It’s no surprise to me that I have the work ethic I do. I’m definitely my Daddy’s girl.
If you looked up “workaholic” in the dictionary I’m pretty sure my my Dads name would be etched in there somewhere….. He’s 70 years old and still works every single day of his life. Not through necessity, but through choice. He enjoys it. It’s inbuilt in him to continue to succeed, make accomplishments and I don’t think he really knows what the word relax means.
I grew up idolising him as a very successful businessman. He worked extremely hard, flew all over the world and I luckily never had to hear the word “we can’t afford that” being uttered by my parents. I was privileged and I thank him for that. He travelled everywhere in limousines, business class flights and I really looked up to him. I still do.
The byproduct of that meant during my childhood and teenage years I didn’t see my Dad much. He was often away in Asia or the US for weeks at a time, and when he was in the UK he left for work before I woke and came back as I was going to sleep. At weekends work still came first.
I’m sure you can all imagine the difficulties this may have brought along the years for me, and my family. I vowed that if/ when I have a family of my own one day that I won’t make the same mistake.
Yet, at 35 years old I sit here today and I’m a complete workaholic just like my Dad. I’ll admit I’m an addict. I have an addictive personality and when it comes to work I’m addicted to success and achieving.
I think its always been inherently in me. At school I studied so much that my Mum had to tell me to stop revising for my GCSEs and to start having more breaks – like, what kid needs to be told not to revise!? At my very first full time job I’d arrive at work every day at 7.30am, rather than the 9am which was my contracted start time. No one was ever in the office apart from me but I wanted to get a head start while the office was quiet. With every job I’ve had I’ve always gone above and beyond because I’ve wanted to succeed. I’ve wanted to do a brilliant job, not just a good one. I wanted to do everything thoroughly and most of all I wanted to improve what was done before.
This work ethic has meant I’ve achieved promotions, pay rises and now I work for myself which means the benefits of working hard are even more obvious.
I get pleasure in setting goals and smashing them. I get pleasure in being able to experience luxury holidays, designer handbags and eating out in nice restaurants because I’ve worked my arse off for it.
But all the pleasure that comes from addiction comes at a price, and like most addictions it has impacted on my mental and physical health.
I live my live exhausted. I lack sleep, I don’t eat properly, the late nights working drive me to reach for that glass of wine or two, and I don’t see my friends and family as much as they deserve…….. or I would like to.
But the problem with this addiction is that people encourage it. Including me.
Being a hard worker is seen as something to congratulate. Every promotion is met with “well done you” and a congratulations card which pushes you even more. The additional money, bigger title and praise – you can see why it’s easily addictive.
I myself on this blog promote working your arse off and being a total #Girlboss, but as with everything in life it’s about balance and that’s something I don’t talk about or practice enough.
For too long I have felt that my successful career is what defines me. It’s how people describe me and to be fair I’ve liked it. But being successful never ends. It’s a constant circle of achieving and setting more goals and its exhausting.
As deep as this sounds I’ve really grown in my 30’s. I’ve become more empathetic, more self aware and I have actually realised that there is more to life than work. My success does not define me and my health is more important than how many pound signs I see in my bank account.
I’m always going to be a hard worker, an extremely hard worker, but I’m trying to keep my addiction under control. I’m going to try and make more time for myself. I’ve said try…..
I’m kinda writing this post as a bit of therapy for myself, because once you say something out loud it means so much more. And….. to any workaholics out there that are making the same mistake as me, know that it’s not just OK to take time out for yourself, but imperative.
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Photography by Kaye at Fordtography
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