Workaholics are happy people after all…
The term workaholic was first used by psychologists in the 1950’s when they tried to discover why although addiction to work was the same as an addiction to gambling, workaholics who loved their jobs didn’t suffer the same kind of negative health problems from working every hour God sends.
However, a new study has questioned current research that warns hard workers may be suffering from ADHD, have a high risk of depression, or could suffer heart problems as a result of lack of sleep.
The study was carried out by researchers at Vancouver’s Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. They say there’s a big difference between workers whose propensity to overwork and the inability to detach themselves after-hours stems from absorption in the challenges their job presents – or to put it another way, their engagement. This is different from those who suffer from say, anxiety about their job, or obsessive ambition.
The three universities examined responses to a questionnaire from 1,277 workers at a large international financial consulting firm and medical screening results from 763 of that group. The surveys provided data on the employee’s work hours, as well as their responses about their level of workaholism, their engagement in their work, and their sense of health and wellbeing. The medical screenings looked for risk factors for heart disease and diabetes.
The results showed that working long hours in itself was not an indicator that someone would suffer stress-related physical symptoms (such as headaches) or the risk factors for heart disease and diabetes.
Evidence that these would lead to heart disease or diabetes was found only for employees with below-average work engagement. Workaholics with above-average engagement showed no sign of being at risk for these serious health disorders.
Indeed, their risk factors were lower than those of non-workaholics, suggesting a surprising health benefit of working compulsively at something they loved.
The moral of the story…? Your health will not be affected if you work hard at a job you love, get satisfaction from, and enjoy. Of course we all suspected this was the case, but now the scientists have proved what deep down we all knew to be the truth in the first place.
Copyright Andrew Newton 2017. All rights reserved.