Do you feel constantly overworked? According to a to-be-published study in the journal Personality and Individual Differences suggested that if you have low self-esteem, you may be more likely to be a workaholic!
Although the statement stings a little, I agree that work sometimes has become a substitute for us to fill some voids in our lives.
Speaking from personal experience, I went through a few years of really tough times in my work, AND in a foreign country. I threw myself in my work completely and let the job define who I was.
Work was like a drug, disguised as success and recognition, and I kept pouring it down my throat voluntarily, thinking it would make me feel better. I let it take over my schedules, my relationships and my own definition of self-worth.
Being constantly "ON" and feeling stressed out from work are problems that exist in many societies, especially in Asia - Hong Kong was listed as the city with the longest average working hours. Employees spent an average of more than 50 hours per week!
If you are feeling overworked, the first thing you have to do is to tell yourself that it is not your fault.
Being overworked, feeling stressed or, worse, experiencing burnout, is not your fault. And remember, you are not alone in this. In the US alone, it is estimated that $125 billion to $190 billion a year is spent on healthcare as a result of employee burnout.
And the second thing you have to do is to let go. I know you'd hate to hear this, but you cannot do it all. Having one more overworked person is nowhere close to achieving effectiveness.
I remember when I first interviewed to join Aspire, I asked Katie, our Regional Director, about working hours because I knew, Hong Kong had been notorious when it comes to doing overtime.
And I would never forget the firm "NO" that echoed in my ears. She reiterated that she did not believe in doing overtime!
What Happened To Me Now?
Well, I took my own advice. It's not perfect, but I have stopped blaming myself less and less.
I give feedback to my managers and my teammates when things are overflowing and suggest to work smarter ;) I Let Go.
Oh, and I take up hobbies and occasionally volunteer after work, so I am motivated to finish up on time.
It does not come down to having less work (oh gosh, no!), but we have a very supportive and global team, who helped each other out around the clock (literally, because of the different time zones!). And leaders in our offices are understanding, reasonable and compassionate!
So my advice for anyone looking for jobs is to look for a company with a supportive culture. No salary, titles or any other perks can substitute respect, understanding and your wellbeing.
The research team, lead by Shahnaz Aziz, an organizational psychologist at East Carolina University, argues that people with low self-esteem “throw themselves into work in order to become more successful in a certain facet of their lives in which they feel they have greater influence and control.”