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You might be a workaholic if…

More questions to ask yourself about working too hard.

If you have a complete set of salad bowls and they say ‘Cool Whip’ on them … you might be a redneck.
-Jeff Foxworthy

When comedian Jeff Foxworthy does his stand-up comedy routine, “You might be a redneck if … ” I’m sure there are a few people in his audience who, although they may laugh, recognize themselves in his remarks. My last column on the subject of how to tell whether you’re a workaholic was anything but funny, but I’d like to revisit it by providing a list of additional characteristics obtained from the Colorado Statue University Cooperative Extension.

While it seems obvious, you know you’re a workaholic when people who love you say you work too much. No matter how much you love your job, you really don’t want to get to know a cardiologist up close and personal. The stress of overwork is the second leading cause of heart attacks in early-30’s males. (Infidelity is number one, but we don’t want to go there.)

You are a workaholic if you take office equipment with you on a vacation. Do you also get restless on vacations and sometime cut them short? (I’m embarrassed, but will raise my hand on this last one.) Cell phones can be useful devices in an emergency, but turn yours off when you take the family on a trip. Tell the staff you trust them to handle any emergency that might come up while you’re gone. Take a laptop on vacation? Unless you’re using it to download images from a digital camera, fuggedaboutit.

If you feel guilty when you’re not working on something, you just might be a workaholic. Buy yourself a hammock for the front porch or back yard and learn to lie in it and take an occasional nap.

Do you often find yourself doing two or three things at once, such as eating lunch while talking on the telephone? You might think that you’re “multi-tasking,” but you are really a workaholic in denial.

You know you’re a workaholic if work provides more happiness and excitement than anything else in your life. A little of this may be good, but the “anything else in your life” part of this question is the key to how much this might be a problem for you.

If you’re often tired and irritable, you might be a workaholic. Job-related stress can make you cranky and difficult to be around, which in turn can be rough for your management staff if they have to apologize for your rude behavior toward employees, vendors, and clients.

Finally, you know you’re a workaholic if long work hours hurt family relationships. In his last book before he died, Lewis Grizzard wrote about the demise of the first of his three marriages and the kind of life he was living during his college years. I remember putting the book down and smiling, thinking, “No wonder he got divorced, he was trying to do too many things; he didn’t have time for his wife.” That grin disappeared from my face when I recognized myself at age 30.

Take time to ask yourself these questions and those in my previous column on this subject. If you recognize yourself, you may smile, but make some changes in your work style. You’ll be glad you did.

Contributing Editor Joe Farace has written more than 1100 magazine articles and 23 books, including the recently released The Photographer’s Internet Handbook. He likes to work hard, but at heart he’s always been a goof-off.

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