What Do You Do if Your Boss is a Workaholic?

Jake Wilder
5 min readMar 3, 2022

More Hours is Rarely the Answer

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

“You can’t do a good job if your job is all you do,” said Katie Thurmes, highlighting the self-defeating nature of workaholism. But I’m guessing that you already know this.

You know that it doesn’t pay to be a workaholic.

You know that working more hours doesn’t mean that you get more done. It doesn’t mean that you care more. It just means that you’re working more hours.

You know that throwing more time at a problem rarely yields the best solution. Brute force rarely makes up for a mental laziness.

And you know that working excessively isn’t a sustainable solution. Sooner or later, everyone burns out.

I don’t need to tell you that being a workaholic is a terrible strategy. You already know it.

But what if your boss doesn’t?

What if your boss expects everyone to put in more hours for the sake of putting in more hours?

A friend of mine was struggling with her boss. He worked long hours and expected her to do so as well. He’d make her and the rest of his staff feel guilty for “only” working the standard schedule.

Each morning was full of passive aggressive comments over what time people were getting in or what time they left the night before. All in comparison to the ridiculous hours that their boss worked. It’s difficult to imagine a less motivating way to start each day.

It reminded me of the scene from Office Space, where Jennifer Aniston’s boss is trying to convince her to go above and beyond and wear more than the minimum amount of flair. “If you want me to wear 37 pieces of flair… why don’t you just make the minimum 37 pieces of flair!”

It’s easy to say that you should avoid just this type of environment. And it’s always worthwhile to ask some pointed questions before you start to get a feel for the culture. But not everyone has the luxury of picking out their ideal workplace.

Maybe you need to report to a workaholic boss. Maybe you’ve put in a lot at the company and don’t want to give it up because of one toxic individual. How do you keep those unrealistic expectations from burning you out?

Jake Wilder

I don’t know where I’m going. But at least I know how to get there.