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  3. Here's why being a workaholic and working long hours are not the same!
Here's why being a workaholic and working long hours are not the same!

Here's why being a workaholic and working long hours are not the same!

  • Difference between working long hours and being a workaholic
  • Mindset
  • Motivation
  • Well-being 
  • Quality of work
  • What are the symptoms of being a workaholic?
  • Four types of workaholics
  • 1. Burst Work
  • 2. New task seekers
  • 3. Detail obsessed
  • 4. Unstoppable
  • Is it healthy to be a workaholic?
  • Key takeaways

Working long hours often comes with being a workaholic. But just because you work long hours, that doesn’t mean you are one. In this article, we will learn more about what it means to be a workaholic and why it’s important to recognize whether you have this quality in your work life.

If you’ve ever thought that working long hours and being a workaholic go hand-in-hand, you aren’t wrong. However, just because someone works long hours, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are the definition of a workaholic. The truth is, there are a lot of other factors that go into earning that title, including finding it difficult to detach from work.

In this article, we will learn more about the differences between working long hours and being a workaholic and some of the symptoms you might have if you are one. Here are some of the topics we will be covering.

  • Difference between working long hours and being a workaholic

  • What are the symptoms of being a workaholic?

  • Four types of workaholics

  • Is it healthy to be a workaholic?

  • Benefits of being a hard worker

Difference between working long hours and being a workaholic

It’s not uncommon to see those who work long hours being described as workaholics. However, these aren’t terms that should be used interchangeably. There are many differences between the two types of workers. Here are some examples of some of the differences you might see:


Workaholics tend to have a different mindset when it comes to working long hours. They often have a compulsive need to work late, which often comes from internal factors instead of external ones. They may also feel as though they need to keep working even when it isn’t fully necessary.

Those who work long hours only tend to do so when external factors are in play. For example, they may have a specific project they are working on and need to meet a deadline, or they may have a larger workload for the week. There may also be some requirements related to their specific job or industry that require them to work long hours during certain times of the month or year.


For a variety of reasons, workaholics tend to have different motivations than those who work long hours. Many have an emotional attachment to the work and may even get their self-worth from working excessive amounts of hours. In many cases, workaholics derive their entire identity from their work and it becomes the most important aspect of their life.

Typically, when someone who isn’t a workaholic works long hours, they are only doing so temporarily. Their motivations lie more in specific job or project requirements than they do in fulfilling a need to work more hours.


Workaholics tend to take working long hours to the extreme. They are often completely consumed by work because they are afraid to fail or want everything to be perfect. They may also have a constant need to work long hours even to the detriment of their health. This could lead to stress, neglect of personal relationships, and burnout.

On the flip side, someone who occasionally works long hours won’t necessarily experience these negative effects on their well-being. The extra hours may cause them to become tired and stressed, but they don’t usually have a long-term effect. These types of workers will likely still be able to maintain a healthy personal life even when they are working long hours.

Quality of work

Even the quality of the work a workaholic puts out can be different from someone who works long hours occasionally. Workaholics tend to focus on getting as much work out the door as possible. They may even ineffectively complete work just so they can continue working. 

Those working long hours to finish a project may also experience these types of issues, but they are more likely to focus on producing quality work. It is more common for them to focus on completing tasks efficiently and on time rather than seeing how much work they can produce.

What are the symptoms of being a workaholic?

You may be wondering: What is a workaholic? How do I know if I’m one? One way to answer this question is to learn more about the symptoms that often come with being one. Most who fall into this category find themselves dealing with the following symptoms.

  • Being obsessed with work. Workaholics can’t find a way to think or focus on anything besides work. Even when they aren’t at work, their thoughts and actions are usually consumed by work-related things. They may have trouble talking about anything other than work, which means interactions with friends and family will be difficult because they can’t focus on them. 

  • No boundaries. Workaholics are constantly willing to take on new job duties, even when they don’t have time for them because they don’t have the capability of setting boundaries. In the end, not only does this make their job quality suffer, but problems can also surface in their personal life, especially when it comes to relationships.

  • Feelings of guilt. Whenever a workaholic can tear themselves away from work, they often spend the time feeling guilty that they aren’t working. They may also feel anxious that something is going to go wrong or have a constant need to check in when they are away. This can also be true when they take short breaks while still at the office.

  • Health issues. Since they aren’t prioritizing their health, workaholics may experience stress-related illnesses, trouble sleeping, and other health problems. They are also less likely to practice self-care.

  • Decrease in job satisfaction. Since burnout is so common, workers in this category tend to see a decrease in their job satisfaction rates as time goes on. They may find themselves becoming less and less happy with their role and the industry as a whole.

Four types of workaholics

One important thing to note is that not all workaholics are the same. Everyone approaches their jobs differently and has different motivations behind working the way they do. Here’s a closer look at some of the different types of workaholics.

1. Burst Work

These types work frantically for short periods and push themselves to the limit. This is especially true when they have a specific project they are trying to finish. They will then completely stop working and accomplish nothing else.

2. New task seekers

Some workers are driven to find new ventures before they finish the projects they are already working on. This can lead to them having too many projects on their plate to complete.

3. Detail obsessed

Every single detail is important to this type of worker. They will spend endless amounts of time adjusting and fixing even minor and non-important details, which can delay them finishing their work.

4. Unstoppable

The goal here is to work as much as possible. They want to use every second of their time and tend to work with an intensity that can be off putting to coworkers because they can appear angry and become short with others if they are interrupted.

Is it healthy to be a workaholic?

In many cases, being a workaholic can certainly take a toll on your career and your health, but is it always unhealthy? You may be surprised to learn that is not always the case! There can be several benefits to being a workaholic. For starters, many workaholics tend to see great professional success because they are more dedicated to their work. This could lead them to having more opportunities for advancements and promotions than others.

They may also prove to be more productive and develop the ability to complete more work in shorter amounts of time. This could lead to more job security if they can produce quality results. Workaholics also have an opportunity to grow faster because they devote so much of their time to work. They can use this additional time to develop new skills, which can lead to higher pay increases and a sense of achievement.

On the flip side, many workers who are workaholics can benefit from making some changes. When the negative symptoms of being a workaholic start showing up, they may find their habits harm both their personal and professional life. Eventually, being a workaholic could also hurt their health. Since stress and burnout happen at bigger rates, those who are this type of worker often experience higher levels of depression, anxiety, headaches, and even anger. 

They are also more likely to experience trouble sleeping and have a bigger chance of developing certain diseases, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and more. Other health problems and an increased risk of developing an addiction to unhealthy substances are also more common.

Experts say that those who struggle to create a work-life balance should seek support from doctors and therapists to help navigate these health challenges. Professionals can help teach you how to set boundaries and focus on self-care. There are also support groups, such as Workaholics Anonymous, that offer support for those suffering from this condition.

If one of your career objectives is to streamline your work habits so that you can become promoted, our Pathway to Promotion service can help!

Key takeaways

  1. One of the main differences between someone who works long hours and a workaholic is that workaholics don’t have a good work-life balance.

  2. Being a workaholic can have negative effects on your health, increase stress, and put you at a higher risk of certain diseases. 

  3. While being a workaholic isn’t always healthy, it can give you more opportunities that lead to promotions and higher levels of job satisfaction.

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