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By Melissa Korn
Can’t step away from the BlackBerry? Leaving a work voicemail at 10 p.m.? You might be a workaholic. No surprises there.
But new research suggests that may not be a bad thing.
A paper out of the Rouen Business School in France says workaholism – defined by work involvement, feelings of being compelled to work and work enjoyment – can actually be constructive.
As long as the compulsion to work is self-driven, it can lead to personal feelings of accomplishment (I finished that project! I solved that accounting problem!) and benefit the organization (That project is finished ahead of schedule! Our clients think we’re great!) according to Yehuda Baruch, the management professor behind the study.
To be sure, many view workaholism as a destructive addiction that requires treatment, just like alcoholism and drug addiction, as the workaholic strays from the work-life balance equation accepted by most of society.
But many workaholics still feel balance in their lives, they just have a different work-to-“life” ratio than most.
In some ways, workaholism is like chocoholism, Baruch explains: Eating some chocolate on a regular basis can have health benefits and provides energy and satisfaction. Same with work for a workaholic – they are energized by their work and feel good when succeeding at a task. Unless a chocoholic or workaholic is damaging their physical or mental health, Baruch says they should just be left to eat or work in peace.
However, workaholism is often confused with being over-worked. It’s not just about the hours worked, says Baruch. The need for overtime pay, or a cruel boss, might force you to log long days. (“Horrible Bosses,” anyone?) And if you express too much enthusiasm about your work, a boss could take advantage of your willingness to work and ultimately make you feel over-worked. That’s when stress – a positive motivator – turns into distress, he says.
Readers: Where do you fall on a workaholism scale? Do you get a thrill out of work? Do you think that’s healthy?
Read the original article on asia.WSJ.com here.
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