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8 days ago by wincy

After our second daughter was born with a disability and we didn’t know if she’d make it to her first birthday I threw myself into my new job utterly. I was working 7-7 almost every day, took every opportunity to travel, and in general was absent from the situation as much as my “very important job” would allow.

For me I felt completely powerless at the hospital. At work I got to solve “important” problems that were trivial in comparison to the things I had no control over, and was rewarded for doing so. It felt good to be useful when my life felt in complete chaos outside of work.

At one point I stayed up all night to wrap up a project that wasn’t even that important. My boss, rather than being happy with me, sat me down and said I needed to make sure to sleep and take care of myself, that I was going to burn myself out. I really appreciate him saying that in retrospect, even though I felt a little offended at the time. I try to balance work and home life, and have developed a great relationship with my daughter, now two.

In retrospect I wish I’d had the emotional stability to spend more time at the hospital, and to provide more emotional support for my wife who was saddled with going to the hospital almost every day.

Things are better now, our daughter is doing very well, but the workaholism can be because of external factors, as overworking made me able to ignore the other, more depressing parts of my life where I lacked control.

8 days ago by fatnoah

>For me I felt completely powerless at the hospital. At work I got to solve “important” problems that were trivial in comparison to the things I had no control over, and was rewarded for doing so. It felt good to be useful when my life felt in complete chaos outside of work.

Wow, did this resonate with me. In my case, I was suffering from depression, though I didn't realize it at the time. The extreme focus required by work distracted me from how miserable I was. I dreaded going home and constantly came up with excuses to go to the office on weekends.

8 days ago by bitbuilder

I'm sure a lot of us can relate.

One of my best memories from my career: I was sitting at my desk at 8pm "working" because I had "so much to do". When in reality I was just dreading going home. A coworker that I barely new dropped by my desk and said "Things aren't going well at home, are they? Me either." We proceeded to head across the street to a bar to share stories. It helped immensely at that time.

I make an effort to pay it forward. If you see someone in the office at all hours, especially when wfh is an option, odds are good things aren't going great for them. Even just a simple "How are things going with you?" over the water cooler can go a long ways.

8 days ago by scarby2

> One of my best memories from my career: I was sitting at my desk at 8pm "working" because I had "so much to do". When in reality I was just dreading going home.

This used to be a daily thing for me. I would stay at the office from 10 am to 10pm most days not really working but i just didn't want to go home.

7 days ago by fatnoah

>If you see someone in the office at all hours, especially when wfh is an option, odds are good things aren't going great for them

It's definitely something I keep a sharp eye out for. Sudden increases or changes in hours definitely warrant a conversation. With COVID and WFH, I've had a few of those conversations as well. It's harder to catch the signals, but they're there. Changes in productivity, hours, etc.

8 days ago by agumonkey

I wonder if other cultures or other eras knew how to deal with that better.

Ignoring and distracting problems through side gigs...

7 days ago by ragingrobot

I can resonate with this one, in addition I often catch myself taking others' tasks just to keep my mind busy.

8 days ago by vmception

I was most focused on my career after a breakup. The structure of the work environment coupled with the reward is pretty unparalleled.

Other things I can think of with structure usually have a kind of endless goal that can't be spent at your discretion. Rehab, fitness, organized religion. I've never done rehab, but it seems to overlap with fitness where even if you gamify it with achievements, its not like a game at all because you have to do the same achievement the next day and forever.

The earnings, advancement, structure and distraction do have their place especially when your personal relationships and life isn't going the way you want it.

8 days ago by trianglem

I find all of this so hard to relate with. I’ve worked for a decade, have a high paying job and have been promoted multiple times but to me none of it is enjoyable. I don’t think I could ever be happy in a situation where I’m required to do something for 9 hours everyday. I can’t get around the idea that all of this a weak abstraction to make money and care very little for approval from authority figures.

8 days ago by astura

Work makes a great distraction for someone who is very unhappy with their family life, has a lot of emotional suffering, or when someone feels entirely powerless over their life circumstances. The more you work the more you feel in control, and/or the more you distract yourself from your feelings. The pay and job duties don't matter so much, I know someone who is a workaholic on low paid low skill job.

If you don't have those personal issues, then yeah, you'd find it hard to relate to.

