Less Talk, More Work
Have you ever thought that there is a greater need to work constantly on a daily basis than to catch up on your social life with family and friends? Work addiction is a growing problem today. Most workaholics seem to put work, a main priority, before anything else such as time spent with others. The obsession with work is due to many reasons. For some people, work is needed to earn money to pay for necessary expenses such as food and bills. However, too much of a workload affects a person mentally, physically, or even both. Stress is one of the many reactions when it comes to constant hours or days spent at work. In “The Company Man,” written by Ellen Goodman, the main character Phil shows how chaotic he is with himself and with his work that eventually leads to his tragic farewell.
The lifestyle of working excessively is common. The idea of becoming a workaholic is to strive for a certain value or feeling for oneself. Goodman’s story of The Company Man illustrates a vivid example of a common workaholic. If a workaholic is spotted, the image is depicted as “anxious, guilt-ridden, insecure, or self-righteous about …work… a slave to a set schedule, merciless in his demands upon himself for peak performance …compulsively overcommitted” (Marlowitz 7). This workaholic image illustrates Phil. In Phil’s world, everything he does is directed towards work. As an addict living with a wife and three children, he works nearly every day as well as many nights (Goodman 61). He works for an important company, serving as a vice president (Goodman 60-61). Having a high-level position makes him feel important because he “worked like the Important People” (Goodman 61). Based on his high position, Goodman hints at Phil’s pride, a powerful factor influencing his motivation and duty to work. While Phil is driven mainly by pride there are many other reasons why he works too hard. These reasons include his identity, self-respect, self-esteem, self-doubts, pressure from family expectations, perfectionism, a coping mechanism for his negative emotions, and his obsessive-compulsive behavior. Some of the key components of workaholism include intensity, energy, competition, and motivation (Machlowitz 26). Workaholism also includes three other main components such as enjoyment, drive, and work involvement (McMillan). When it comes to workaholic men like Phil, they view themselves as the family caretaker and feel completely responsible for taking care of all the family needs (Killinger 139). This viewpoint brings pressure on workaholic men because they feel that they are expected to ensure that there is both financial protection and emotional well-being in the family (Killinger 139). They must be independent especially with earning money. Money attracts power, freedom, and independence (Schaef 120). Chasing after the goal of money-making is a way for workaholics to gain achievement, which sets off a powerful drive (Schaef 120). Not only do pressures from the family increase this drive, but the work addict himself plays a factor as well. A workaholic is able to enjoy and love a job if he is fairly good at it. His self-esteem increases with the thought of being good at something. Therefore, he would feel even better and take even greater pride in what he knows and what he is capable of doing. This pride takes over and motivates him to excel and become a perfectionist. However, there comes a moment when perfection gets out of hand and he develops an obsession. A psychological dependence grows out of the addictive behavior from workaholism (McMillan). Work becomes central and all other aspects of life are forgotten (Schaef 119). As compulsive workers, they become obsessed with work and cannot stop (Shimazu). Their drive is ongoing with the thought of taking charge and taking control over everything and everyone (Shimazu). Fears, doubts, and insecurities start to develop...
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