While both are just a fun portmanteau describing a person’s level of obsession with their work, workaholics and workafrolics are, at their core, polar opposites. This, even though each have what people looking in from the outside might consider an unnatural obsession with their work.
There are many distinctions between the two terms that can be made, depending on whose definition you listen to. The only real similarity you need to consider right now is that both are considered to be the hardest workers in the room by peers and coworkers. One is a very good way to be, while the other will always end in despair.
This short little article will help you identify which side of the fence you fall on, and potentially help you make a shift in your thinking and habits if you happen to have a dangerous relationship with your work.
Workaholics and Workafrolics Defined
A workaholic is nothing more than someone who feels a sense of urgency to work on something, anything – all the time – regardless whether work needs to be done at the moment or not. They work day and night, but with little purpose beyond “getting the job done” and moving on to the next one. They feel little passion toward the actual work they do, and are often conflicted as to what to occupy themselves with during downtime.
Workafrolics love to work just as much as workaholics – when work is required or they’re busy planning and deploying new ideas. They’re in love specifically with the actual work they do, and are unhappy doing things that don’t lead toward fulfilling their true passions. They aren’t addicted to work and have many other separate passions outside their business and career.
How Workaholics Have it all Wrong…
When examining the signs of a workaholic, it becomes very obvious the workaholic is predestined for hard times somewhere down the line, if they don’t seek help in changing what they direct their passions toward.
In fact, workaholism is considered a dangerous disease and can cause a whole host of mental and physical maladies in the body. Those afflicted may go through decades suffering the ill effects of their compulsion, including high blood pressure, anxiety, relationship and family problems, and finally career burnout when they suddenly wonder what they’ve been doing with their lives.
Finally, when and if a tipping point is reached, they might seek help from a Workaholic’s Anonymous group in their area to learn how to cope with the disease and take what’s left of their life back. In Japan, workaholism is known as “karoshi” which when translated to English literally means “death by overwork”.
What if You Need to Work Those Long Hours?
“Need” is pretty easy to define when it comes to working long hours. However, do you need to work so hard because you’re driven by the desire to accomplish whatever goal you’re working toward in your career or business, including completing online Master’s in Management that you plan to finish this year? This is completely fine and healthy workafrolic behavior – so long as you also look forward to your downtime and don’t find yourself obsessing over work all 8,760 hours of the year.
Now to the other side of the fence: Are you that person putting in hours because that’s all you know – despite the fact that your job or ultimate goals in life don’t require putting in all that time?
Perhaps the boss is telling you to work 50-plus hours a week or you’ll be replaced?
Both are essentially the same from a workaholism standpoint. Just because someone tells you that you need to live for the job doesn’t make it healthy – nor does it make it fulfilling. Fulfillment is the word of the day when it comes to extracting the ultimate benefit that can come from putting in long hours at the office.
“The chief condition on which, life, health and vigor depend on, is action. It is by action that an organism develops its faculties, increases its energy, and attains the fulfillment of its destiny.” – Colin Powell
If you’re truly fulfilled by the actions and consequences that fill your life, you’ll always be happy. What is it all the greats say about doing work that makes you feel fulfilled and happy?
You’ll never work a day in your life, right?
So Which Are You: Workaholic or Workafrolic?
If you’re a workaholic, do you plan to change or stay the same?