8 days ago by whatshisface

What's common among the rest of the commenters is that the rest of their life was rendered emotionally uninhabitable. If you had nothing positive outside of work, maybe you would see it the same way they did.

8 days ago by thisisnico

Honestly my home life is significantly calmer and more stable than my work life. Working in IT as a sysadmin, your entire work life consists an abundance of chaos, and a lot of things are out of your control that you can get blamed for anyway, even if you are not blamed for something out of your control, say office 365 is down. It still looks bad on you. It would be nice to work in an Industry with structure and actual rewards for your effort.

8 days ago by filoleg

As someone who currently has a pretty emotionally stable life and can totally relate to how you feel right now, I think the "emotionally stable" part is what prevents you from relating to the parent comment.

Back when I had a lot of emotionally turbulent events happening in my life, I was in the same boat as the parent comment you are replying to. Things in life going extremely sideways and leaving me heartbroken/depressed were what pushed me to that same kind of workaholism described above. Every single significant side project I wrote was during some awful-feeling events happening in my life. Those were also the times when I spent the least time doing "fun" things (e.g., videogames), because I just didn't feel like it.

That drive for me had nothing to do with the actual desire to make money or have career advancement, it was just a mirage. In fact, I would say I have more of the actual desire to make more money and advance in career when I am in "good times", but the drive isn't quite there. But when the "bad times" come, I have no actual desire for money/career advancement. I do however get that insane intrinsic drive to just get away from all the "bad things" in life at that time by diving deep into working/studying/etc. It wasn't about money, it was about doing something productive, because most of that work (at least for me) was just side projects that I didn't get paid a dime for, and neither was I expecting or cared to get paid for it.

8 days ago by ThisIsTheWay

Just wanted to say thank you for sharing this. It's not easy to be vulnerable, especially when it comes to emotional intelligence and what you could have done better. I'm happy to hear your family is doing well.

8 days ago by simplestman

This describes me, sort of. I feel more and more lack of control over my personal life. My parents have become demanding and mean as they have gotten old. My wife wants to get a bigger home while I don't think we can afford it. But I am too tired of arguing, so just giving in and going to get whatever she wants. My son loves and I love him more than anything, but when I am not working, he wants to do everything with me. Which is great but also very tiring. Simple tasks become super long.

So I was spending longer hours in the office and now longer hours doing work from home. Also I am starting different business ventures that take me out of home. Those are the only things where I feel like I have some control. I can push back against my boss a lot easier than against my parents or wife.

8 days ago by climb_stealth

FWIW I found couple therapy very helpful. Especially around the feeling of lack of control in the relationship and not being able to fulfill my needs or being able to ask for them.

It really helps to have someone independent who has both parties' interests in mind and who can a) see what is healthy in the relationship and what isn't, b) help with talking about invidivual needs, c) bridge the gap between the two people in the relationship.

Couple therapy is often portrayed as a weird thing for broken people in movies and shows. In reality it can be really empowering and rewarding for everyone involved even when it is not about impending doom. But, it requires being honest with yourself or being willing to learn to be honest with yourself. That shit is hard. As in seriously hard.

8 days ago by bitcoinmoney

How do you find a therapist?

8 days ago by honkycat

Most of the time I've seen it, it is avoidance of the rest of their life. "Change diapers? Oh, sorry honey, I uhh... gotta do this thing at work. Darn it!"

One phenomenon I've always noticed about workaholics is that they THINK they are being more productive, but often times they are just spending more time spinning their wheels. Also the effect it has on their mood/interpersonal skills, and the pressure it puts on the rest of the team cancels it out. Seriously, one rude comment in the morning can throw a developer off for the rest of the day, it's not worth it.

"Man what's up with frank today?"

"Oh he was pulling an all-nighter doing a non-urgent task."

"Did anybody ask him to?"

"No. In fact we asked him to stop."

I consider independent study, side-projects, reading a good book, smoking some dope, cooking a good meal with my partner, getting enough sleep, relaxing, and exercising(!!!!) part of my job. I don't care what kind of mutant you THINK you are, you will perform better if you go to bed and get a full nights rest and clean your brain out. It is just science.

