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October 19, 2007
Workaholics Anonymous: Relax and Recover from Burnout

Employees may feel that senior leadership is happy when employees, particularly professionals and management, put in many additional hours during the week and regularly working on weekends.

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However, HR executives and many senior leaders recognize that regularly working significant overtime hours can cause employee stress and burnout, negatively impact an employee's personal life, and frankly, is just unhealthy. In addition to asking your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to provide employee education regarding the importance of balancing work and personal life for better health and a happier outlook, you should be aware of another resource, Workaholics Anonymous.

"Workaholics Anonymous is a fellowship of individuals who share their experience, strength, and hope with each other that they may solve their common problems and help others to recover from workaholism," according to a statement on

Here are some characteristics of workaholics as described on the website:

  • It is very difficult for us to relax. We often, if not always, feel the need to get just a few more tasks done before we can feel good about ourselves and allow ourselves to relax. When we do complete these tasks we find just a few more that we need to complete, and then a few more. These uncontrollable desires often result in frantic, compulsive working. We are powerless to control this pattern.
  • We often feel resentment about having to complete tasks when we would rather relax or play. At these times we procrastinate, usually wallowing in self-pity and self-judgment.
  • We often think of ourselves as either the most intelligent, capable people we know or the most incapable and worthless people we know.
  • We often betray ourselves by giving in to the demands of people whom we perceive as being in "authority."
  • We do not often experience true serenity.

The organization was created for individuals who have a problem with constantly working overtime and the desire to stop working compulsively. There are no membership fees.

The website hosts online meetings and includes lists of in-person meetings available in many regions. There are many free resources in the form of downloadable PDFs available on the website to help individuals recognize whether they are workaholics and to help them recover from this condition.

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