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On Edge

How to Be a Functional Workaholic

Realistic ways to not let the hustle destroy you.

Emily Cassel

Emily Cassel

Image: Anna DeFlorian

On Edge is a series about stress in 2017.


I’m usually blogging before I get out of bed in the morning.

As a full-time alt weekly food editor and part-time freelancer, I’m on all the time. Every day at 6:30, when my iPhone starts screaming at me to rouse me from sleep (love you, Marimba), I roll over, check my emails, and sign into our CMS, getting a post (or two) up as the coffee pot timer kicks in. I’m simultaneously scrolling through Twitter to see what industry news broke while I slept or—god forbid—what news from the prior day missed my radar. All day, as I bike to the office and back, attend restaurant previews, and hit the bar with coworkers, I’m fielding press releases and responding to tips from readers.

Are you a millennial? Then there’s a good chance you’re like me. Ours is a generation of literal workaholics; we’re far more likely than other demographic groups to see ourselves as “work martyrs” and much more likely to forfeit unused vacation days. We earn about 20 percent less than boomers did at our age, which is probably why so goddamn many of us—close to 30 percent—are schlepping folks around for Uber, walking dogs, freelancing, or otherwise holding down some kind of side hustle. And then, since we’re an entrepreneurial bunch, there’s the all-too-common challenge of balancing our day job with our creative endeavors: our improv shows or Great American Novels or vegan podcasts.

To be clear: I love my job(s). I’m not about to stop doing what I do, and being on my beat means being on my beat, in my inbox, and up to date on Slack/Gchat/Twitter notifications. All those articles about how no one should check their work email after six? They’re unrealistic bordering on utter bullshit. But workaholism is linked to anxiety, depression, weight gain—all kinds of fun stuff. It strains marriages (not that we’re strolling down the aisle any time soon, am I right, 20-somethings?). Some experts even think it’s a mental illness all its own.

So, what can we do—I mean, realistically—to not fall sick from this glorious worship of the hustle? Because we can’t stop / won’t stop.

Read the full story on TONIC.