Terry Corbell, The Biz Coach
By Terry Corbell
Business Consultant

Human Resources: Workaholism vs. So-Called Millennial Attitudes



Stereotypes are often unfair.

There’ve been lots of talk and studies about the challenges associated with Millennials in the workforce – that they’re self-absorbed, want to start at the top and that they lack a strong work ethic.

Often that’s true. But not always. It’s also true that Millennials have a common-sense approach to work-family balance.

woman smilingWorkaholics place too much emphasis on work – it interferes with their personal happiness, health and relationships.

So, here’s the conundrum: Workaholics are most-likely an organization’s most-productive employees. They’re the most-reliable at crunch time.

However, they’re also the most abused by obsessive managers. Workaholics aren’t given opportunities to re-charge their physical and emotional batteries.

Burnout is an occupational hazard. So are stress and psychosomatic illnesses or even heart attacks or strokes.

Workaholism study

All of that’s in the findings of a study on workaholism by a University of Georgia (UGA) study, “All Work and No Play? A Meta-Analytic Examination of the Correlates and Outcomes of Workaholism.”

Workaholics aren’t given opportunities to re-charge their physical and emotional batteries.

“Similar to other types of addictions, workaholics may feel a fleeting high or a rush when they’re at work, but quickly become overwhelmed by feelings of guilt or anxiety,” said Malissa Clark, Ph.D., an assistant professor of industrial/organizational psychology at UGA and lead author on the study.

“Looking at the motivations behind working, workaholics seem pushed to work not because they love it but because they feel internal pressure to work,” she added. This internal compulsion is similar to having an addiction.”

The study is available online in the Journal of Management here. Dr. Clark’s co-authors include Jesse S. Michel, Florida International University; Ludmila Zhdanova, Carleton University; Shuang Y. Pui, Safeway Inc.; and Boris B. Baltes, Wayne State University.

Paying the price

Dr. Clark admits workaholism leads to promotions and helps career advancement.  But there is a heavy price to pay.

“Our results show that while unrelated to job performance, workaholism does influence other aspects like job stress, greater work-life conflict, decreased physical health and job burnout that indicate workers aren’t going to be productive,” she said.

“When you look more broadly at the outcomes that were overwhelmingly negative and compare those to other analyses of work engagement, which were overwhelmingly positive, we see that there are two very different constructs,” she said.

“One is feeling driven to work because of an internal compulsion, where there’s guilt if you’re not working – that’s workaholism,” she explained.

“The other feeling is wanting to work because you feel joy in work and that’s why you go to work every day, because you enjoy it,” she asserted. “And I say that is work engagement.”

Perfectionists

Dr. Clark said workaholism is almost synonymous with perfectionism and type A personalities.

“We found that, for samples with a greater percentage of women, the relationship between age and workaholism was positive, meaning that older women were more likely to be workaholics than younger women,” the professor said.

“In samples that had more men, the relationship between age and workaholism is negative, meaning that older men were less likely to be workaholics than younger men.”

In conclusion, be a workaholic if you want. But you might pay a heavy price.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related articles:

10 Strategies to Overcome Stress and Energize Your Career — If job stress is slowing you down, you can jump start your career with these 10 reminders.

24 Tips to Reduce Stress, Work Happier for Top Performance — You have a 35 percent better chance of living longer if you feel happy. That’s the upshot from a 2011 British study that links feelings of happiness to longevity. So the emphasis is on feelings. Makes sense, right? The study acknowledges some people inherently feel happy.

30 Time Management, Stress Reducing Tips — Tips that will enable you to take bold measures to invest in your future and make money by saving time and reducing stress.

Proof Positive: How Supportive Spouses Help in Work-Related Stress — First, it was the book, “The Millionaire Mind.” The book by Dr. Thomas J. Stanley revealed several traits of millionaires. One important statistic from his study of millionaires: They were successful largely thanks to a supportive spouse.

Your Career Success is Determined by your Spouse’s Personality — Study — Your spouse’s attitude has an indirect, powerful impact on whether you succeed in your career. That’s the conclusion from an important study by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis.

“You can’t afford not to take a vacation.”

-Mac Eadie

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





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Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.