Thursday, January 05, 2006

Confessions of a Workaholic

The first step is always admitting you have a problem. So here goes:

I'm addicted to my job.

There, I've said it. It's out. I feel a little better.

I've just checked my work email. I've done it once a day since the start of the week. That's definitely a sign of addiction. I shouldn't be concerned with things anymore. Really, I shouldn't check it. I should try to ignore the impulse to check into how that GPS code ended up, or whether or not the corporate strategy is on track.

Of course, if you spend three years of your life working at a place, it's really hard to just give it up. Small companies are inherently addictive. Most people I know either try them briefly and go back to large stable companies, or, like me, thrive in the small company environment of instability and overwork. My dad is one of the latter. The apple certainly hasn't fallen far.

One of the things I'm keeping in the back of my mind is to start my own startup when I return from, err, sabbatical[1]. What that requires is coming up with some really good ideas, and then finding some money in order to actually do them. The problem is that I'm still attached to the old ideas of my last job. The addiction is preventing me from doing my own thinking on the subject.

I know that it takes about a week to get over work[2]. But I wonder if it takes longer than that when you know that you won't being going back to work after two weeks. When you are one a vacation of normal length (about two weeks, in my opinion) you can forget about the work issues, because you know that they'll be there when you get back. But what about when you're not going back? How do you just let go?

Time, I guess. Time heals all, they say. I'm sure that's true with work addiction, as well.

Now, if only I could find a twelve-step program...

[1] I love the term sabbatical. There have been a lot of articles on the subject as more and more highly skilled, highly educated, or highly placed employees are getting burnt out with there current work.

[2] See this lengthy piece of drival for my thoughts on this whole subject.

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