Passionate workaholics

Seth Godin’s latest post describes a new type of worker, comparing them favorably with the old school workaholic:

A workaholic lives on fear. It’s fear that drives him to show up all the time. The best defense, apparently, is a good attendance record.

A new class of jobs (and workers) is creating a different sort of worker, though. This is the person who works out of passion and curiosity, not fear.

I am deeply passionate about what I do, and am working hard to build knowledge, credibility and profile around it so that I can be passionate all the time rather than relying on clients who expect me to be a workaholic.

Passionate, futzing workers of the world, unite!

3 Replies to “Passionate workaholics”

  1. I think you guys both have valid points there for sure! I fall into a similar case. Yes, it means I ‘work’ a lot, but I like doing it so it’s O.K.

    That said, I knew a lot of people in the automotive racing industry years ago, and they ‘worked’ alot too, attending races, working on new technology for their race cars, attending more races, driving really fast….. surely these guys fall into the same category as us?

    For that matter, the point made before about what is a workaholic, do ALL ‘workaholics’ work hard out of fear, or are they bound by a sense of duty? pride? fun? desire?….. Perhaps there are more than just two categories of workaholic?…..

    Which one are you? :)

  2. Ben, I’d say that the racing folks were definitely passionate workers. I think the workaholics Seth describes are the traditional Industrial Age model worker – presence over productivity, hours over output, busy over bursty, deskbound over unbound.

  3. Workaholic is more about your work philosophy and attitude rather than actual observable behaviour. You might observe a workaholic and someone just totally loving what they do … and they might work 12 hours each, but go ask each of them about what they’re working on; one is likely to be rather irritable and abrupt, the other will probably go on for over an hour about new ideas and innovation with an infectious enthusiasm.

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