Author Topic: Work addiction. How do I stop?  (Read 3524 times)

Vitai Slade

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Work addiction. How do I stop?
« on: February 17, 2014, 01:37:59 AM »
It's not that I particularly love working... because I really don't. In fact, the hatred of the 'slave labor' we are forced to undergo until we retire or become financially independent is what drives me to want to work more and more now... with the idea being that more now equals a substantial amount less later.

The problem is... I'm not enjoying life at the moment. Every time I take off shifts for vacation, I pick up extras so that I can make up for the lost income. I always work every hour that I am able including when we are allowed overtime during a busy season... I'll work three weeks straight without a day off.

I think another driver of me wanting to work all my shifts is the fact that I've never made 70k/year before. It's a cash cow job for me and to take off a shift would be giving up $200. That's a lot of money if you add up a bunch of shifts. To scrounge and scrimp and save would be almost counter-productive if I took shifts off. I feel bad for taking days off and not working a 40-hour week. I track my net worth very closely and I see the lack of progress and it makes me cringe.

I feel like it has come to the point of being unhealthy. I have no social life... all I think about anymore is retirement... and I'm only 24 - MANY years away from actually attaining that goal. I hear about how many of the older generations wish that they could have their 20s back and I'm working mine away... not living life. It feels like I'm going to start living at 40-45 when I retire. I just have small vacations and breaks now.

I need advice on how to live more now... how to let myself have those days off without feeling bad about it.... how to not be in such fear of losing my cash cow job that I want to work every hour that I'm allowed to. Six months after the business opened, we had a major slew of layoffs. It's been a year and a half now after that, two years in total, but I still feel like I'm living in fear of losing my job when there is no reasonable cause for me to feel that way. I don't really mess up too often at work. I have a few strained relationships with co-workers and regular customers, but nothing job-threatening, I don't think. Even if I do get laid off, I feel that I should be able to get into the same position at another company in another city... and hell.. it might even end up better, but I don't KNOW.

Sorry, I sort of went on a tangent... I'm just struggling with life... and what I'm really living for. I'm not really living right now and it's taking its toll. All I do is work, sleep, and surf the net... working on my finances as such. I need a life... but I don't know how to attain one.


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Re: Work addiction. How do I stop?
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2014, 03:55:15 AM »
Are you in the Northern Hemisphere?  Because you sound like me when I am suffering from SAD.  Do you have hobbies?  Friends?  It's easy to work too much to fill gaps in your life, but while you are working all the time you don't have the time or energy to get a life.    How about taking a challenge to book one more social event a week than you are currently managing?  Try to go to new places, or meet new people, break yourself out of the comfort zone of working all the time and start to live your life now.  You will never be this young again, enjoy it! :-)


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Re: Work addiction. How do I stop?
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2014, 04:10:47 AM »
Hi Vitai

Just thought I would share some of my personal history, as I can recognise a lot of my slightly younger self in what you write.

When I was in my 24th year I worked a full-time job at a bank, took my bachelors degree and had an ex-girlfriend in the hospital with chronic kidney failure. I had basically no free time and no desire to have any free time, as I would feel guilty about not working / studying / visiting. Thus my horizon was the far future, when she would get well, I would have finished university and when work would be less stressful. I completely forgot myself, my ex and my friends in that process. And I think that you do the same. The guilt of not working, because the good life is at the end (FI) and not now, will not prepare you for the eventual FI. If you do not know how to enjoy your life now, how are you supposed to when you retire?

The good part is; you do not need a life, you already have a life. And based on your comment, a life with a lot of leeway to go out and enjoy what already is AND save a ton of money :)

For myself I had to get really sick before it stopped, but I hope that I am an outlier and that you will not need to go there before turning around. Take baby steps first. Just try and sit down and do nothing for say 20 minutes. No surfing, no work. Allow yourself the luxury of doing nothing. If you are like me, this will at first be worse than torture. Your mind will find any excuse to barrage your with desires and reasons why this is not a good idea. Let it be (if you can. If you canīt just do it for 5 minutes). Donīt start hammering yourself about NOT being able to relax, just let yourself be with whatever there is.

You donīt need "vacations" you just need plain old free time to relax, and you need to let yourself LET yourself relax. Make a sandwich, grab some tap water and go eat it outside. Start looking around. Maybe the library has a free talk. Maybe the local bar has some "talent" night. Sneak in take a peak. Talk to some friends about just relaxing together. Most importantly in the start; it is ok to fret, it is ok to think that you are wasting time and that you could be working. What you lack right now (I presume) is to accept yourself as you are; a young man making a ton of money and worrying a lot about things you can not control, and worrying about worrying :) accept it and move on slowly.

Because I am a sucker for poetry, here is one:

Do remember to forget
Anger worry and regret
Live while you got life to live
Love while you got love to give

-Piet Hein


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Re: Work addiction. How do I stop?
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2014, 04:20:40 AM »
Happiness comes from spending time with loved ones, feeling involved in your community and developing yourself. Maybe you can find something to do each day or each week that makes you happy to reward yourself for work.


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Re: Work addiction. How do I stop?
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2014, 05:19:43 AM »
I was 26, working days, night and weekends and saving about 60% of my pay. Eventually I started to feel tired, very tired even though I still loved my work.

My solution was to force upon myself a limit to how much I would be allowed to save. I set it at 40% of my net pay. The rest was to be spent on experiences, mostly travel in my case but it could be anything that you like.

We are about 16 years later and I can tell you that these 16 years have been mostly great. I am only a 4-5 years away from FI and I still love my job.

To each his own, this may not be your cup of tea but this is what worked for me.