Jan. 5, 2022 – Although hard work has always been an indispensable moral virtue, providing integrity and self-satisfaction, overwork is a noxious concept. “Workaholic” is a buzzword — created in 1971 by American psychologist Wayne Oates — who described workaholism as “the compulsion or the uncontrollable need to work incessantly.” Being a workaholic involves working excessively beyond what’s expected in the role and thinking persistently about work outside office hours. It also can be defined as an addiction to work (Ng, Sorensen & Feldman, 2007; Porter, 2006; Robinson, 2000). Baby Boomers were the first generation to embody this concept; they would work long hours at the detriment of other things such as family, holidays and hobbies. According to a study led by global executives in 2016, 55% of Baby Boomers stated their willingness to work longer hours than other generations. 

Millennials share a similar attitude and performance to Baby Boomers in the workplace. According to astudy published by Forbes in 2019, 66% of this generation are workaholics, with 70% working during weekends, 63% working when they are sick, and 32% admitting they even work when they are in the bathroom. Furthermore, according to a survey led by Project in 2016, 43% of “work martyrs” were Millennials. 48% of this group actually wanted to be perceived this way by their managers, while 35% desired to be seen this way by teammates.

The newest generation of workaholics is Gen Z, with 58% of them stating they “happily” work during weekends and late nights, compared to 41% across all other working generations, according to a survey led by Monster. 

Another concept tightly linked to workaholism is Hustle Culture (or grind culture). This term refers to a mindset where people put relentless and continuous work before anything else in their lives in order to achieve professional goals. Hustlers’ job is the centre of their world; they sacrifice any leisure or resting time to work longer. Both workaholism and Hustle Culture require workers to constantly be productive to be successful. Since success is linked to human worth, the longer an employee is productive, the more admirable they are. So, workers find themselves in a toxic work environment where they have to be consistently generative to prove their value to themselves and others around them. 


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