Thursday, May 29, 2014

Diaries of a workaholic

Hi my name is Dina and I’m a workaholic.

I wake up every morning to go to work. I set the alarm at 7:30 and end up snoozing 3 to 5 times until I actually get out of bed, and the first thought I have is “I don’t want to go to work today.” But it stays as a thought and eventually I get out of bed and do the morning rituals. I don’t do this because I lack sleep. I usually sleep my 8 hours give or take an hour or two. Sometimes, I’m awake before the alarm rings; I just can’t get out of bed. I’m usually thinking about my to do list throughout the morning rituals, and I’m usually overwhelmed. Lately, I have had to deal with unpleasant situations or people which make it even harder to know that I have to go through that horrible meeting with those obnoxious people. But it’s a living, and I’m a workaholic.

I arrive at work, drag my feet, turn on my machine and, as we say in Egypt, “Spray the water” (which is a metaphor for the first thing shop owners did in the 19th and early 20th century when they were open for business) and make coffee. I do the morning chats and depending on the energy I get, I start the day. A call here, an email there, a discussion on the side, and my daily computer crash, and we’re already rolling. The to do list gets bigger and I try so hard to check something off without adding 5 more in its wake. I do the runs between the different team members and the different teams; best part is the running about, I can never sit for so long at my desk anyway unless the sky would fall on my head if I didn’t. I remember that I forgot to eat, generally because I start to feel a bit dizzy, so I grab a chocolate bar, or coffee or something with lots of sugar. Let the sugar rush begin! It’s 6 pm already, which is a good thing because people should start leaving the office and the emails will be less and I just might get something done in the end. I live close to work so I don’t worry so much about traffic anymore, and I always have this one more thing to do, one last sheet, one last email, one more task, and before I know it, it’s 10-ish and my mom is freaking out.


Sounds terrible right? My friends are all mad at me, I work too much. My managers are telling me two things: get a life, or get a vacation, but I know that I’m just not ready for either.

The truth is, I get a fix out of it. That moment when I get something done, or help someone at work, or even send a status report; I end up feeling satisfied, even just a little bit. I don’t always enjoy it, but sometimes I do. I know it’s killing me, but I can’t help it. If I don’t go to work, I get a sour taste in my mouth. I’ve actually come to the conclusion that I hate weekends, but I don’t work on weekends as much as I can because I end up resenting myself and suffering from self-pity (as if I don’t already). That moment when I think I have to go home now because I can’t stay at work any longer is not because I miss home, it’s because I know deep down that I might OD and die or something. Going home has become a chore of its own, because then I will have to stop thinking about work (as if) and I have to engage in normal day to day activities. I have to remember that I have problems that I need to deal with or worry about, and that I have been too busy working to give them any room in my head. I have to be a part of a family and do my duty as such. I have to meet my friends and hang out to talk about boys and old bosses and how our parents still treat us like children. Again, please don’t get me wrong. I love my family and my friends. I feel blessed with a wonderful life and I am grateful. But somehow, it’s harder to be a normal person living a normal life than just being at work with all its glorious stink.


And for that fix, I have been doing my MBA! I’m still going through it, with all the assignments and projects and team meetings and classes. I love it; I’m learning, I’m meeting people, and I’m keeping busy. What is even more important than all that is that I get to always be thinking that I have more stuff to do. I will think about the next assignment instead of having to go get a medical checkup. I will complain about this team or that instead of wonder how big a space all those people who died actually left in the world. All the while, I’m learning, I’m adding lines on my resume to tell the world that I do stuff and I am not just a cog in some company’s wheel (because I’m actually a cog in several wheels at the same time; now THAT is multitasking), and I’m keeping that brain of mine that enjoys overloading itself with existential questions busy! Finally, if at a time I go through that list of people I call every time I feel like I miss my friends and no one answers, well who needs them, I’ll call someone from work and get a status instead!

The naked truth is this: I have had it drilled in my head at a very young age that there is always more that can be done. In the 10+ years I have known my dad, I actually knew him for a total of 2 years because he was always working. If I’m not working or studying, then I’m wondering why I exist, or why I’m alone or lonely, or why I feel like my chest will implode. When I’m working or studying, I’m not remembering the bad things, I’m not even remembering the good things which can be a blessing as well. When I’m working, I’m my job or my degree because I don’t have to think about broken cars and law suits and betrayals and lies.

I wonder if it’s hereditary; my dad was a workaholic, and when he wasn’t working he was making sure to keep busy with something! Some argue he worked himself to death; too much work, too much coffee, too much stress, too much cigarettes. Did he also feel empty? Did he feel overwhelmed? Did he hate his life outside of work? Was his family not enough for him? Was it too much? Did he just need that fix, regardless of anything else? I will never know.

At the end of the day, I work, therefore I am real. Everything else is just one of those exhausting dreams where monsters chase us and we wake up more weary than before we went to bed in the first place.

Did you like this?


  1. I liked it very much! Keep on with the good writing

    1. Thanks a lot Juan, looking forward to reading your stuff as well (translated of course lol) :)

  2. Get a life, or get a vacation ;) just reminder! :P