Surprise: You may be a workaholic

By Helena Rodriguez

Don’t ya just love three-day weekends? The Labor Day holiday is a great way to say goodbye to summer and enjoy one last big summer bash before things settle down for the winter.
However, if your job is anything like the ones I’ve had in the past, holidays can be a nightmare. First there’s that rush to cram everything in. You’re racing around to get everything done so you can enjoy that one extra day off, meanwhile killing yourself in the process. By the time the long weekend comes, you’re too exhausted to move. And then come Tuesday, you’re frantically racing around the clock to make up for that lost workday. Sometimes you wonder if it was worth it.
Ah, workaholics — these are the people for whom Labor Day was made. If your job has become your life by choice, you’re a workaholic. But there’s also those who are workaholics, and not by choice, the overworked souls burning the midnight oil, struggling to keep up with the car and mortgage payments.
But no matter what your job is, often the things we think can’t wait until tomorrow usually can. So I say get out and crank up the barbecue.
If you’re not sure if you fit the above category, here’s a list of warning signs. You just might be a workaholic if:
• You think leaving the office at 5 p.m. is leaving early for the day.
• Co-workers don’t recognize you around town in jeans and a baseball cap.
• Your kids don’t recognize you without a suit and tie or your work uniform.
• Your idea of “spare-time activities” is going home to sleep.
• You can’t remember the name of your cousin’s new wife but you know the names of all of your co-workers’ ex-girlfriends and ex-wives.
• You’re afraid you will be fired if you don’t attend the company picnic.
• You’re afraid people will talk about you if you don’t attend the company picnic.
• Your family has to go to your work to spend quality time with you.
• You feel like you’re playing hooky when you take a long lunch.
• You take a laptop and cell phone with you to the doctor’s office, or home when one of your children is sick.
• You give instructions to co-workers on your cell phone from the doctor’s office or dentist — while you are being examined.
• You list your work number as an emergency contact number.
• The nighttime janitor knows you on a first-name basis and knows details of your personal life.
• You have more jackets at work than in your closet at home.
• You come into the office for a couple of hours on holidays.
• You watch more TV at work than you do at home.
• Your co-workers fear the worst and send you flowers when you actually chose to stay home with the flu.
• You tell co-workers that you’re better off at work than at home when you’re seriously ill, after all, you’re more comfortable being at work.
• Your children wait up for you at night.
• Your children are not sure how to behave around you.
• Your children ask when you are going back to work.
• Your idea of a long weekend is leaving at 3 p.m. on Friday.
• You have a different circle of friends than your spouse, all of whom are co-workers or work acquaintances.
If you can identify with even one-third of these scenarios, you are in desperate need of a vacation. But remember, vacations require a little work too. First, you’ll need time away from work to make vacation plans. Be sure to set time aside to fill out those vacation request forms. Don’t forgot to allot time to rest from your vacation. Planning a vacation is hard work.
Now that your much-needed vacation is about mapped out, it’s time to crack the whip. Look at all of those e-mails, phone messages and “to do” lists building up — and it all has to be done before you leave town.
Time to get back to work.
Helena Rodriguez is a columnist for Freedom Newspapers of New Mexico. She can be reached at
Helena_Rodriguez@link.freedom.com