These certainly are confusing times. The experts say some forms of cholesterol are good for us while other types may threaten our health. We're also told that a little stress isn't such a bad thing, even though we've heard time and again that it's a killer. That's why I found a recent article on the subject of "workaholism" to be of more than passing interest because it rebuts the age-old argument that being a workaholic is an unhealthy lifestyle. The article was written by Sherwood Ross and distributed by Reuters news service.
I'm sure plenty of us qualify as workaholics, and in many ways we're ashamed of it. That's because we've had it pounded into our heads that such a tendency is a hazard to our physical, mental and emotional well-being. But now comes a group of credible experts who claim that some forms of workaholism can be quite beneficial. Marcia Miceli, a management professor at Ohio State University's Max Fisher College of Business, argues that workaholism is OK if the people involved "enjoy their jobs, have strong career identities and (have) a desire for upward mobility." She adds: "Achievement-oriented workaholics in particular apparently don't work to overcome some personal deficit, because they actually thrive on hard work."
Miceli admits that some clinicians see workaholism as a disease akin to alcoholism and other addictions. However, after she and her colleagues evaluated articles and books on the subject, they concluded there can be happy, healthy and productive workaholics. "People are always told to find a `balance' between work and nonwork roles, but that may not be healthy for everyone," Miceli says.
What are the key characteristics of a workaholics? According to Miceli, workaholics: 1. Give up important family, social and recreational activities because of work. 2. Work beyond what is reasonably expected to meet their job requirements or economic needs. 3. Frequently and persistently think of work, even when they're not working. Miceli and her associates-Keirsten Moore, assistant management professor at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, and Kim Scott, of Hewitt Associates in Chicago-also identified three basic types of workaholics:
"`Compulsive-dependent" people who "recognize that their work is excessive but are unable to reduce or control it." They "feel anxious and upset when they aren't working."
The "perfectionist . . . . who has a strong need for control and works long hours because he or she wants control over the job."
The achievement-oriented person "who has the potential to be very satisfied and very productive . . . . if the workplace is committed to excellence and rewards achievement-striving."
So there's some compelling evidence out there showing that being a workaholic isn't all that bad, although Miceli and company believe there should be a lot more research conducted on the subject. But with or without further research, this is what I've personally discovered: There are no shortcuts to success. Dedication and hard work are two ingredients that turn an individual into a winner. Some of us enjoy our work more than others. Some of us are even willing to sacrifice certain aspects of our personal lives to get a job done. We're all different. But people who go the extra mile and people who give everything they have every day shouldn't be put down because they're highly motivated. Most of the time they're simply doing what they feel is the right thing to do for themselves, their families and their companies.
Hard work equals success,
Charles S. Lauer