Sample English Essays on The Workaholic


The pressures of the long economy and increasing cost of living have forced people to adjust their careers in order to survive. Most people are now working for long hours to increase income while others are taking more than one job. Due to this, the modern society perceives ‘busy’ as a status symbol, which is associated with career success and therefore, everyone is striving to be busy. This lifestyle has blurred the line between ‘working to live’ and ‘living to work’. Despite the faint differentiation between the two phrases, ‘working to live’ can be easily translated to working hard while ‘living to work’ can be viewed as an addiction, best known as workaholism. Due to the prevalent trend of working for long hours, many people have insufficient knowledge on the differences between a highly engaged individual and a workaholic. This paper looks at different definitions of the term ‘the workaholic’.

The term ‘workaholic’ was coined from the words work and alcohol and it was first used in 1971 by Oates (Wijhe 21). The wide known definition of a workaholic is a person who is addicted to work. When one is addicted to work, he/she finds it difficult to disengage from work even when not working. Workaholics find fun in working for longer hours. For instance, they can often check mails when at home, or stay up late doing extra work they could have done the following day. During holidays, workaholics can divide their leisure time with professional work since they feel the urge to always do something ‘constructive’. For so long, workaholism has been viewed as a positive culture since it correlates to career success. The definition of the term ‘workaholic’ has however undergone an evolution due to various attempts by researchers to refine the definition. According to the science community, workaholism is a negative behavioral pattern. This indicates that a workaholic is a person who works beyond the expected time at the expense of other pursuits including personal happiness, social life, and physical health (Wijhe 5). Workaholics commit excessive amount of time to work to ensure tasks are done to perfection. They obsessively worry when they fail to achieve the perfection. Workaholics tend to work on impulsivity; they do not set goals or delegate goals but instead deal with every need as it arises on their own.

Workaholics are clearly different from highly engaged individuals. For instance, Jane has a family of four and her husband has been terminated from work. Although she works from 9am to 5pm, she normally works back at home from 8pm to 11pm to earn an extra income to support the family. When not working, Jane is mentally disengaged from her professional work. Another case involves Susan, whose shift is also from 9pm to 5pm. However, Susan hardly takes a break off work because she is constantly checking her mails and worrying about deadlines. Since all her energy and time is dedicated to her work, Susan’s social life is poor. She hardly finds time to interact with her family members because she prioritizes work over family relationships. In the above cases, Jane is a hard working individual who is motivated by the increased demand of her family since she is the sole provider. Conversely, Jane is a workaholic who is addicted to work.

The critical distinction between workaholics and hard workers is not the period of time they spend working but the outcome of their commitment to their careers. It is important to note that workaholics are compelled to work due to internal pressures while hard workers are driven by external factors like career advancement or social needs. Workaholics undergo emotional trauma including anxiety and guilt when not working. Due to this emotional distress, workaholics experience constant stress which might lead to health problems like back pains from prolonged sitting and burnout. Due to prolonged working, workaholics are sleep deprived and therefore, tend to be sleepy during day time. They consequently develop low concentration and thus poor performance at work (Wijhe 40). While hard workers balance work and life, workaholics neglect life. As a result, they tend to have unhealthy relationships with not only family members but also workmates. Because of less interaction with family and friends, workaholics have less empathy. Furthermore, since workaholics desire to look competent, they often set high performance standards that they hardly reach. They resultantly develop issues with self-acceptance and perception. Lastly, since this group of people identify themselves with success, failure to reach goals affects their sense of identity (Wijhe 38). Taking into account the above consequences, the perfect definition of the workaholic is that which includes addiction to work and the negative consequences.


Workaholism is defined and perceived differently but the widely known definition is addiction to work. However, this definition has been modified due to scientific research of this behavior.The science community refers to workaholism as the excessive need to work at the expense of other pursuits like personal health and happiness. Unlike hard working individuals, workaholics struggle to disengage from work even when off work. They worry obsessively about reaching goals and being successful. Due to this, the workaholic constantly experiences poor relationships with other people, negative self-perception when he/she fails to reach goals, sleep disorders due to inadequate sleep, and poor performance. The definition of the term workaholic is therefore incomplete without the mention of the negative effects.


Work Cited

Wijhe, van, Corine. Understanding Workaholism: About the Role of Affects and Cognitions. Wilmar Schaufeli. 4 Sep, 2012.