How Do You Avoid Becoming a Workaholic?

Some of the jobs I have held over the years have been downright awful. I remember working one summer during college at a factory that manufactured those hard-shelled briefcases (like the ones James Bond would carry). Every day I woke up early, drove downtown, did 8 hours of manual labor at minimum wage, bought my lunch from a dirty taco truck, and listened to my supervisor try to fit as many vulgar terms for female body parts into one sentence as he could — and he was proficient, let me tell you.

Menial jobs like that one suffocated me because I never felt a passion for hauling briefcase parts from one part of the factory to another for weeks on end. I wanted a job I loved — one that I was passionate about. Oddly enough, I have learned that having a job I love can be even more draining than any of the jobs I hated.


I love the work I do now, I really do. It gives me a chance to be creative, to learn new things, and to meet new people. I was just hired on at my company full time on April 1st. Before that, for the past two and a half years, I worked from home as a freelance designer and video editor. It was nice being home all the time, but the inconsistent stream of work was making it hard to make a living.

Now, I’m in an office — and I’m here a lot (3:00 am as I write this). The work I do is fun. So fun that I lose track of how much time has gone by while I’m working. The work is also time consuming with a lot of imminent deadlines, which sometimes require me to put in some long days. None of this would be a problem except for the fact that I have a wife and son (and a daughter on the way) at home. When I work long hours, I don’t get to see them.

I’m not complaining, I’m just trying to mindful of maintaining a proper balance in my life. I love my job and I’m good at it; But I also love my family, and have a commitment to being there for them as well.

If you’ve been or currently are in this situation, I’d love to hear any tips for how you manage the balance between work and family. How have you been able to stay dedicated to your job and not neglect the ones you love the most? I want to do the best I can for my employer and for my family. How do I do both?

If you have any sage advice for me, please leave a comment below.

I miss you, buddy. When Mom tells me your bedtime prayer is for me to work fast and get home quickly, it breaks my heart. But work is a responsibility, a necessity, and a privilege. As you grow older, I pray that you will take pride in your career, in providing for your family. Busy seasons come and go, and sometimes that means sacrificing and learning how to balance. Whatever happens, make sure you make time to be with your family.

  • Monica Barrera

    Me and my husband constantly go through the same situation. Owning your own businesses is A LOT OF WORK! Whenever we can is, go everywhere together. Sometimes is 1 am and we are ALL still at the shop either helping, or just keeping him company. When we are not working, we escape to either Rocky Point, Flagstaff, or Prescott. Or we take a renovating day off and the girls miss a day of school and either we watch t.v. on our pjs all day all of us in my room, or we go hiking, the movies, etc. I think that while the girls learn how to work, they also learn how to let go of everything and relax. Our motto is “work hard but play harder” otherwise what would be the point of working so much if you don’t get to enjoy the fruits of you labor?

  • Geoff

    I know your situation. Although I never worked those types of hours I can promise you my old company wished I did. My approach isn’t the best, especially in a right to work state but I always told myself my family was first. I have always kept a commitment to myself that I would never subject myself or my family to my company taking advantage of me. Whenever I was asked to stay late I said no. If I lost my job I figured it was meant to be because in the end the love for your friends and family should prevail right? I am positive god did not create any of us to slave away and miss out on the important and necessary interaction with our family. So since 2009 after I was laid off from probably the most laid back company out there I have been everywhere with employment, mainly self employment. The pay is inconcistent, the hours are all over the place but I always have time to be with my family when they need me most. Now a days companies are primarily worried about the bottom line. They say they care about your family time but that is just PR and marketing bull. You are nothing more than a breathing living machine. Remember that. It is up to you to decide where and how the balance is established by setting your own limits with your boss and company. It might get you fired but then that might be destiny. You heard the phrase, greater the risk, the greater the reward! If you believe in yourself and become what you believe you can be you will be successful at what you do without a boss. And yes….work hard but most definitely play much much harder!