People now are getting used to excessive work hours as the globalization accelerates. In order to survive, a large number of enterprises urge their staff to finish more work with higher quality or they are in danger of getting fired. Therefore, it is not so surprising when we get the fact that people work more hours nowadays. Workaholism, which is used by scholars, to describe the phenomenon, brings about a huge revolution in the way people work. The change of work pattern leads to personal problems. There were quite a few divorces caused by the complaints made by one partner on the other partner’s too heavy work load and pressure.
There also are workaholic fathers who have never seen his baby awake because of the busy work. Even some social issues are attributed to it. Less people are getting involved in community activities. In addition, the number of juvenile delinquency is increasing, which can be attributed to parents’ over work to some extent. Up to now, many researches have been conducted to find our facts about workaholism. This essay aims to define workaholism and demonstrate its effects on people’s health and happiness. Although the impacts are not positive, measures can be taken to reduce the negative influences of workaholism.
To start with, there are several different definitions of workaholism. Oates’ (1971) (cited in Bonebright et. al, 2000, p60) definition is straight and explicit. He described it as “an addition to work, the compulsion or the uncontrollable need to work incessantly. ” In addiction, Thorne(1987) (cited in Bonebring et. al, 2000, p60) looked into the phenomenon in a slight distinct angle. In his point of view, it is an obsession to work that many are proud of as the result of encouraging working over industriously in this society. There are several factors which are attributed to the spread of workaholism.
Firstly, some people get huge satisfaction from fulfilling a task, therefore those people constrain themselves in the workplace but feel nothing wrong, and sometimes, people even forget the time and the world outside (Bonebright et. al, 2000, p60). This is quite common as with the improvement of quality of life, people now are more focusing more on the self-realization rather than the basic physical needs. Respect, dignity is necessary for a so-called decent and comfortable life, and workplace, is the exact place some get their confidence or pride from.
Secondly, the affluenza, which means “people are never satisfied with the amount of money they have or the amount of possessions they own”, can explain for the excessive work hours (Hamilton & Denniss, 2005, p88). The class boundaries are becoming quite obvious in many countries. As a result, workers are always looking forward to the better life and never think what they have already owned is enough. Besides, the environmental factor—influences from outside, is the key to workaholic behaviors.
Harmful company culture, as pointed out in the definition, has an “unhealthy spillover effects into the family” (Quick, et al, 2004, p433). Companies encourage their staff to work hard and leave their family, personal life behind, and to be fully dedicated into their career. Examples of hardworking employee is set in front of the whole staff, which instills a sense that only through overtime work can an individual become a great worker(Bassman, 1992, p77). Moreover, government may be to blame due to policies that result in longer working hours comes into existence (Hamilton & Denniss, 2005, p88).
For example, “labor market deregulation” was for workers’ sake at first, but received terrible responses finally because countless workers suffer more pressure and working hours after it is issued. Government can never be too careful to work out a project on labor market. It is necessary to know what workaholism brings to people’s health including mental and physical health. Hamilton & Denniss(2005, p88) present study which shows employees who work long time are more likely to die from “cardiovascular attack”. Illnesses such as obesity, alcoholism are also found to link with long working time (Hamilton & Denniss, 2005, p88).
Working late occupies the sleeping time which leads to many health problems. Insomnia is one of them which means sleep disturbance. People who suffer from it may become the cause of work accident and inefficient (Quick et al, 2004, p426). In terms of mental health, Hamilton & Denniss(2005, p88) argue that workaholism is responsible for certain mental disorder, such as depression, anxiety. People under tough working condition are easily to “burn out”. That is why there are more psychological clinics these days.
According to some statistics, Hamilton & Denniss (2005, p88) state “preterm birth for woman” is related to workaholism, and career women who spend too much time on working are likely to have low weight babies. There is no doubt that workaholism brings work and family imbalance. Because one’s time and energy are limited and cannot be separated too much on family if one are working to his limits. Scientific research shows that if one partner of a couple experiences work and family conflict, the other partner will be affected, and more parental problems come from family suffering from work and family conflicts (Quick et al, 2004, p426).
Juvenile delinquency and violence are more likely to happen in those families. For those who do not have much time for family, they usually think their salaries can ensure his family a stable relationship, however, 75% interviewees say that the time spending with families and friends is happier (Hamilton & Denniss, 2005, p88). Time seems to be more relaxing with people who they like, but they sacrifice it for a better future. Work and family conflict overlap is a “potential hazard” in couple’s relationship. It has been connected to the satisfaction towards marriage.
Quick (2004, p426) thinks the couple may complain about their marriage under the stress of working too hard. Consequently, if it is not handled well, the number of divorces will increase. As discussed above, workaholism seems like a monster which destroys our peaceful life, still there are ways to avoid its adverse impacts through the way of balance work and family life. Two areas of life have to be managed to stay away from work and family overlap, including family life, work responsibilities (Quick et al, 2004, p426).
For family life, Quick et al (2004, p426) think it is important to let one’s spouse to know that he is in a tough time and he wishes to be through with her. It is said that distress will be divided if it is shared, and family members are the best listeners for employee who are having a miserable experience. Employees who said their family members provided support and help experienced less trouble in dealing with work and family relationship (Quick et al, 2004, p426). This makes a family more united and eliminates the gap between busy worker and his family.
In terms of work responsibility, Quick et al (2004, p426) recommend SOC method which represents selection, optimization, and compensation, to apply to reduce the conflict. Selection means “identifying and setting an objective” to make clear what one is doing for. Optimization refers to using possible measures to reach the goals. In the final phase, compensation is important to the whole process. The goals that are not reached at first are made up for by individuals using some other ways. Individuals use additional resources to make up for their inability to fully reach the goals set in the SELECTION period.
For example, a busy mother prepares for a remarkable dinner for their family after a bustling working month. In reducing the ill impact, organization also plays a significant role. Increasing number of enterprises have become aware of the problems that their employees are facing challenges in balancing work and family life, and corporations found special program to help them. These programs are usually specially created based on different company culture; hence it is effective to organization and employee himself (Bassman, 1992, p77-81).
In conclusion, workaholism has already drawn people’s attention due to its bad impacts on human beings, nevertheless, the bad impacts can be removed if the suffers or the people around them come to help if more facts and causes can be find out. This essay defined what workaholism is and demonstrated the causes and effects as well as the solutions. The continuing development of economy needs the healthy work environment, and the organizations as well as individuals have the responsibilities to contribute to the issue. Bibliography: 1. Bonebright, C. A. , Clay, D. L. nd Ankenmann, R. D. 2000, “The Relationship of Workaholism with Work-Life Conflict, Life Satisfaction, and Purpose in Life”, Journal of Counseling Psychology, vol. 47, W, p. 469-477 2. Hamilton, C. and Denniss, R. 2005, Affluenza—-When Too Much Is Never Enough, Allen & Unwin Crow’s Nest 3. Quick, J. D. , Henley, A. B. and Quick, J. C. 2000, “The Balancing Act—- At work and At Home”, Organizational Dynamics, vol. 33, 4, p. 426-438 4. Emily S. Bassman, 1992, “6 Overwork and the Workaholic Organization”, Abuse in the Workplace: Management Remedies and Bottom Line Impact, p. 77-81