Workaholism can be hard to define. Where do we draw the line between working a lot out of enjoyment and overworking due to addiction and a need to fill a void? It may seem clear enough to draw but when you’re stuck in the vortex it can be extremely difficult to identify. Essentially, a workaholic overworks out of an inner compulsion that has little to do with the enjoyment of the work itself.
The workaholics or “supermen”/ “superwomen” often push themselves not because they find purpose and meaning in work, but because they want to prove to themselves that they are good enough and able to manage a heavy workload.
Notice anything similar to imposter syndrome? Well, here is where two can overlap.
In some ways, we could say that workaholism is a symptom of imposter syndrome. This is because even when there is evidence of their success and skill in their work, workaholics find it hard to internalise their achievements and therefore start every project with the feeling that they have to prove themselves all over again.
In order to identify whether your workaholic tendencies may link to imposter syndrome, it’s worth asking yourself the following question; is my tendency to overwork driven by feelings of anxiety, self-doubt or fear of failure? If yes, then imposter syndrome may be fueling your workaholism.
Workaholism and imposter syndrome can seriously interfere with not only your professional life but your personal life too. It can mean you refuse to give yourself time off and make room for loved ones. Many studies have shown that overworking can most often be just as unproductive – sometimes more – than underworking in some cases. You burn yourself out to a point where your mental state is not clear and therefore it becomes hard to produce your best work.
The good news is that there is help available. 70% of people suffer from imposter syndrome at some point in their lives. British organisation CABA have online courses specifically tailored on how to cope with imposter syndrome. City Therapy Rooms also have both online and face to face therapy sessions tailored to tackling imposter syndrome.