Finally, while it is true that "work more = better review at work", it's just... not worth it. If your job is your whole life and you are not making +200k: GET A LIFE. You have better things to do with your time than make some other man money. Work is a "safe place." Time goes in, money comes out. But that doesn't mean it is a healthy way to spend all of your time.

8 days ago by justathrowa

>But that doesn't mean it is a healthy way to spend all of your time.

Dunno about that.

Just a personal anecdote, but this year my boss specifically told me to work less, slashing my salary down by $10,000 a year to emphasize the point. Prior to this, 200 to 240 hours a month was pretty typical and has been for the last 8 years. (I doubt it's out of real concern for my health, my workload hasn't been reduced).

What I've found was that in the times of idleness though I've thought more and more about suicide. The Christmas holidays were some of the first I've had to have an entire week to myself and I spent most of it was spent testing methods for speed, logistics, and discomfort, as well as scouting suitable locations; somewhere that would force an EMS / police arrival on site by 10 minutes or so. Updated my will and managed to work out the logistics of transferring all my assets to to remaining family quickly when I finally make the decision to kill myself.

Never in my life has it gotten this far before; never really had time to seriously think about until now. I'd imagine that most people though would probably be more fine with a miserably but living workaholic, then a corpse dead of suicide.

As such, could you really say that is working long hours such is really unhealthy? Or such a terrible thing?

8 days ago by ulysses

Perhaps replace the time worked with time spent looking for another job. Despite having faced suicidal depression a time or two myself, I have no great advice to offer; but one of the things I've turned to many times is a bit in the ASR FAQ.

  5.8) But seriously, should I kill myself?

  Seriously, no.
  As posted to ASR by Ed Evans:

    Ultimate recovery stalks us all, no need to succour it.  Quit or
    take a leave with or without pay (or permission), stop seeing him
    or her, recognise that the cat or dog does rule you, call in sick
    and spend the day in the big blue room, it's only money and can
    be earned again, all the pictures will be posted again, call the
    local professionals if you really feel that way...

    And if all else fails?  Lawn mowing.

  If you're willing to take the severe step of killing yourself, you should
  be willing to take less severe steps such as quitting your job or taking a
  leave without permission.  And really, there _is_ help out there.
  Maybe in here, too.

  And more of us have been there than you may realize.  We're grateful
  now that we didn't do it.  (Most days.)  In chess they have a saying,
  "You can't win by resigning."  Keep playing; you never know.
8 days ago by wittyreference

I kind of feel obligated to pipe in as a physician:

There are signs of people not being a high suicide risk, despite depression and overt claims of suicidality. This post is the absolute opposite of that - if you were with me in the clinic right now, I'd consider you an incredibly high risk of an actual suicide attempt. Please, please, please, please reach out to a professional and friends for help. Please.

7 days ago by justathrowa

With all respect Doctor, but I'd rather not. Could you say you or all your peers would gladly do so in my place? What do you imagine the outcome would be?

For whatever it's worth, the testing and arrangements were to solidify method and location, whereas the timing still remains uncertain, caused by me being the fool that I am. But I can reasonably guarantee you will not be affected in either case; at some point you'll scarcely remember this conversation and soon enough you'll have forgotten it in it's entirety as just another post on the internet. So best not to think on it.

8 days ago by nullsense

My dad killed himself when I was 15. I found his body after coming home from school on a sunny day excited to tell him I'd finally done well on a math test. It destroyed me emotionally. I didn't come right for 5 years and it left permanent emotional scars. It was hands down the nastiest, most brutal, awful and enduring experience I've ever had.

I beg you to reconsider. Talk to the people in your life about how you feel.

Edit: reflecting on this I feel like there is a law of conservation of pain. You can't eliminate your pain by suicide, you simply transfer it to others.

8 days ago by robocat

Working on how you would commit suicide is a very strong signal you are in mortal danger, according to my friend a nurse with experience.

Your problem to solve is: ‘what will make my life worthwhile.’ Make it your job to solve that and spend time and money(=stored time) to do so. The alternative job of how to end your life is a poor goal, IMHO.

You can pay someone to care about you (edit: and has the skills to be useful): a councillor or a life coach or a nurse or whoever... Choosing someone is a difficult problem, but it is tractable; perhaps try multiple people in parallel (edit: from different specialities) and pick whoever clicks the most with you.

