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Financial Implications of Workaholism

As evidenced by my non-existent work-life balance and as we’ve previously discussed, I’m a total workaholic. (And that post about my Typical Day was written before I started freelancing online!)

According to good ‘ol Wikipedia:

“A workaholic is a person who is addicted to work. While the term generally implies that the person enjoys their work; it can also imply that they simply feel compelled to do it. There is no generally accepted medical definition of such a condition, although some forms of stress, impulse control disorder, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder can be work-related. Workaholism is not the same as working hard.”


So now we’ve established that workaholism is not the same as working hard. (Boy was I wrong about that before!)

I’ve actually been asked by my employer (at my FT job) to put in extra time outside of the required 40 hours/week. Without enough work to do to even fill up my 40 hours/week (most of the time), it’s hard for me to want to “donate” my time to going in during unpaid hours outside my normal work schedule, even though I was told that was the best way to show “dedication” so I could move up within the company. To combat this issue, I do occasionally take my personal laptop up to the office during evening and weekend hours so I can work on my online side hustles in the comfort of my sweatpants at the office.

Why? My boss lives across the street from the office so he can see that my car is up there for a while and that the lights are on, so I must be working so I can move up the career ladder. What he doesn’t know is that I’m working on things that are not for the office. Does that make me a bad person?

(Don’t answer that!)

So how are the finances of a workaholic different from a slacker? I’m glad you asked.

Spending More

– Eating out. As a workaholic myself, I can vouch for the fact that workaholics spend more money on eating out than slackers (unless the kitchen is the main area of the slacker’s slacking). Why? Well, I’m so stinkin’ tired by the time mealtimes roll around that I prefer to not cook complex meals (or even simple meals sometimes). I also end up eating out because it’s quicker and I can spend those saved minutes working on my never-ending to do list instead.

– Health care. Workaholics have higher overall stress levels than non-workaholics. This is partially because workaholics are not comfortable taking a day off, even if it’s encouraged by their employer providing PTO. When workaholics are sick they spend more on antibiotics to get them healthier as quickly as possible because they simply “can’t afford to miss a day of work”.

Spending Less

– Entertainment. If you’re a true workaholic, you don’t take time away from work for anything other than to fill your most basic needs (eating, going to bathroom, and some sleeping). The rest of the time you are working! The good thing about this is that it can really save you from spending on entertainment costs. Instead, your entertainment is your work.

– Shopping. Much like entertainment, you don’t take time out of your busy schedule to do anything but the most basic shopping. You may or may not go grocery shopping. Who needs to eat?

Are you a workaholic? Personally I’m going with yes, but at least mine’s only a mild-ish case of workaholism. How does it affect your finances? Is Santa Clause real?


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Erin Thompson

Erin Thompson spent years managing her own blog about budgeting and debt. Because of that, she has great insights not only about managing spending and borrowing but also about running websites profitably. When she's not writing articles for us, she's traveling and looking for new types of wines to try.
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