25 Signs You’re Working Too Much

To most people this would seem self evident. Who doesn’t like being treated with respect and appreciation? To people who work in the high tech industry, however, it’s a continuing revelation. As the @HarvardBiz article focuses on “martyr capitalism,” which means “if you’re not sleeping under your desk you’re not committed,” I will also.While I was writing yesterday’s post about how high tech companies deny the importance of life outside work, I kept getting little memory flashes of things I have seen and heard, not to mention experienced, about people working too much.

I decided to collect them in today’s post so you can tell if you’ve gone off the deep end when it comes how many hours you devote to work.

Here are 25 ways to tell when you’re working too much.

At Work:

  1. You drive to work in the dark and drive home in the dark. And it’s July, not January.
  2. You don’t worry about rush-hour traffic because you drive in before it starts and drive home after it ends.
  3. It’s late and you’re hungry but you know if you leave to eat dinner you won’t come back. And you have to finish what you’re working on. But you’re hungry . . .
  4. You stockpile food in your cubicle so you can make it through dinner and finish what you’re working on.
  5. You have ramen noodles for dinner at your desk every night.
  6. You always get a parking space in the first row of the lot.
  7. People have trouble keeping up with you because they can’t walk that fast.
  8. You experience “fight or flight” reactions several times a day.
  9. You worry that colleagues will think you’re having an affair because you slept under your desk and are wearing the same clothes you had on yesterday.
  10. You don’t think twice about sleeping under your desk and wearing the same clothes you had on yesterday.
  11. You fight your office mate for the last slice of pizza at 11 p.m.
  12. Vending-machine food makes up a large part of your diet. So you consider sugar, salt, grease and artificial cheese flavor to be four of the basic food groups.
  13. You’re on a first-name basis with the office cleaning crew.
  14. You move around in your cubicle just to keep the office lights from going off after 20 minutes because you’re the only one in the office.
  15. You keep a heating pad in your desk to stay warm after the building’s heat goes down.

At Home and Away

  1. You get up early to take calls from Europe and stay up late to take calls from Asia.
  2. You take your laptop to Saturday’s Little League game so you can work “between innings” and miss your kid’s home run. But you finish the spreadsheet.
  3. You take your laptop on vacation and work while your spouse and / or kids are sleeping, at the beach, playing a game, etc.
  4. You wonder how people find the time to take vacations.
  5. You set your alarm for 2 a.m. for the conference call from Singapore—every night.
  6. Your gym bag is covered with dust and the workout clothes in it don’t fit you anymore.
  7. You have a panic attack because you forgot your phone.
  8. You look forward to the family leaving for church on Sunday morning so you can work without interruptions.
  9. You forget your (spouse’s, kid’s, mother’s) birthday. Every year.
  10. You forgot to file your income tax by April 15. Again.

It took me just 15 minutes to come up with these examples. All I had to do was run through past jobs, think of former colleagues, and remember water-cooler stories. How sad is that?

19. Vending-machine food makes up a large part of your diet.Actually, the really sad thing is that more keep popping into my head.

Some of these may seem familiar to you. Some may have made you smile and a few might have elicited a cringe. I’m sure you have some of your own. If you’re willing to own up to them, send them in as a comment and I’ll pull them together in another post.