Don’t be scared to spend money: as a purely financial decision anything that keeps you earning for many years to come would be an insanely great investment (in fact, so good that it is a startup idea in itself that if scaled could get VC funding).

In an ideal world you have someone close to you help you that (a) would take the time to help, (b) can make the time to help, and (c) has the ability to help. However it isn’t as common as it should be to have someone like that available. If you are lonely then you likely believe you don’t have that person in your life already, so paying a stranger is far simpler.

Finally, if you must commit suicide, please do it so that it plausibly looks like an accident. Suicide is devastating to so many people around you, even very loose acquaintances and strangers in your social graph... I have seen the deep effects of suicides rip through my own friends and acquaintances, and it is the caring and vulnerable that are most deeply and often permanently hurt (sometimes they may be on the far distant fringes of the social graph from the suicide). I personally believe you can do whatever you want with your life, but harming others touches their life.

Edit: if you reply with a way to contact you, I myself would share my time with you, because even just trying to help is an interesting challenge for me. I don’t have any training, but I might possibly be more in tune with you than many who do?

8 days ago by justathrowa

I think there's been some misunderstanding. If I'm understanding you correctly, you seem to believe that the issue is that I'm lonely, and it's not a bad assumption but it's not entirely correct. I grew up without friends, my parents forbade me from making friends from childhood until I was done university and by then for the most part I was, and still am, fine with being alone.

>Finally, if you must commit suicide, please do it so that it plausibly looks like an accident.

I had a few ideas, but the only semi feasible one I thought of so far was to mix heavy alcohol intoxication and hypothermia. Hypothermia is uncomfortable until you start loosing your mental faculties. The alcohol might be able to cover for the discomfort but I haven't tested that particular combination. And there's a slight concern about the poor sap that comes across my body.

Fentanyl overdose is probably the next option but I lack the necessary friends-of-friends to acquire some. And there isn't a way of testing the timing or potency against the time of arrival of EMT's that seem to carry Narcan in their pockets.

I'm open to hearing ideas if you have any though.

4 days ago by DeafSquid

Don't kill yourself

8 days ago by aerosmile

I found it interesting that you put a price tag on it. Also, $200k is about $150k more than most people make, but if you look at just the workaholic population and isolate for industries such as finance and law, many people in that group are going to be within the shooting range of that threshold. And there you have it - even within your own framework, it becomes understandable why we have so many workaholics.

My point is - the moment you put a price tag on your work-life balance, it becomes very difficult to escape the rat race. You really have to be quite militant about it or otherwise it won't work.

8 days ago by mrkstu

The difference is if you can get enough distance between your expenses and your income, you can completely escape the rat race in a significantly earlier timeframe.

For many outside of the ultra high cost of living zones, 200k is about that cut off level where you can reach escape velocity.

8 days ago by aerosmile

I should have clarified that I am not passing judgment on being a workaholic or not. I spent the majority of my working career as a workaholic, although I did try to escape it on a few occasions. The first and only time it worked was when I made it a non-negotiable part of my work to carve out certain lifestyle demands. At the time, it seemed quite likely that this could trigger some negative consequences, and as someone who worked hard on building a career, it wasn't an easy decision to consciously take a few steps back. I only pulled through because of the conviction that it had to happen.

In an alternate universe, I would have stayed a workaholic and would likely retire earlier than I will now. Both are good options IMO. The choices I made have to do with how I want to spend my free time - my favorite hobby requires top physical fitness, and I won't be able to pursue it semi-competitively for many more years.

8 days ago by lqet

> "Man what's up with frank today?"

> "Oh he was pulling an all-nighter doing a non-urgent task."

> "Did anybody ask him to?"

> "No. In fact we asked him to stop."

When I am doing this, it is usually because I have the strong feeling that I am in complete control of the problem right now, hours after midnight. Two fears then kick it: will I make it to this point of control a second time in the near future (3-6 months)? Will I even remember the extremely abstract concepts a few days from now? To me, the answer (confirmed by experience) is often: most likely not, better finish it now.

8 days ago by bradstewart

I know the feeling. In college (and for a year or so right after), I had the same answer.

