workaholic

I've been accused of being a workaholic, twice. I think it's a very poor word choice.

After getting my undergraduate degree, I spent a lot of money, time, and effort to go to law school, and then I studied for and passed the bar exam. I then spent nine years working at a firm under less than desirable circumstances to gain expertise in my field. I did become an expert in my field, and I got a job at the best company to work for. I'm incredibly lucky, and I would be foolish to squander the opportunity that I have.


I get paid on a salary basis. My compensation doesn't vary based on how many hours I work. So I have a strong incentive to finish my work quickly. That maximizes my effective pay per hour, and maximizes the time I have to pursue my personal interests. However, the complexity and volume of stuff I have to do is high. If I don't put in the effort and time to do the work, my company will find someone else to do my job who will. For my effort and time, I get paid very well. I'm okay with that trade.

I do think I'm lucky that my job has always provided me with decent work-life balance. I have the flexibility to do personal things at work when I need to. I have very few restrictions on my work circumstances. But work-life balance also means that I am often working at home. Much of my work involves other time zones, so I am responding to emails in the evenings from home, and when I wake up in the morning. That's a standard part of the job for people in my line of work. So is stress and anxiety due to the risks and amounts of money involved.

I knew this when I went to law school (all law students are aware of what they're getting into), so it isn't a surprise to me at all now.

People who trivialize my life choices, background, education, and career by using the term "workaholic" imply that I find some sadistic enjoyment from putting as much time into my job as possible. That's far from the truth.

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