Lazy vs. Hard Workers: Why Hard Workers Often Get Screwed

man sleeping on office desk

Although you might get praise from your boss, being an overachiever at work will eventually wear you down. | iStock.com

Are you a hard worker? Good for you. However, there are times when a being a hard worker might not be a good thing. Some hard workers move into extreme overachieving, which can have negative results on your mind and body. While you might get praise from your boss, being an overachiever at work will eventually wear you down.

Let’s take a closer look at ways hard workers get screwed. Don’t let any of these happen to you!

Hard workers burn out faster

Hard workers sometimes get to a point where they work a little too hard. They are so used to being the go-to person for special projects, or the star of the office, that they are likely to overdo it. Receiving constant praise feels good, so a hard worker might fear slowing down will cause the praise to stop. Consequently, hard workers might not take needed vacations or might regularly cut their breaks short in order to complete their work perfectly. This can lead to getting sick and burned out quickly.

If you’re at a point where your job is causing overwhelming stress and you seem to be sick all the time, it’s time to take a step back and make some changes. Did you volunteer for a bunch of extra projects? Then, see whether you can take a few of them off your plate. Slow down, and reassess your work load. Being a dependable worker doesn’t mean you have to volunteer for every special project that comes your way. Do a few things, and do them well. This will reduce the chances of making a mistake due to fatigue.

Are you hopelessly trying to be perfect …

Hard workers tend to fall into the perfectionism trap

Man working at desk

Perfectionists take longer to complete tasks. | iStock.com

Some hard workers tend to be very critical of themselves. They might take longer to complete a task and re-do certain tasks because they never feel their work is perfect enough. This can lead to lost productivity and added stress. Psychologist Adrian Furnham said perfectionism could contribute to significant procrastination. So while your aim is to be more productive, you could be doing just the opposite. Perfectionism might cause the hard worker to set impossibly high goals and take longer to complete tasks.

If you’re caught in the trap of perfectionism, the first step is to realize you have a problem. If you delay handing in assignments because they aren’t perfect and you’re constantly re-doing your work and criticizing yourself, these could be signs. Be comfortable with the fact that you won’t always get things done exactly the way you feel it should. Psychology professor Martin M. Antony, co-author of When Perfect Isn’t Good Enough, said one of the first steps to overcoming perfectionism is to allow yourself to be imperfect. You can start by not holding on to your work longer than necessary because you’re afraid it isn’t flawless. Do your best work, and move on to your next task.

Hard workers get taken advantage of

Unhappy employee holding head while standing in cubicle

Co-workers might take advantage by asking for favors and dumping their work on the worker bee. | iStock.com

Hard workers are often too good at being a team player. Unfortunately, once other team members begin to notice how kind and helpful the hard worker is, they might take advantage by asking for favors and dumping their work on the worker bee. Being the nice team player that he or she is, there will rarely be a complaint. This encourages a vicious cycle of work dumping.

Does this sound like you? Do your co-workers regularly drop their projects on you and expect you to get it done? It’s time to put your foot down, and stop letting others walk all over you. Learn the art of saying “no.” Team playing requires all members to roll up their sleeves and dive in. One or two star employees shouldn’t be doing all the work. Decide what your work boundaries are ahead of time. This will make it easier to set boundaries, so you can be your most productive self.

Hard workers have more stress and anxiety

bored woman in front of computer

Hard workers often feel stressed. | iStock.com/anyaberkut

If you work yourself to the bone, you shouldn’t be surprised if you feel stressed and anxious most of the time. In a survey conducted by Project Time Off, respondents who identified themselves as work martyrs said they feel stressed at work. Many are stressed because of their work conditions, but they further contribute to their state of stress by not taking time off. In 2015, 55% of Americans left roughly 658 million vacation days unused, according to the organization.

Hard workers die earlier

close-up of a man clutching his chest to show a heart attack

Both your mental and physical health can decline when you put your work before taking good care of yourself. | iStock.com

Overworking can also negatively impact your overall health. Both your mental and physical health can decline when you put your work before taking good care of yourself. Researchers from Harvard and Stanford University have linked work-related stress to roughly 120,000 deaths each year. Another study by Indiana University found people who have little decision-making power in demanding jobs have a 15.4% increase in mortality.

Hard workers tend to have more relationship problems

couple sitting on couch arguing

Less time with your loved ones means more arguments. | iStock.com/AndreyPopov

If you overdo it when it comes to work, you’re likely never home. All those long hours at the office might earn you a raise and a promotion, but you could be sacrificing peace at home. Less time with your loved ones means more arguments, misunderstandings, and increased stress in your personal life. Although many workers try not to, this could result in you bringing your personal problems to work. Then, you’ll end up with a vicious cycle of strain at home and at work. It’s a lose-lose situation.

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