This Is What It Really Is Like To Be A Workaholic: You literally have NO stopwatch, no clock and no stop button on your system. All you know is that there is a task at hand and you are the person to get that shit done. You wake up every morning at the same time, like clockwork. You don’t even need an alarm anymore.
You’re already half way through your first cup of tea, or coffee and you’ve skimmed through your emails, sorting them out in order of importance—what needs attendance right away and what can wait for later in the day.
You have over three notebooks, or journals—one for meetings, appointments and work-related stuff; one to sort out your thoughts from time to time and yet another for miscellaneous scribbling in case you can’t get your hands on the previous two. You have a well-organised desk which is neatly stacked with books, memos, bills, diaries, cards and post-its. A calendar marks encircled dates of important events, deadlines that you need to attend to.
Your phone is always on silent or the calls go unanswered because you honestly don’t even have the time to stare at the caller screen. You’ve made more commitments than you can singlehandedly uphold and yet, somehow you manage to do it, anyway. You’re on the constant lookout for interns and juniors but, somehow, none of them appeal to your professional self because, quite frankly, no one can do it the way you would do it.
Your work ethic is stronger than your immune system and never mind the headache that’s been bothering you for over two days now, or the mild fever that’s not so mild anymore; if there’s work to be done, you’re doing it even if it’s the last thing you ever do.
You have a house to go back to everyday after work and yet, the walls of your home feel alien because you’re used to your office space; you have a friend circle that’s dwindling with each passing day because you either keep cancelling plans or you’re never around when they’re being made. You’ve missed birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, festivities and countless other “moments” that have led to friends and family members to distance their selves from you, simply because you’re a no-show.
You’ve cancelled dates and dinners and prioritized meetings and assignments over love and relationships. You’d prefer the confines of your office chair over the comfort of your bed at home. You don’t get why nobody gets it. You don’t get how some people can measure their work by the hours and minutes’ hands of the clock. Work never stops, simple.
Your work is your solace. You use it to block out the drama; you use it to block out the emotions. You use it as an excuse and an outlet for everything and everyone. If you had the option to choose between your work and dealing with people, you would probably choose the former… probably.
It’s a habit; not a good one. But, you haven’t yet passed the judgment on that. You’re going to let it just pan out and see what unfolds before you; after all, hard work always pays off. You’re sort of counting on that part because a part of you is afraid that otherwise, you might realize that it might all be for nothing; and that, just maybe, one day you’ll come out of all this alone, with no respite whatsoever. And you don’t want to think about that.
So, you drown yourself in more work, all over again. It’s a Catch 22 situation. But, you don’t mind it. Internally, you’ve become robotic, you get in do your shit and get out. You have unseen radar when it comes to work. You can sniff it out even when there is nothing left to sniff at. You’re like the work police. You’ve mastered the art of blocking people and noise out; like a race horse with a one-track mind—tuned into your work station.
You know it’s a problem. People have literally scolded you to get out of your chair and go home already. You don’t. You secretly don’t know how to anymore. Leaving early, getting a day off feels weird, if not alien. And to be honest, you don’t know what to do about it. You have no life outside of your work. You’ve spent Valentine’s Day and your birthday working because what else would you rather be doing, anyway?
It’s not sad; it’s not ideal. It’s just what it is. One day… some day, you’ll probably look back at this and think of it as time well invested. Or at least that is the hope.