Debate: Are you a workaholic?

Researchers from Norway and the U.K. have developed The Bergen Work Addiction Scale, which evaluates your work habits to determine


Researchers from Norway and the U.K. have developed The Bergen Work Addiction Scale, which evaluates your work habits to determine if you are not-addicted, mildly addicted or a workaholic.

The scale uses core elements of addiction such as salience ‘ work dominates your thinking and behavior ‘ and withdrawal ‘ you have unpleasant feelings when the work day is done’ to determine your degree of work addiction.

After scoring myself using the criteria found below, I found that I am a workaholic.

But the thing is I like to work. Yes, I do think of how I can free up more time to work and sometimes I do deprioritize my social life because I put my job first. But working doesn’t take over my life.

I’m not just a workaholic, I’m an engaged workaholic.

Dutch researchers in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology last year made this distinction. A workaholic is someone that puts in long hours and has a strong uncontrollable drive to work hard. The problem is that because they’re always thinking about work, their relationships, job satisfaction and health suffer.

Engaged workers on the other hand also find it difficult to detach from work but they find a sense of fulfillment and pleasure doing their job. They are motivated by self-accomplishment instead of material and social rewards such as money and supervisor’s approval ‘ things that motivate workaholics.

Merging these qualities together, you get engaged workaholics.

In the study, engaged workaholics spent more time working but did not burnout as easily as workaholics. This suggests that self-motivation and job fulfillment may deter the negative effects of workaholism.

Take the test.  Are you a workaholic?

Select your response to the following criteria: (1) Never, (2) Rarely, (3) Sometimes, (4) Often, and (5) Always

‘    You think of how you can free up more time to work.
‘    You spend much more time working than initially intended.
‘    You work in order to reduce feelings of guilt, anxiety, helplessness and depression.
‘    You have been told by others to cut down on work without listening to them.
‘    You become stressed if you are prohibited from working.
‘    You deprioritize hobbies, leisure activities, and exercise because of your work.
‘    You work so much that it has negatively influenced your health.

Scoring "often" or "always" on at least four of the seven items may suggest that you are a workaholic.

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‘Amy Crofts, web intern