A few years later, I've finally realized that any code I write at 2am almost always needs to be fixed--often substantially--soon after. I miss things. I write stupid bugs. I don't see the requirements clearly.

I've found writing things down (sometimes a few words, sometimes a few pages), sleeping on it, and reviewing those notes first thing in the morning--before email, before showering, before anything--to be a much a better strategy.

YMMV, of course.

8 days ago by r00fus

After you create your masterpiece of code, do you know enough to document and understand it later (so you can pass it on to others)?

Having been in the zone, I completely sympathize with the view that productivity isn't constant; that the cost to your health is worth the leap...

Have you ever had that feeling and then realized in the morning/next day that your feeling was illusory and you actually took the harder path?

8 days ago by ZephyrBlu

For me it's more about getting the idea out of my head. The code wouldn't be a finished product, but more like a brain dump.

8 days ago by fairity

> One phenomenon I've always noticed about workaholics is that they THINK they are being more productive, but often times they are just spending more time spinning their wheels.

>The effect it has on their mood/interpersonal skills, and the pressure it puts on the rest of the team cancels it out.

> You will perform better if you go to bed and get a full nights rest and clean your brain out

All of these claims are situational and often untrue. It's entirely possible for workaholics to be more productive, inter-personally smooth, and a team player.

The most convincing reason to not be a workaholic is not that it's a counter-productive effort. It's that workaholism will lead to decreased long-term fulfillment (for most people).

8 days ago by markus_zhang

I believe workaholists do not neccesarily love their job, but hate something else so much that they would rather find some place to take a bit of rest.

I think I'm developing into one...

8 days ago by laurent92

Now that you are not at the top, I can say it:

I have the theory that boys get into programming as a form of escapism – because the external world is frustrating to them. It is certainly my case, external world has all sorts of illogic demands, things that exist but should not be explicited, social rules, or various insults and condescension, some of them because we’re boys (my sister used to tell me boys have 13% fewer neurons, that’s why we’re stupid). So we talk to computers, although they can be extremely frustrating (I have spent hours at 7 years old finding the missing brackets — all of this in 1990 when I didn’t even speak English), but at least computers are logic. And they answer to us. They don’t make snarky comments. At least, when it fails, _it’s our fault_ . And we can fix it.

That would easily explain the gender gap in programming. It’s an escapism from the real world, while girls don’t need it as much because a lot of people are mindful of girls’ problems (notably teachers), or accept to listen to them.

I’d like to see an experiment: Give children 90% male teachers (the opposite of today’s ratio) and see whether programming then becomes more popular among girls than boys.

8 days ago by fraudsyndrome

I'd add that there is some kind of toxic behaviour from men in my CS class. Think the typical 4channer type people. Obviously not all but when I had a chat with a couple of women from my class, they mentioned it was common to get hit on all the time during group projects when they were there to study and get talked down on as if they don't know what's going on.

I see similar behaviours to how men sometimes "gatekeep" games or even anything computer related. It's quite common to hear of stories women face on online games when they open their mic.

Is there a chance they'd avoid it based on the type of people they might face? Maybe.

8 days ago by laurent92

> get talked down

How do you make the difference between being talked down because of gender, or because you didn’t practice the skills at the game enough, or bad relations or similar? Is it really the boy’s role to make the experience beautiful for girls? in which case, boys would have the gendered role of explaining the games to girls.

> gatekeeping games

You see, that is my point. Pretty much all activities of real life are gatekept. Programming is the only one that isn’t.

As a boy, 7 years old, my father took both my bigger sister and myself to explain the MS-DOS commands he knew. But does reading the 500-pages book on GW-BASIC by myself to understand how it works, even though I was French and 7yo and I had zero knowledge of English, sound like good gatekeeping to you? But my sister was then invited to various activities in school, including the school programming club if she wanted, but she chose the football club (and this was in the 1990ies). I wasn’t.

So I stuck with programming. No gatekeeping, no social inclusion, just RTFM until you understand the commands.

8 days ago by markus_zhang

>I have the theory that boys get into programming as a form of escapism

Absolutely my case, except that I'm a big boy approaching 40. I don't work as a programmer, but the job exposes extensive SQL and Python to me (SQL for querying db and Python for automating and sticking together things).

