How going to work can kill you
Alter Net — You’re sitting at your desk, scrolling through the Alcoholics Anonymous website, when your boss walks up behind you. Not the best career move you’ll ever make, perhaps. But let’s say you’re looking at the Workaholics Anonymous site instead, the section about how even when you’re not in the office you’re still toiling away. What then? Does your boss give you a talking to, or does he give you a raise?
This rather glib question captures something important about how society views work addiction. Recently, a business strategy website published an article with the headline “Four Famous Workaholics (And The Secrets of Their Success).” It’s hard to imagine any other addiction eliciting this kind of approach: “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Junkies,” say, or “The Sipping Point.”
The fact is, people see workaholism in a different light from other dependencies. It’s known as the “respectable addiction,” but this doesn’t quite capture the prevailing attitude toward the condition. Indeed, many balk at the idea that it is a condition. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders—which lists caffeine as a dependency—doesn’t even recognize work addiction. Workaholism is something Bill Gates has, and surely no one’s going to suggest that this guy needs to go to a support group.