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Workaholics’ lives not much fun

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What distinguishes the one-third of working adults who see themselves as workaholics? Besides leading lives that are less satisfying and out of balance, they are not having as much fun as their non-workaholic colleagues.

In the 2005 General Social Survey on time use, 31% of employed Canadians aged 19 to 64 identified themselves as workaholics. Among this group of workaholics, 39% reported working 50 or more hours per week. That compares with 20% of non-workaholics who worked that many hours.

More than half of workaholics (56%) feel they do not have time for fun anymore, compared with 34% of non-workaholics. But workaholics do not enjoy their work more than non-workaholics do. Moreover, they are less satisfied with life. Workaholics say they wish they could spend more time with family and friends, and are more likely than non-workaholics to say they are in poor health and have trouble sleeping.

A higher proportion of workaholics report that they usually feel rushed trying to get through the day. Over half feel they are trapped in a daily routine.

Pop culture presents workaholics as high octane over-achievers. But among technical and clerical workers and professionals, much lower percentages of people self-identified as workaholics. People who worked in management and trade were more likely to say they were workaholics. The survey did not find significant differences between workaholics and non-workaholic in terms of their personal income, education, marital status, family structure or place of residence.

However, one key difference emerged: workaholics were more likely to say that their work and home lives are out of kilter. One in three workaholics was dissatisfied with their work–life balance, compared with one in five non-workaholics.