From my experience, programming is so far the only activity that can satisfy my need for creating things and escaping from this world. I mean I can't really cut off all my ties to this world but it's nice to have a small world of my own to enjoy myself, from time to time.

8 days ago by Izkata

> They don’t make snarky comments. At least, when it fails, _it’s our fault_ . And we can fix it.

Certainly not alone here, this is almost the same as part of the Hacker's Manifesto:

> I made a discovery today. I found a computer. Wait a second, this is

> cool. It does what I want it to. If it makes a mistake, it's because I

> screwed it up. Not because it doesn't like me...

> Or feels threatened by me...

> Or thinks I'm a smart ass...

> Or doesn't like teaching and shouldn't be here...


...this part of which also rang true to me throughout school.

8 days ago by stonecharioteer

Oh wow. This hits it on the nail. Some of the teachers who understood how to teach me were male. Only one woman knew how to teach me. In India, school teachers are almost always women. I turned to programming as soon as I got a computer. I also read a lot of escapist fiction. Fiction that wasn't based in India or in the real world. Tolkien, Eddings, Robert Jordan, Terry Brook, Agatha Christie (I know but her books weren't based in our time so I seemed to see it as escapism).

Thanks for making the effort to point this out. Do you have any reading material on the topic?

8 days ago by exclusiv

I think it's different for entrepreneur workaholics. Your startup is your baby. It's fun. It's challenging. It's rewarding.

And when you're young I think it's great to dedicate to work. You accelerate your learning. You make more money. You meet smart people. I don't know anyone very knowledgeable and skilled for their age that did a work/life balance route.

If you are a workaholic but also a learnaholic, then I don't buy that as this toxic thing that can drive mental and physical health issues. Ok, maybe sleep issues.

I have a few businesses and I'd rather work on them than spend time on social media like my non-workaholic friends.

It's ok for people to say "you work too much", but I don't tell my friends "you spend too much time on Facebook". Maybe I should though?

I do agree that it can be a big problem though. Many dedicate themselves to their work because they are escaping something or avoiding other important obligations.

If that doesn't apply, then go get it!

Life is a hell of a lot more enjoyable when you don't have to worry about finances.

My parents told me "you care too much about money". No I care infinitely about NOT worrying about money. There's a difference.

You can care about money a lot, be focused on financial freedom and not be a Scrooge and accumulating for no reason.

8 days ago by scyzoryk_xyz

You do know that social media is not the only thing one can do outside of work, right?

Like, there are ways of spending time living that don’t revolve around trying to make “gains”; social, financial or any other kind.

Maybe this is something that your parents mean - they’re expressing a worry over whether you’re getting value out of life, as you’re hustling through all those businesses you seem to be running?

I notice entrepreneurs using the baby analogy a lot. It’s an interesting distortion of reality...

7 days ago by exclusiv

No my parents misunderstand. They are constantly worrying about money. Some people I think just see others working hard and it's framed on their experience of work.

I grew up a latch key kid and they worked very hard to help me get a great education. Based on this upbringing, I started my family later. As I had planned, I have no financial worries. That unlocks a lot of freedom.

> Like, there are ways of spending time living that don’t revolve around trying to make “gains”; social, financial or any other kind.

No there are not. Everything has a gain of some sort. Even charity work or meditation.

> I notice entrepreneurs using the baby analogy a lot. It’s an interesting distortion of reality...

I have kids and I don't think it's a distortion from that.

You also have to remember that a lot of people choose not to have kids. So yes, that is their figurative baby. Some others may have a dog.

8 days ago by redisman

Hilarious how the parent comment seems to categorize the whole rest of life on earth as “meh they’re probably on Facebook”. You know there’s nature, art, other intellectual pursuits, people, using your body in various ways etc.

8 days ago by bradstewart

The important distinction, for me, is the self-awareness to truly chose to work more and understand what you're giving up in the process.

I spent a long time being sucked into overworking primarily because I wanted to avoid some aspect of my life without realizing it. I compromised relationships, stopped hobbies that made me relaxed and happy--again without realizing it.

It's scary how life can just pass by while you're in a state like that.

But as long as you're aware of what you're doing, why you're doing it, and the "life debt" you're taking on--rock and roll. Pouring yourself into creating something really is an incredible thing.

