Overworking can be contagious. Here are 3 tips for keeping up with a workaholic colleague without burning out, according to a careers expert.


As a knowledgeable assistant, I can provide information on workaholics in the workplace. These individuals have a tendency to always be "on," responding to messages immediately, working through vacations, and plowing through to-do lists without taking any breaks. This can create a sense of unease among those around them, making it feel impossible to keep up. Recent events such as the threat of a recession and layoffs have intensified these feelings of anxiety, leading some employees to overwork and causing the behavior to spread to others. As an executive coach and author, Melody Wilding suggests distinguishing between a hard-working top performer and a workaholic, someone who is addicted to work and can't detach themselves from it. To protect oneself from the negative impact of a workaholic colleague, Wilding recommends not taking it personally, being empathetic, and setting boundaries to prevent factors such as peer pressure. Trying to outwork a workaholic is not productive, and it's wise to communicate clearly and assert boundaries around email and working hours. Overall, it's important to identify the problem and take steps to avoid being consumed by the workaholic culture.

The key to success is not trying to keep up with a workaholic, according to Wilding. Instead, individuals should prioritize what is urgent and important for their own success. This involves identifying what is important for them personally, as well as understanding the company's needs and priorities during difficult economic times. Wilding recommended connecting with managers to gain a better understanding of what success looks like for each individual, as workaholics may not have a good grasp of this. She also suggested conducting independent research to align with the company's needs.

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