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Workaholism among academicians is associated with perfectionism, narcissism, and an unhealthy motivation to outperform others, according to new research. The findings provide evidence that so-called “work addiction” is related to an interconnected set of personality traits.

Workaholism among academicians is associated with perfectionism, narcissism, and an unhealthy motivation to outperform others, according to new research. The findings provide evidence that so-called “work addiction” is related to an interconnected set of personality traits.

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  1. I just want survive long enough to finish my PhD. Currently it looks not that great. I‘m nearly at the end and I simply published not enough. Still got a few opportunities, but the fear of failure is real.

  2. It’s the result also of unresolved trauma. And we are all traumatized and we all have addictions be it work, shopping, porn, drugs, food, power, political power, alcohol and more. Just read “In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts” by Gabor Mate.

  3. Got my PhD at the #1 to #3 institution for my discipline (it changes annually but never beyond #3) and I can attest to this. To become a top of the top academic in your field you have to love status and be willing to work 100 hour weeks and to give up most everything else in your life to achieve that status. They probably love what they do to some degree as well, but most of them look pretty unhappy to me. It just seems like nothing is ever enough. They can be a named professor with several award-winning books who gives talks everywhere and they still seem either very unsure of themselves or extremely arrogant. Many take advantage of their grad students (how else do you get a CV the length of a city block). Either way, they don’t seem happy to me.

  4. I was a student at Purdue and they had a biology teacher that was incredibly talented at his job. He made little clay figures to mimic specific membrane proteins. He spent hours going over lectures in detail. He never left it seemed. Office hours showed he had a cot in his office. Bearded and unkempt but nice enough. His car was neon green with a flat tire that never left the parking lot but had his pass on the window. Rumor was his wife had died and he threw himself into his work. I don’t know if it was all true but I remember him vividly.

  5. I feel this is my soul. I am halfway through a PhD and while I realise I love the actual science of biology, a future career surrounded by the dickheads I’ve come to know in the university system sounds like absolute torture. No idea what I’m going to do once I’m done and it’s terrifying.

  6. My motivation to outperform others is based on the fact that if I do not produce a satisfactory promotion and tenure dossier I will lose my job. It has nothing to do with perfectionism, if anything, at this stage in my career, quantity is preferred over quality.

  7. I remember talking to a research fellow in my department while I was a grad student and she shared that she was pregnant. When I congratulated her, she told me she wanted to keep it a secret from her faculty mentor for fear of being judged and perceived as not serious about tenure track jobs.

    Had another colleague who was advised to not apply to the PhD because she had kids.

    When I told people I wasn’t available to come in on my day off, my colleagues made fun of me for it.

    I was also asked to help with a research grant the day before my wedding, then threatened with being demoted and losing a few privileges when I said no.

    When a faculty member’s son died from cancer, a student in my cohort exclaimed, “does this mean I need to find a new advisor?!” And she was pissed about it.

    There are endless stories like this in academia—especially at R1 institutions.

  8. TIL “academicians” is a word…and tomorrow I’ll forget. I’ll stick to computer languages.

    Experienced in: C, Python, Java, & some assembly languages.
    Moderately proficient in: English

  9. The title put the speech marks in the wrong place. It should be:

    > So-called “workaholism” among academicians is associated with perfectionism, narcissism, and an unhealthy motivation to outperform others, according to new research. The findings provide evidence that work addiction is related to an interconnected set of personality traits.

  10. When my workaholism became spending most of my time protecting then tracking down the contamination and sabotage happening to only me and none of my coworkers I finally realized I was surrounded by malignant narcissists.

  11. People forget that a PhD is sometimes a ticket to America for many foreigners. These international students perform as if their life depends on it, because they will literally have their life thrown out the window in the form of deportation if they can’t get the degree, do a pos-doc, get sponsorship, whatever it takes.

    Locals who a PhD just to ‘advance science’, ‘not ready for the real world’, ‘for the prestige’, wouldn’t be able to outwork someone whose life is on the line.

    It’s not just workaholism, it’s raw motherfucking *survival*.

  12. The workaholic behavior is baked into all PhD programs … it is part of their *weeding efforts* to discourage what they believe to be slackers and folks the program directors do not like. Getting promotions, getting tenure all tied to the type and number of grants you seek, grants w/big bucks assigned, research, having to *publish or perish*. It is not natural but if you are seeking promotion, continued contract, and/or tenure, if you do not go hyper, you are doomed in all facets of advancement.

  13. That’s how people are at my current work place. I try to socialize on my break because I have no friends outside of work but it’s honestly like talking to a rock if the discussion isn’t work related. The people one step above me strut their flat asses around with an overinflated sense of company worth and the truth is, nobody cares about how much you work, you’re just a number. Also people in supervisory positions look down at you if you’re not working 50+hrs a week. Sorry but fk you, I don’t live to work

  14. Since when “motivation to outperform others” became “unhealthy” in your competitive af Western society — and moreover, in *academia* of all places? Or the “oppression Olympics” is the only field where competition is allowed nowadays?

  15. **Abstract**

    > Although previous research has identified that perfectionism is associated with both narcissism and workaholism, research into the specific roles of potential perfectionism classes in these personality dynamics is currently unavailable. Furthermore, no study has investigated if the “useless superiority effort” dimension of inferiority feelings, which indicates an increased need for superiority over others potentially to overcome self-perceived inferiorities, is related to other important personality dynamics. This study was therefore conducted to identify if potential perfectionism classes that exist among academicians (N = 317) can simultaneously explain significant differences in their tendencies toward workaholism, narcissism, and useless superiority effort, after controlling for potential social desirability effect. A latent class analysis of two dimensions of perfectionism (discrepancy and high standards) revealed four distinct classes of academicians; non-perfectionists (NONPs; 20%), maladaptive perfectionists (MPs; 17%), normal perfectionists (NPs; 44%) and adaptive perfectionists (APs; 19%). Further analysis (MANCOVA) showed that while MPs have the highest tendencies toward workaholism and useless superiority effort, NONPs have the lowest tendencies toward these. Moreover, APs reported significantly lower useless superiority than NPs, despite scoring similarly on both narcissism and workaholism. Additionally, based on workaholism being related to narcissism, high standards and discrepancy dimensions of perfectionism, as well as useless superiority effort, while weekly work hours are not, it can be suggested that workaholism is qualitatively different from working long hours.

    ~ Çimşir, E. and Ülker Tümlü, G., 2021. The roles of latent perfectionism classes in academicians’ tendencies toward workaholism, useless superiority effort and narcissism. *The Journal of General Psychology*, pp.1-26.

  16. Honestly I thought it was just associated with the fact that tenure track jobs are rarer than unicorns and PhD programs have swollen far beyond appropriate sizes.

    Edit: Not every PhD program, and not in every country/region/discipline. Obviously, the situation varies depending on your context.

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