Young people are suffering from "workaholism", the work addiction that affects 66% of Millennials.
Young people are suffering from “workaholism”, the work addiction that affects 66% of Millennials. Photo by Avi Richards on Unsplash
In bathrooms, on the subway, at the post office, in the gym, during dinners with friends: young people are suffering from “workaholism,” or work addiction. According to research published last year in the American magazine Forbes, it is affecting 66% of Millennials – a situation that has most likely become worse, not better, due to COVID-19. With details that are cause for concern: 32% admitted to working even when sitting on the toilet; 63% claimed they were productive even when sick; 70% is always active even on weekends. And according to a poll published in the Washington Examiner, 39% of digital natives would be willing to work even on vacation.
The separation between private life and work no longer exists, with the latter now taking over the first. It’s what in the United States they call “hustle culture“, the idea that to be successful you need to be at the top of your work game every day.
The main culprit of this hyper-productivity is technology, of course, which allows us to work wherever and whenever we want. All you need is a connection, no need to even go to the office. And with smartphones, we constantly have a desk at hand, running the inevitable risk of never disconnecting and living in a continuous cycle in which the work is ever present. The number of working hours becomes longer, breaks up and covers every area of private life.
Other factors that generate work addiction are demanding managers, the excessive desire to succeed, the fear of not having a career, and not being as good as others. Widespread concerns among a generation, the Millennials, which shows a lot of concern for the future compared to baby boomers.
“The separation between private life and work no longer exists. It’s what in the United States they call “hustle culture”, the idea that to be successful you must be at the top of your work game every day.”
This is the so called “workaholism”, a term coined in 1971 by psychologist Wayne Oates in the book Confessions of a Workaholic: The Facts about Work Addiction. The term refers to the compulsion or uncontrollable need to work incessantly. An addiction that can cause symptoms such as anxiety, insomnia, depression and weight gain. So much so that the Millennials’ generation is also known as the “burnout generation“. And the unlimited work hours affect social relations with friends, relatives, wives and husbands. The result is that divorce rates very high: according to a research conducted on 300 women by Dr. Bryan Robinson of the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, only 45% of workaholics are able to avoid it, compared 84% of the average population.
Specific therapy centers have even been created to treat work addiction. The most important is based in New York and is called “Workaholics Anonymous”. Not only: you can find self-help books to be free from work addiction, which include techniques very similar to those used with alcoholism or drug abuse, in bookstores. But in this case, the substance to detox from is overworking.