Many years ago, labor laws were put into effect to regulate work hours and conditions. Overtime became a common term. In recent decades, we have watched the required work week for most employees decrease from 40+ hours to 37 or even 35 hours per week.
There are exceptions. If you own your own business, a standard work week may not apply. Many businesses require long hours and need attention seven days a week. Then there are quite a few people today who can’t get by on one salary, so they work two jobs instead of one.
Other people have a passion or are committed to a cause that excites and energizes them. They may volunteer as many hours as they do paid work. Or they are willing to work long hours to make a difference.
Others, though, find work fulfilling even without a specific celebrated cause. These are individuals who work simply because they like, even love, to work. Work is the main focus in their lives, and their identities are tied closely to what they do. They are happiest when they are being productive and achieving. They usually don’t feel overburdened or disadvantaged by their work. They choose to put in the extra hours. Is there anything wrong with that? Aren’t they really “workaholics?” Don’t they need to work at achieving some life balance? To get a life?
You may be surprised to find that these individuals are frequently happy. They often are highly organized and disciplined. Their motivation may not be just external, eg, the requirements of their job. Instead they set personal goals because they enjoy reaching them. They fall into the category of “live to work,” not “work to live.”
What also surprises others is that these “workaholics” do use their vacation time—often all of it. They just carefully plan and utilize it. In fact, as busy as they may be with work, they still make time for family events, and frequently have a health regimen they follow.
They may not watch much TV or spend a lot of unstructured time online. They may not have many hobbies or invest time in crafts, gardening, or following sports teams. Perhaps work is their hobby as well as their vocation.
So, the next time you start to think how unfortunate it is that someone has to work so hard, or work all the time, take a step back and consider that work is often a choice they make. They are happy with their choice, and there is nothing wrong with that.