Workaholics vs. Prisoners of Success

Looking through the on-line version of a new business magazine, Portfolio, by Conde Nast I didn’t come across any topics dealing with the things I think of when I hear the term lifestyle.  The only results my searches turned up were companies advertising the things I think of in reference to lifestyle such as personal development, life balance, wellness, etc.

Conde Nast, a self-described publisher of several “lifestyle” magazines that include Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, Vogue, Wired, Bon Appetit, Architectural Digest, and GQ, recently launched a new business magazine titled Portfolio.

It doesn’t take long to get a feel for the magazine – we’re reminded immediately, and at every turn, that business is about wealth, power, and status, and that we’re expected to aspire to those things.Beginning with the press release from April 16th: “Conde Nast Portfolio, a new magazine that chronicles how business shapes the world and who the players are that wield the power…”, to Ms. Joanne Lipman’s Editor’s Letter in the May issue that leads off: “Business is about power. And guts. And passion. Business coverage should be too,” we’re reminded that those with wealth, power, and status rule the world.

As I delved deeper into the on-line version of Portfolio, I searched for some of the things that I consider when I think of the term “lifestyle.” To me, a “lifestyle” is a way of life that reflects a person’s attitudes, beliefs, opinions, and values. It’s clear that Conde Nast views “lifestyle” in the marketing sense – targeting products to a market by determining the way a person lives as defined by one’s interests, spending habits, and activities.

I understand that the magazine is in its infancy, but my searches for topics dealing with personal development, learning and growing, life balance, wellness, and related topics yielded results only for companies advertising those things. The writers haven’t yet created news articles on these subjects.

I did come across a piece titled “In Defense of Workaholics.” The subtitle of the article, “Work may be a four-letter word, but to successful executives and entrepreneurs, there’s nothing more rewarding than putting in an 80-hour workweek. A look at the mental, emotional, and health benefits of logging long hours,” pretty much gives the article away, with this premise added by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a professor, practicing neurosurgeon, Time magazine health columnist, and chief medical correspondent for CNN:

“People who are workaholics derive a sense of purpose from their work and activities, and [that can] release feel-good hormones that mediate blood pressure, regulate heart rate, and decrease stress”

With all of those credentials, who am I to disagree with the good Doctor’s findings? I cannot.

What I do take issue with is his passe definition of the term “workaholic.” Dr. Gupta says that workaholics derive a sense of purpose from their work and activities.”

To me, a workaholic hides from life by consuming himself/herself with work. He/she clings to work as a lifeline, fearing to venture out into their own private worlds.

A prisoner to success, on the other hand, has little time for a private life because he or she craves the excitement and pressure of having a full plate at work. These types of individuals love the importance of the job and the money to brings to them and their families.

What’s your perception of someone who is a “workaholic”?

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