris call
these people hard workers who are “material goal
2. Because they find little enjoyment from leisure activities—they might
better be called “low leisure” hard workers;
3. Because they love the perks and might more reasonably be called “perk-
aholics” than workaholics—perks are the intangibles of work and
might include friendships, an easy commute to work, great working
conditions, good health plans, etc.
4. Finally, there are those who work long hours for its own sake—these
might properly be called workaholics.
We would add a fifth type of motivation: people who work a great
deal because they simply love what they're doing. We know many univer-
sity professors who can't wait to work on projects when they get up in
the morning. They have a love affair with the work they do and consider
it a blessing to have the time and support to work on special projects in
addition to their teaching responsibilities. This isn't to say that some of
them aren't workaholics. Most of them are like everyone else but they
love their jobs and work for salaries far below what they could make
in the business world. Many of them continue to work full-time or
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