Local News

Have Little Time for Friends & Family? You Could be Addicted to Your Job!

Posted February 10, 2000 6:00 a.m. EST

— Most people are putting in more time at work today than they did ten years ago. Cell phones, pagers and voice mail allow us to work around the clock. But those long hours on the job could haunt you later.

Some psychologists say up to 40 percent of adults are workaholics. So what can happen if you are addicted to your job?

Red Hatis one Triangle company full of people who put in long hours on the job. Theresa Spangler is one of them.

Driven by her desire to work, Spangler fits the classic description of a workaholic. Spangler arrives at the office before 8 a.m. and does not leave until about 7:30 p.m. Her day does not end there.

"As soon as my daughter is in bed I'm back on e-mail, I'm back on the Web. I'm doing most of my research at night on competition. I'll be up until two in the morning," she says.

We found another workaholic at a Wake County church. Pastor David Sloop has gone days, weeks, and even months without spending quality time with his family. The reason? His work.

"I felt the need to be always on the go, and would even over schedule, such that I would not even allow time between events or appointments, to even allow you to get there on time," says Sloop.

When Sloop did spend time with his wife and two children, all that work finally took its toll.

"For probably eight to 10 years when did I get sick? On our family vacation," he says.

"One year he even forgot that we were going on vacation," says his wife Sally. "You build up a level of resentment after awhile."

Resentment is something that is often felt by family members and friends of workaholics. The less time you spend with them, the more the resentment grows. Before you know it, your friends and family begin to disappear. Soon, all that is left is your work.

"Divorce may occur. They may have no idea of who their children are, and that's very sad when that happens. By the time they realize what has happened it's often too late," says psychologist Diane Occhetti.

Admitting you are a workaholic is the hard part. Then it is up to you to slow things down and focus on what is important. Do you fit the profile of a workaholic?Take an online test!

"The number one thing that I would say is to make time to be with the significant people in your life. Make that a priority," says Occhetti.

Spangler says she learned that the hard way.

"I had to turn off my cell phone, turn off the pager service. Just cut it off," she says.

Sloop now makes sure he schedules time with his family before anything else. After all, he says, even God took one day off.

Occhetti says workaholics should try to find friends and interests outside of work, and try not to think about their job when they are not working. What did you think about this story?Give us your feedback.