8 days ago by markus_zhang

That's out of my definition of workoholics though. So I could be biased as I'm using my own definition. IMO if you really enjoy your wor then you are not a workoholic.

8 days ago by exclusiv

I'd agree with you on that too. The article says 7 more hours a week is a workaholic though and based on my experience with friends and family - they too make no distinction on whether you enjoy it or not. Even if you tell them, they don't have that experience to understand.

Kind of funny though. Nobody tells an athlete they "train too much". Or a researcher that they "research too much".

8 days ago by hnxs

For some, that something else is themselves.

I disagree with this submission title. Workaholism isn’t a cause of mental health problems, it’s a symptom.

8 days ago by convolvatron

absolutely. I used to use alcohol and other drugs to escape...whatever that is, I haven't figured it out. now that I'm dry - I use physical labor. just as at one point in my life I used programming.

at the studio where I work nearly everyone is 'in recovery' and everyone is quite open that the work is filling that hole.

8 days ago by mindracer

A manager of mine used to do 12-14 hour day Monday-Friday and sometimes go to the office to work over the weekend as well. Him and his girlfriend weren’t getting on at the time and he’d rather be working than in the house with her

8 days ago by markus_zhang

Yeah definitely. Sometimes you can't simply cut something away so you have to try to stay away from it as long as possible. I think the situation would improve if they just separate.

8 days ago by throwaway91627

Learned this the hard way. Spent the last 7 years grinding text books resulting in a place on a Masters in CS and a ~$200k income while working remotely from the UK (without a degree, at 26). Whole purpose was to earn as much as I could and it took over my life. Now I’m on antidepressants and overweight. Recently quit my uni course and job, and settled for a role around $65k with a New Years resolution to never be a workaholic again. Feeling better already :)

8 days ago by supernihil

this is really interesting!!! i am considering a drop exactly like that except from 100k to 62k in order to clear up the anxiety induced helltrain i'm currently on, asked about it here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25765287

sounds like you made the right choice, i am getting more and more convinced about sacrificing the career to get time for treating myself and the family better

8 days ago by throwaway91627

I think it’s really worth considering, but don’t do it off of my post :) Chat to your family about it but also consider speaking to your doctor about anti anxiety counselling/medication. Helped me get through a lot of it.

8 days ago by supernihil

dont worry, not doing these decisions lightheaded :-) just wanted to express that i admire the thought of skipping the "money making mission" i am on to take care of the real things i care about being my family and my head. I hope you all get a great 2021!

8 days ago by slumpt_

Considering same here. 300k valley salary ready to leave the valley and make maybe 100k in a country that isn’t fucked.

8 days ago by qmmmur

What did you work in if you don't mind me asking?

8 days ago by throwaway91627

Was a software developer but realised it’s much easier to be competitive, if you’re a good but not great dev, to get higher paying SDET roles.

8 days ago by randomopining

Don’t they get paid much less? Let’s say you’re a 7/10 dev, wouldn’t you get paid more as a dev?

7 days ago by Dracophoenix

How did you find a job that paid that much?

a day ago by throwaway91627

Just applying for roles in SF!

8 days ago by philmcp

In years to come we will look down on the 5 day working week in the same way we currently do with 15hr factory shifts during the industrial revolution.

It absolutely blows my mind that 99% of office roles are still 5 days / week, Monday to Friday - why is there basically no variation on this model? I'd be more than happy to work a job for 80% salary for 4 days per week...

So much so, I'm about to launch a website listing remote software jobs with a 4 day work week:


8 days ago by lrossi

Interesting. How long until you launch?

8 days ago by philmcp

Hopefully next week, will email everyone on the list and post it on HN when it's live

8 days ago by lrossi


8 days ago by MeinBlutIstBlau

I look forward to it!

8 days ago by jostmey

I get that Workaholism is a form of escapism for many people, but that's not necessarily the case for everyone. I personally become depressed if I cannot work on something important and potentially valuable, feeling that the days pass without meaning.

I spend lots of time with my kid because I see that as important. I set aside time to get enough sleep so that I can remain productive. But I hate weekends (unless at the park with my kid), I hate shopping, and I hate vacations. I think I avoid burnout because I don't waste time on meaningless tasks. Life is too short, and I want to accomplish a lot

8 days ago by bob1029

This is more-or-less my position.

