August 3, 2009

Are You A Workaholic?

Most teachers are goal-oriented people. Most are either guardians or idealists. We are not in this profession for the money; we have a deeply rooted dedication to our students and our jobs.

I've been doing some reflecting lately and have discovered that I just might be one of those workaholics we're always reading about. I'm really excited for the upcoming school year. I've been planning, updating, and organizing. I started the summer starting a software company that fell through. Even in my time off, I'm productive.

But I do it because I like my work. In Rise of the Creative Class, Richard Florida argues that workers today choose careers for different reasons than we did a generation ago. Money is no longer the biggest motivator. People in the creative professions choose jobs that they intrinsically enjoy. Creativity does not always happen from 9 to 5. Creative workers are churning ideas even on their time off. Creative people like their work.

I've always been goal oriented. I've accomplished a lot of difficult goals, including getting my pilot's license and starting a business. My life, to a large extent, is based around projects. If I'm not doing something productive, I don't quite feel alive. But I do know how to relax – on the weekends, all of my projects are suspended and I'm out enjoying the weather, my friends, and my family. Also, not all of my projects are work related.

That I'm always working on projects and goals, and that a lot of these projects and goals are related to my career, might be a symptom of workaholism. Or it might just mean that I'm doing what I love. I'm not sure.

2 comments:

Ms. P. said...

I think it is probably a combo...you love what you do and you are a workaholic. I feel the same. The first day after school was out I was already working on things for the upcoming school year. I love working with the kids and planning learning experiences for them. I've never heard of a Teachaholics Anonymous, but it probably has a 2+2=4 step plan! Enjoy what you enjoy, just don't let it keep you from your family and friends. :)

John Spencer said...

So true! I am an idealist and I fit the stereotype of being a people-oriented, philosophically inclined teacher. I also consider my job to be a lifestyle / vocation and I chose it for the intrinsic value rather than money.

I love the book "Rise of the Creative Class" by the way.