by Devina Gunawan
I am a well known workaholic. I was never that good of a student, to be honest, but I have always loved working on projects. And I have noticed several traits or problems found in people whom I just get along with due to one common thing we are: workaholics.
- We have Starbucks cards. It can be of any coffee shop, really, but my usual workaholic friends tend to have their coffee shops where they sit and work all day. And we usually drink our coffee black. No lattes, no fancy blended drinks, but simple, brewed coffee. Or for me, one Americano, please.
- We have eye bags. We can survive on only a couple of hours of sleep. Sometimes, none at all for a period of time, until whatever we have on our agenda is done. It is possible to call a friend at 2 in the morning and expect him to still be on his laptop, working. In fact, it is usually the case.
- We leave parties early for the sake of finishing up work. I do this, all the time. I can’t remember the last time I stayed all the way during a party when I got something to work on. I would leave a few hours before the time I believed I would fall asleep at. If I knew that I could only stay up until 4 on a certain day, I would leave a party at the latest 1 AM.
- Our agendas are full. It would be of meetings and meetings and work and work and, hey, I have two hours off – anyone wants to go grab some coffee with me? My best friends would always find me at Starbucks. Even when I got some time off, I would be there, busy texting anyone who was nearby to hang out with until I had to work again.
- We don’t really need the crowd. We can function alone. This is one thing that others don’t really get. We workaholics are used to keeping ourselves busy. We can do anything without anyone. We know what to fill our time with because that’s what we love to do: keep ourselves busy. So when people are sad without company, we are fine with it.
- “Where have you been?” is something we hear a lot. Friends do not get to see us that often because we choose work over them, and the sighting of us becomes as rare as that of aliens.
- Chances are, if you open our bag, our laptop is there. I know that most of the time I leave the house, my laptop is with me. When I go out without my laptop attached to me, I feel a bit empty. It is like, “What if there is emergency and I have to do something right away?” That laptop is my life.
- We choose what or who is truly worth our time. One of the things I have noticed shared among workaholics I know is the tendency to say goodbye to acquaintances or friends easily. If you are someone who will just use us or call us during working hours for unimportant matters, you are out. Time means so much to us that if you are consuming ours when you don’t really need anything, you’re out.
- Our friends are probably our work partners or business associates. It’s just because those are the people we see the most. That we get close enough to call them friends. Social life and professional relationship are mashed into one, so it’s not a waste of time when we hang out with ‘friends.’ We will discuss our budgeting and how good the movie we saw last week was within the same hour.
- We look fit. It isn’t the healthiest, actually, and I’m not describing everyone. But most of us are lacking sleep and more often than not, we forget to eat. We go through the days staring at the screen or working on projects that by the end we realize that we have spent a day without food. We tend to be skinny. It’s not even that we want to be, we just forget time and food sometimes. Coffee is a basic need though.
- Being sick is never an excuse. We go to work even when we’re sick. Also, we hate being sick. We don’t like staying in bed for too long and feeling useless. We want to do something meaningful, or fruitful.
- Fast foods are good friends. It’s easy to just grab a sandwich and eat it in few minutes before going back to work. Sitting at a fancy restaurant while enjoying a full course meal is taking too much time, and a lot of us only do this when we truly have nothing. Even then, we have our tablet or documents on the side.
- Sometimes we don’t sleep in our beds. A lot of us wake up in front of our laptops, wondering, “How did I fall asleep here? What time is it? Did I finish the work?”
- We feel empty without work. Those days when we are told to take days off and enjoy our lives feel like hell. It’s like we have lost the main purpose of our lives. It is to work, and to work it is.
- We talk about how we need more of social life; however, when people ask us to hang out with them, we will need to think more than twice and check our agendas. And even so, those people will never come first. They will come in when your schedule is clear.