The Bright and Dark Sides of Workaholism

Shinning-Things-is-a-great-example-of-reflection-photos“Engagement is the difference between the bright and the dark side of workaholism. ” 

Brilliant!  So simply stated, it’s magnificent!

Workaholism.  You know, there probably aren’t many of us who have a very positive impression of this word.  Yet, Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, in his recent Harvard Business Review blog summed it up nicely.  Working hard isn’t a bad thing.  Working long hours isn’t negative.  It’s not a bad thing, so long as you’re both passionate about what you do and aren’t allowing work to subjugate other important things in your life.

The topic’s on which I’ve spent considerable reflecting in recent months….

You see, I love what I do.  I am passionate about teaching.  I am totally alive when interacting with students over a tough assignment or intellectual problem.  I’m fascinated by leadership and the psychological elements of the workplace and workforce.  I am consumed by intellectual curiosity for better understanding and affecting the psychological issues surrounding military veterans.

I’m also passionate, however, about other aspects of my life.  Reading and writing.  Parenting.  Relationships.  Ice hockey and skydiving. Travel.

But what truly sparked my introspective nature on this topic was when my sixteen year-old daughter said that I need to work less.  The comment was made in passing, and without much opportunity to dig deeper into the underlying meaning, but it resonated (and even stung a little).

On the flip side, I’ve had others comment about how nice it must be to not be working full-time.  The flexibility of my schedule, for them, overshadows the amount of work I’m doing between teaching full-time, consulting part-time, writing part-time, parenting, and conducting doctoral research.  But I love it all, and it’s even harder to think of what I’d be willing to give up!

Don’t get me wrong, there are certainly weeks when life seems unbelievably chaotic and

I’m moving at a frenetic pace.  This is, quite honestly, one of those weeks.

Stay on the Bright Side
Stay on the Bright Side

Yet, I know that next week will be much more reasonably paced…(and I’ve got several short vacation stints planned over the course of the next six weeks).  And I carve out time each week (and usually daily) for definitively non-work pursuits.

I play hockey twice a week.  I ski or run several more times each week.  I read for pleasure.  And I’ve rediscovered over the past six months a love of cooking (see my new blog).

So, am I a workaholic?  Definitely.  But it’s mostly on the bright side….the challenge is to remain aware of the shadows, and stick to the sunshine.  I’m not tan yet….but I am working on it!

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