Why I’m Not A Workaholic

After years of working at the mercy of a job I hated (it got in the way of my life) I decided to leave my nine-to-5 job for two years and follow my passion in a new venture, focusing entirely on education and health care. After nearly a year and a half, I’m pleased to report that I’m even happier than when I started. It turns out that this kind of workaholism is actually quite common. It comes with the territory. And it’s not something that I want for yours.

Why I’m not a workaholic. If I were to choose one word to describe my job, I’d say “job.” Most of the people I know, at some point in their careers or lives, have found themselves in a job (or a partnership, or a project, or some project) that is so fulfilling that they are unable or unenthusiastic about what they actually do. What does that tell me? Not a lot, actually. There’s no magic trick that can turn those lazy people into productive and dedicated people. Not without lots of self-motivation, lots of hard work and some luck, because you have to find something to fill the void inside your work that drives you crazy.

The first thing I did upon leaving the office was create a blog about my experiences and thoughts on the subject. This post is meant to be informative, not just a laundry list of my experiences and thoughts. Here is what I’ve learned:

-A workaholic is a person who never stops working (because his life is his work). If one were to be honest with himself, he is most certainly a workaholic. I can’t think of a single occasion when a year has gone by and I haven’t worked at least some part of it. Most of my friends at my company have told me that they don’t get to spend as much time as I do around the office during their off days, and they think it’s crazy that it’s been so long since they’ve done any work at all. I don’t think it’s strange nor shameful of them, and I am thankful that they accept it as part of their work ethic.

-If you’re tired or have an idea for a project that you are hoping to make a living off of, please don’t bother. In fact, it would be best to let your ideas go. If you have a few hours free or a day after getting home from work, go to your computer and build a side project or start your own project. Whatever you do, stay on the road. There’s no way around it.

-It’s ok if you’re tired, because you can always make yourself stop working and relax. There’s absolutely nothing that makes you better at work than putting down your keyboard and moving your attention around. I’ve had moments I swear were like meditation, when I was not only more productive, but able to accomplish tasks I wouldn’t normally do. As you can see from my example, you still need to work to be healthy, you need to find fulfillment in your work, and you need to find time to find a hobby that doesn’t require constant attention. A workaholic is what he or she should strive to be. It took me a long time to realize and recognize the fact, but in reality I did. I have had moments of thinking, “I work at my job, why on earth would anyone want me to quit?”, but it just doesn’t make sense to me. It’s just who I am.

-There are people who think that working 12-14 hours per day is necessary in order to have a high level of commitment. But it’s not. What makes people commit to their jobs, it’s not money, it’s the joy you get from making something happen. It’s the excitement of pushing ideas forward, creating something from nothing, and building relationships. It’s not about money. I know many folks who make an incredible salary, but they will never give up their jobs to build a side business. People often forget that there are other things that come along with wealth that don’t have much to do with money. Happiness is one of those things. The other most important component of this list is motivation. You’re in a position where you have to earn money just to keep your own mind and body in good working order.