Workaholic: Why it's important to take it easy

Some of us are workaholics and are driven by the world and nature of work. We define ourselves through what we do and accomplish in our life and less by what we are. Work has a lot of value for many people and explains why the inventor of Kodak George Eastman reached a point, after various strings of successes to put on his suicide note: "To my Friends, My work is done. Why wait?"

It might also explain the despair people in retirement might feel. Although we always argue that once we have free time and can retire, life would be wonderful, yet when the moment actually arrives we experience a certain void and emptiness. Society, in particular industrial society - but it is becoming a more global issue due to the spread of values of globalization - wants us to work and frowns on all the "lazy" people or bums who would rather do nothing.

Personally I value work, especially of the creative kind. Work as a means of paying the bills is of course necessary, but it can also be a source of enjoyment. In other words, we don't necessarily have to dread going to work. Then again it depends on the individuals whether they have found a job that actually satisfies them. Yet if pay is the most important issue and the job is dull then work is seen as a kind of necessary sacrifice for rewards reaped from it in the future.

In my case, I prefer work that perhaps pays less but gives me both a sense of purpose and satisfaction. For me, teaching is the line of work, where time flies; it is a source of personal enjoyment and satisfaction. It is generally lacking on the monetary side, but it makes it easier to wake up in the morning and face a busy, sometimes stressful day. I don't see it as time wasted and money is not the ransom for time lost.

But as they say, moderation is always the key. "Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans" according to John Lennon. That means do not get distracted, do not lose your focus on what is really important in life. Work is part of it, but it is not everything. As a doctor in Truffaut's "The Man who loved Women" states to the womanizer - and I am paraphrasing - "Man had to invent work, so that they don't have sex all the time". Yet in most North American culture, work comes first and exhausts and preoccupies one to such an extent that one does not have the energy or force for sex anymore.

Those who are addicted to work often neglect or rather sacrifice their personal lives for their job. They often say, I simply don't have time for a relationship or once I get my promotion I will be able to look for intimacy etc. Excuses that, in fact, tend to separate us from the buzz of life, from all that which makes life so interesting and beautiful. It is essential not to fool oneself with or be seduced by the shimmering glamour of money and success.

I believe it is all right to be obsessed with work once in a while; both in terms of success and money. One can give 100 percent for work. One can be passionate about what one ends up doing most of one's life. Yet it is equally important not to lose focus, not to get swallowed up by work because nobody wants to end up like George Eastman, resigned, desperate, without hope.