Is there a danger in being addicted to work? Many in society praise a hustle culture, but work stress is no joke. While having initiative and setting professional goals is critical to success, having a balance can keep you from experiencing workaholic and burnout systems.
Finding a balance is essential to your ability to perform and take care of yourself. Ideally, you should be able to combat burnout when you have a career you enjoy and derive value from, but you shouldn’t have to work yourself to death to find this.
In this blog post, we’ll explain what workaholism and burnout are, the symptoms and how to recover.
Defining the Terms: Workaholic and Burnout
The label “workaholic” isn’t new; it’s been the subject of studies for decades. However, as technology accessibility continues to increase, employees can work from anywhere using their devices, which makes it even harder to disconnect. And many jobs are in high-pressure environments with strict deadlines and ever-changing initiatives.
So, are you addicted to work? Researchers at the University of Bergen in Norway developed the Bergen Work Addiction Scale with seven criteria to consider:
- Thinking about how you can free up more time to work.
- Spending much more time working than you intended.
- Working to suppress feelings of guilt, anxiety, helplessness or depression.
- Hearing from others you should work less and not listening to them.
- Suffering from stress if you can’t work.
- Deprioritizing hobbies, activities and exercise because of work.
- Feeling work strain that negatively affects your health.
If these things sound familiar, you might be a workaholic. When you have these feelings, it becomes harder to separate yourself from your job. However, this blind dedication can cause a lot of problems in the long term.
Burnout describes a unique type of work-related stress which can result from workaholism. It puts you in a state of physical and mental exhaustion. You no longer see your accomplishments or progress and can even lose your personal identity.
You can determine if you are suffering from burnout by asking these questions:
- Do you lack the energy to be productive?
- Are you having difficulty concentrating?
- Have you begun to lack satisfaction and feel disillusioned about work?
- Are you more irritable, cynical or critical at work?
- Have physical symptoms been showing up that are unexplainable?
Many people experience both workaholism and burnout, and the consequences are concerning.
The Consequences of Workaholism and Burnout
Many studies have attempted to determine the causes of workaholism and burnout along with its impact. These statistics spotlight the slippery slope of falling into one of these categories:
- Stressful jobs contribute to 120,000 deaths each year and cost U.S. businesses as much as $190 billion in healthcare costs.
- 44% of workers stated that their current job impacted their health.
- 83% of people said work burnout was negatively affecting their personal relationships.
- 84% of millennials said they had experienced burnout, with almost half saying they left a job where they felt burned out.
- The pandemic increased burnout rates, with 79% of respondents to one survey relaying that they had burnout symptoms in 2021.
These data points show the seriousness of this issue. Next, let’s review the symptoms.
Workaholism and Burnout Symptoms
If you answered yes to any of the questions above or rated highly on the Bergen Work Addiction Scale, you likely have one or more of these symptoms:
- Emotional exhaustion: A state of feeling drained due to accumulating stress.
- Depersonalization: A disorder where you feel detached from your environment.
- Reduced personal accomplishment: The tendency to evaluate your work negatively and feel insufficient in your ability to perform your job.
- Physical responses: How your body reacts to stress; you may have more headaches, aches, pains or stomach issues.
- Heightened depression and/or anxiety: Common consequences of workaholism and burnout.
Almost anyone will experience some of these symptoms in their career, but there are ways to recover.
Recovering From Workaholism and Burnout With Meaningful Work and Balance
To start, you should dive deep into why you’re a workaholic or suffering from burnout. Consider your work environment and what’s contributing to it, such as a toxic culture, unmanageable workloads or lack of appreciation at work.
Then consider what’s really important to you that has nothing to do with work, such as spending time with family and friends, enjoying hobbies, traveling or reading. This will help you reprioritize.
Finally, find a career that you enjoy and find fulfilling. You can do this by aligning your abilities, attitudes and aptitudes to specific positions. With job matching, you have more control over how you portray yourself to employers without resumes or applications. That’s how pepelwerk works. It’s people-centered technology that matches candidates with in-demand jobs. You can also set work-life goals, take assessments, engage with coaches and mentors and get connected to training opportunities.
Get started today by creating an account.