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What causes people to become workaholics?

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What causes people to become workaholics?

Postby Winston » July 21st, 2010, 5:18 pm

I have a question.

What causes many Americans and Asians to become workaholics?

Is it money, or is that the excuse?

Is it that they have a passion for their work?

Or is it that they are fearful and insecure deep down and so they need some outside structure to focus on cause they can't face their inner emptiness?

What do you think?
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Postby Enishi » July 21st, 2010, 5:41 pm

I've been baffled by the number of people I've meet (especially 30-50 somethings) who seem to have a need to feel that their job has some greater meaning, that they should be enthusiastic about it, all that jazz. I think they don't want to confront their own misery.
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Postby gsjackson » July 21st, 2010, 7:27 pm

Read the book The Great Good Place by sociologist Ray Oldenburg. His thesis is that Americans in the post-WWII era have eliminated "third places," where people go to escape the first two -- home and workplace -- and refuel themselves psychologically. So, if you're down to just home and the workplace, and you have an American woman waiting for you at home, or no one, where are you going to spend most of your time?

Now, the fact that Americans spend ungodly hours at the workplace, doesn't mean they're working efficiently. Looking at American message boards online, pretty much all the action is from noon Monday to noon Friday. During the times when they're supposed to be working, they're killing time online.

So workaholism is a term that needs to be qualified. It's more a problem of not having anywhere else to go.
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Postby Jackal » July 21st, 2010, 8:26 pm

It's simply part of American culture, and most Americans fear being labeled as "un-American."
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Postby Enishi » July 21st, 2010, 9:27 pm

Come to think of it, the worst aspect of all the job's I've worked at was not so much the long hours or the work itself. It was the assumption, both on the part of coworkers, bosses, and also customers, that one should be all smiley and enthusiastic, even if said job is a piece of shit. Trying to conform to that is absolutely MADDENING, particularly for an introverted anti-mainstream thinker like myself.

Dumb ass redneck or trailer park rubes who think they are entitled to preferential treatment are the worst. Many of the likely have to work in crappy service jobs themselves so it baffles me that they appear to have such a lack of empathy for others in customer service positions.
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Postby jamesbond » July 21st, 2010, 9:48 pm

I heard of a study done about 10 years ago that stated 80% of Americans hate their jobs. I believe it, how many people do you know who wake up on Monday morning and say, "wow, I can't wait to go to work today!" :D

America IS a workaholic country, I think it might have something to do with the "protestant work ethic" drummed into people's mind over a hundred years ago. Some people have told me, even if they win the lottery they would continue to work! WTF? :shock:

I guess if you don't have a life outside of your job (like hobbies, or friends or school) all you will want to do is work. I think people who are workaholics have some deep emotional issues they need to resolve. Who in their right mind would place working as the centerpiece of their life? These people need to get "a life" and stop working so much.

Nobody on their death bed says, "I wish I spent more time working and less time having fun."
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Postby momopi » July 21st, 2010, 11:20 pm

The basic doctrine of American employement law is "at-will employment", which specifics that any hiring is "at will", the employer is free to discharge for any reason, and the employee is free to quit for any reason.

Don't like your job? Quit! Find something else to do!
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Postby ladislav » July 21st, 2010, 11:30 pm

Well, I sure know what makes me workaholic- it is the money that I will earn if I work so that I can then party like hell and make all my dreams come true. There is no other reason.
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Postby jamesbond » July 22nd, 2010, 12:26 am

It's funny, American workers are the most productive workers in the world and they get the least amount of time off! 35% of American workers get NO vacation at all! The average American worker get's 2 weeks of vacation a year, the average workers in Germany, France and Italy get 5 to 6 weeks of vacation per year! :shock:

Most people would love to quit their jobs but they can't find anything else so they are stuck in a shitty job until retirement! Even college degrees won't always help you get a good job. I saw an article on the internet a few months ago that said only 34% of college graduates got jobs where they were using their college degree! 66% had jobs that did not require a college degree and were low paying jobs (like service jobs, retail, fastfood, telemarketing and customer service).

In the USA it's life, liberty and the pursuit of a paycheck! lol :lol:
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Postby ladislav » July 22nd, 2010, 1:18 am

.
I saw an article on the internet a few months ago that said only 34% of college graduates got jobs where they were using their college degree! 66% had jobs that did not require a college degree and were low paying jobs (like service jobs, retail, fastfood, telemarketing and customer service).


Which shows that the economy is not doing so well. It really sounds more like Mexico than the richest country in the world.

I was in Oil Arab countries for a decade and these really give their citizens many many opportunities and really take care of them. I think happiness is being a Gulf Arab. Once you get a cushy job there, you live like a king!
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Postby Winston » July 22nd, 2010, 6:14 pm

ladislav wrote:Well, I sure know what makes me workaholic- it is the money that I will earn if I work so that I can then party like hell and make all my dreams come true. There is no other reason.


But that's not what I'm talking about. You are just a temporary workaholic. The kind of workaholic I'm talking about doesn't party or have fun. They just work and have no other interests and are addicted to it too.
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Postby mrsesamechicken » July 22nd, 2010, 7:23 pm

It's simple, it's an escape from problems they would rather not face. Whether it be relationship troubles or something else.
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Postby Think Different » July 22nd, 2010, 8:25 pm

My sense is that in the US at least, it's about out-doing the other guy, so you can feel better about yourself. Remember all those dumb bumperstickers that people had that said, "whoever dies with the most toys, wins"? That pretty much sums it up. Perhaps there's also an element of being terrified of losing your job (and your house, wife, kids, etc.), since there's no real safety net here. I've worked in soup kitchens before, where I met middle-aged guys, who got laid off, then their wife (gold digger) left them, they lost the house, the cars, the kids, etc. and were on the street in a matter of 6 months. You see a lot of that going on in the US right now, with the 3rd world economy we have. Since so few Americans had either the sense or the wherewithal to save money while they worked, they quickly find themselves on the street. I'm in the same boat, but my wife and I scrimped and saved while we were working, and now have a nest egg, which we will use to start a new life in Italy. Thank God!
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Postby gsjackson » July 22nd, 2010, 10:18 pm

I think it's important to keep this phenomenon in the same post-WWII historical perspective that is useful for some of the other developments discussed here, notwithstanding any "Protestant work ethic" inheritance of the United States. Calvinism hasn't been a major force in the U.S. in over 200 years, though the idea of "outward signs" of God's benevolence reflecting "elect" status is still here in some degree.

But the guys who came back from WWII had no interest in working their tails off. If you go back and look at magazines from the 1950s, one of the big issues discussed was how people were going to use all the leisure time they had when the 20-hour work week became a reality. When I entered the labor force in 1973, nobody ever did much work, at least in the federal bureaucracy where I was employed. The workplace was still mostly male then.

A few years later, though, it had all changed. Yuppies were flaunting their Beamers and square footage in their McMansions. People were bragging about how many hours they put in at the office. Truly bizarre.

I think all of the possible causes put forward here have some validity. Fundamentally, I think it's some sort of compensation for barren lives created by a barren culture.

But you younger guys need to keep in mind that this is all something new. I can remember when American women were human beings.
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