What Causes Workaholism in the Modern Society?

Workaholism is a very interesting term, for the first time it was used by an American professor of religion when he was trying to describe his own relationship with work. “In Japan, it’s called karoshi – “death by overwork” – and it’s estimated to cause 1,000 deaths per year, nearly 5% of that country’s stroke and heart attack deaths in employees under age 60.” >Absolutely, workaholism is one of the widespread phenomenons of modern society. But what is it? Scientists call it “ergomania” – the term made of two Latin words: “ergo”- work and “mania”- passion. According to Merriam-Webster’s Medical Dictionary workaholism is: “Excessive devotion to work especially as a symptom of mental disorder.” > I want you to concentrate your attention on what kind of source I took this information from, and especially on words “mental decoder” which actually means that the workaholism is considered as illness in medicine. However, if the workaholism is illness, what symptoms it has? If you are working on several jobs at the same time coming home just to have some sleep, or you are working in a large company with thousands of employees staying at your office until late evening just to finish your work and even taking some additional tasks to home to get promoted, you are typical workaholic. However, usually it does not depend on what type of job you have. Then why it happens? Why some people work much more than the others? Let’s discuss it.

I guess the first and the most important reason is career plans. From the history we know that the 20th century was a century of the greatest historical events: revolutions, wars, and disintegration of Soviet Union, scientific events like discovery of penicillin or the first man on the Moon – all of them are shaped the face of whole world we know today. The most part of these changes are made by people who were very successful in some spheres of human activity. It is well known fact that approximately 90% of all world assets belong to a small group of people which is composing about 1% of world total population. Being successful is very “fancy” in the modern society, that’s why people become a workaholic, in order to be a part of this 1%. In accordance with General Social Surveys made by Canada Statistics in 2005: “About 39% of self-identified workaholics reported that they usually worked 50 or more hours per week, twice the proportion of only 20% among non-workaholics.”

The second reason is money. Actually money isn’t the reason itself, money is just a means towards this end. It is a tool or device to be independent from conditions of modern society. People may have different wants: someone wants to have an expensive car, a big house, a yacht or even a personal airplane. These people are trying to earn as much money as it possible not because they “like” money, but because they like what the money gives them – the feeling of independency: to have whatever they want and whenever they want. Which means being wealthy and, I guess that it is the basic idea of the second reason.

These two kind of reasons discussed above make people a workaholic on the basis of their own will, so, let’s mark them as a voluntary workaholism, which means that, theoretically, there must be a kind of wokaholism that should be classified as a forced. As a result we should identify a certain types of forced workaholism.

The third group of reasons I decided to determine as a personal causes. The well-known example of personal causes is family, if the worker or employee has a big family with the great number of members and he/she is the only person who is able to earn money, then he or she becomes a workoholist against their will and has to work at several jobs at the same time in order to satisfy the needs of his/her own dependents.

The forth group of reasons I united under the title: environmental causes. In the previous part we were talking about some personal reasons that forces people to be a workaholic, and as a consequence there should exist some environmental reasons, some external factors that make people work much. One of the phenomenons of world economy is migration of labor force which is one of the effects of international specialization of labor. People leave their native land because of the high level of unemployment in order to find a better job. This phenomena, usually occurs in countries like USA. But the problem is that the migrants are usually not qualified enough and therefore face discrimination from employers in a country accepting. Also jobs offered to migrants are not considered as prestigious and well-paid. Usually it makes them to work on several jobs in order to comply with higher standards of living, and finally become workaholics.

Concluding this paper I would like to say that no matter what are the reasons of workaholism, voluntary or not, it always requires fortitude, diligence and single-mindedness. That is why not every person can become a workaholic, not every person can handle working on stretched. It requires certain qualities to achieve success, make up your mind to leave your home country, or to be a breadwinner of huge family. >

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