I work at a very small company, and I have a lot of leverage relative to other opportunities. I can directly feel how my work converts into more business value & opportunity. This is not just about me though. It's also about being able to grow the company and provide amazing opportunities for other developers, project managers, executives, et. al. I view my company and team members almost as a big family. We offer all sorts of employee incentive packages, so my success also means that others on the team are reaping value.

For me, this is enough. I can go through life with the purpose of holding together a technology company & vision. Especially, when I view it through the lens of all the opportunity and support I can provide for other humans. I feel I can do a lot more good in this world through technology & business than if I were to bunker down and start my own family and pour all my energy into that bucket.

There is certainly a happy balance that a lot of people manage across both realms, but I have doubled-down a bunch of times on the technology paths, so I am fairly locked-in at this phase. I am truly happy with the choices I have made. Many times, the hardest part of this is ignoring some of the more toxic perspectives regarding your choices & contributions. I have to remind myself that a lot of people are really not happy with their jobs and just want to get in and out without too much drama.

8 days ago by tolbish

Wouldn't the need to feel productive in order to avoid meaninglessness/depression be considered escapism?

8 days ago by fairity

Sure, OC's situation could be categorized as escapism, technically, but it doesn't sound like the unhealthy kind. Escapism is only unhealthy if you're participating in the activity at the detriment of your long term fulfillment.

Similarly, addiction is generally bad, but if your addiction isn't detrimental to your long-term health, there's no problem.

8 days ago by dheera

To me workaholism is giving too much time to your main job.

On the other hand I'd I have a LOT of side projects that I consider to have meaning. Most of my vacations are projects, e.g.



Taking vacations like that makes me want to take vacations. I guess to rephrase what I want to say, I think looking for meaning is a fine thing to do, just don't put it all into your day job, look for meaning in other parts of your life too.

8 days ago by duggable

Man, this is me as well. I DREAD the weekends cause I don't know what to do with myself. I sit around feeling anxious and half-depressed, and my mind runs in circles. I'm typically excited for Monday so I can get back to work and distract myself from whatever is going on inside my head.

8 days ago by fistfucker3000

Why not work on something else that makes you happy? Pick up a new skill to exercise a different part of your body or brain? Take time to take care of yourself, cook a nice meal, meditate, call your parents. Build relationships, repair old ones you may have neglected. Very few people wish that they worked more when they get older.

8 days ago by ojnabieoot

The most important point from the study:

> We found that job demands could be the most important factor that can develop work addiction risk. So this factor should be controlled or should be investigated by the organization's manager, for example, HR staff, psychologists.

My last job could be described as “workaholism” but what was really going on was

1) my manager had a toxic relationship with their manager and were unfairly overworked

2) they passed this attitude on to their subordinates

3) the really ugly part: although my manager had high expectations, they were not very good about actual enforcement, so work from “underperforming” (< 45 hr/week) teammates was dumped onto “adequate” (> 60 hrs) employees, without any planning or accountability - or, crucially, any flexibility. I had never had a boss who took less responsibility for their worker’s projects.

Speaking for myself: I have a serious mental illness and not a lot of economic stability. So although I am a decent programmer (when I am well) I am very susceptible to stress-related illnesses. In November and December I ended up losing about 20% of my body weight, entirely due to work stress, and had to resign. I really tried my best to get my boss to listen and didn’t have the heart or strength to drag them into HR :(

Just an ugly situation when managers don’t take responsibility for the health of their employees. Especially when the issue is their own stress and inexperience versus greed.

8 days ago by dfee

Because none of the comments (yet) reflect the content of the article, here is a useful excerpt that should help refocus us:

> The results show that high job demands at work are strongly associated with work addiction risk but the job control level does not play the same role. The prevalence of work addiction risk is higher for active and high-strain workers than for passive and low-strain workers. These two groups of workers appeared to be more vulnerable and therefore can suffer more from the negative outcomes of work addiction risk, in terms of depression, sleep disorder, stress and other health issues.

For a definition of the four types of working situations, they’re in the article and marked with battery icons.

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