Workaholic Missives: A Love Letter

Workaholic Missives: A Love Letter December 7, 2015
Me, in front of my bookshelf. Because my books are part of my workaholic lifestyle.

This post marks the beginning of a new blog series I’m writing, titled Workaholic Missives.

I’m writing this series because:

  • I’m a workaholic
  • I don’t think being a workaholic is necessarily a bad thing
  • I don’t have the time to explain to every individual in my life what this is all about
  • Hence it’s easier to blog my thoughts on being a workaholic, and send links to everyone I know

Granted, that last sentence is a bit flippant, but only in the sorry/not sorry sense that seems trendy these days.

Honestly, I love being a workaholic. I think it’s enriched my life, and made my time in academia as enjoyable and productive as it could be, given how exploitative an institution it is. I derive a profound sense of value from filling my days (and let’s be honest, nights, because I’m writing this at 11pm on a Sunday) with work.

But – and this is what I’ll explore in the series – being a workaholic takes its toll on other aspects of my life. I might feel personally fulfilled, but people who feel they have some right to my time feel shortchanged. My relationships (family, friends, romantic) have often suffered as a result of my workaholic attitude.

I have a mixed reaction to this. On the one hand, why would I waste time on someone who doesn’t get my values and doesn’t appreciate me for who I am? I’ve dated far too many people who’ve been initially attracted to my independence and drive, only later to condemn me for being too independent and too driven, hence threatening or not invested enough in the relationship or whatever. Those people clearly were not for me. On the other hand, I get that there’s more to life than work. The time I get to spend with loved ones is limited, since our lifespans are limited. I derive a different sort of pleasure from emotional and social interactions than intellectual/work ones, and I know that I have to get better at finding a balance.

It seems that ambivalence is my natural state, so I’m digging in and exploring it. If you’re a workaholic, or have a workaholic in your life – particularly of the academic flavor – then perhaps this blog series is for you. Stay tuned for the next installation, on why maintaining relationships is especially tough.

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