Workaholics die

We spend our lives in offices. Most of us don’t work with people much. Not even journalists work with people anymore. Or public relations officers.

We just sit in front of a computer all day. We google, we make briefings,  we send emails back and forth and then we print stuff and talk on the phone and we mass message and complain about our jobs in emails.

I’m not even referring to the sad case we’ve been reading and writing and talking about these days. I’m not talking about extreme cases now. I’m talking about the bearable limit of workaholism. The social death of workaholics.

The older I get, the less time I have. And the funny thing is we all work to make money and turn that into time.  That’s why time is money. Not because not working means no money, but because we turn money into time: vacations, scholarships, outfits to wear at proms or dates with the man/woman of our dreams, gifts of any kind and cleaning ladies to do the dirty work (literally) for us while we can sit and read a good book. That’s why time is money.

But if you stop spending your money the way you want to, with whom you want to – then you lose the point of working. Sure, you may like it. You may do it out of passion as well. But you get sick if you work all the time and you’re all alone. And for most of us that’s a mustn’t happen.

You die if you’re a workaholic because friends will stop calling you, your partner will forget you exist (leave you or just become a roommate) and that’s sad.

I thought I was a workaholic. I really did. But I’m not. I just enjoyed doing the things I liked with people I cared about (not mention I constantly had a crush on a colleague so it would be accurate to say I mixed business with pleasure), but now I realized I’m not one.

I realized that because I’m waiting for someone to call me and that person is still at work. And it’s 8:30 p.m. And a lot of people miss the walks in the park in sunny days like this because they’re “just about to finish something, I’ll be there as soon as I’m done” and that always takes longer than they expected.

And we have little time. I hate that. And that’s why my teacher told us to get married before we graduate, because she knew we would bury ourselves in work. Well, I still think she exaggerated (plus I’m not talking about marriage here, I’m talking about relationships of any kind – with our family, friends or significant other), but she was right about working too much.

And now I just want to say: too bad you’re still working. I’m alive. My friend, I‘m going out! 😀


  • Reply
    25/04/2007 at 10:49 PM

    Da, dar gandeste-te ca, de foarte mult timp, rolurile, dorintele sau credintele oamenilor nu s-au schimbat semnificativ. De mai bine de 10.000 de ani facem aceleasi lucruri. Ne nastem, copilarim o buna parte a vietii noastre, intemeiem familii, aducem valoare adaugata organizatiilor care se incumeta sa ne angajeze, ne “distram”. Ce mama ma-sii, ne traim viata! Acumulam experienta profesionala, nopti nedormite, afectiuni cardio-vasculare, fire de par alb, riduri si, nu in ultimul rand, bani. Pe urma ne dam seama ca vrem ceva mai mult. Salariul actual nu mai este de ajuns, vrem sa fim remunerati cu o intreaga caruta de bani, sa ne gasim parteneri super-misto cu corpuri aproape perfecte si sa ne construim vile pe malul marii. Nu ne dam seama insa, dar pentru toate astea trebuie sa muncim chiar mai mult. Asa ca reducem si mai mult numarul orelor de somn, numarul meselor din fiecare zi, numarul minutelor petrecute cu cei dragi. De 10.000 de ani astea sunt lucrurile pe care le facem cu totii in mod curent. Astea sunt lucrurile de care ne pasa, pe care le urmarim in fiecare zi. Sigur ca exista variatii, sigur ca unele sunt mai importante decat altele, dar suma lor ramane constanta. Avem astazi cam aceleasi alternative pe care le-au avut omul de Neanderthal, Napoleon Bonaparte sau Ecaterina Teodoroiu. Pe mine tocmai asta ma nelinisteste.

  • Reply
    25/04/2007 at 11:38 PM

    e de cacat…mai ales cand vezi ca muncesti mai mult decat media orelor pe care le muncesc romanii care la randul ei e cu 8 ore mai mare decat media orelor muncite de europeni, intr-un domeniu in care rentabilitatea e mai mare decat in vest si vezi ca un somer de-al lor ia ajutor vizibil mai mare decat salariul tau

  • Reply
    25/04/2007 at 11:40 PM

    traiasca unu mai! chiar voi incerca de acum incolo sa tratez ziua asta ca pe o sarbatoare

  • Reply
    Andressa » Our small world
    26/04/2007 at 12:22 AM

    […] was saying that we should live our lives to the full. I’m sorry if I sounded judgmental in my last post, it wasn’t a reproach to the victim (because I think she is a victim) but a wake up call for […]

  • Reply
    26/04/2007 at 9:14 AM

    we all do, dear, we all do 🙂
    pasiunile, de orice fel, pot ucide. cred ca in cazul despre care s-a vorbit atat, despre asta a fost vorba. cred. nu cred ca te poti ingropa intr-o munca pana intr-acolo incat sa uiti de tot, de restul, sa-ti ignori limitele decat daca e vorba de dragoste. si sunt oameni care isi iubesc literalmente munca. eu sunt adepta ideii ca munca ne reprezinta intr-o mai mare masura decat toate celelalte, ca ea da masura a ceea ce suntem, ca ne putem iubi “muncile” cu aceeasi disperare cu care iubim orice altceva in viata asta. si da, se poate muri din prea multa dragoste. evident, ideal ar fi sa iesi din tine uneori, sa te privesti din afara, sa-ti realizezi limitele, sa nu le ignori dar, hai sa fim seriosi, cati dintre noi reusesc s-o faca, atunci cand suntem indragostiti, de exemplu.
    nu cred ca aici a fost vorba de bani, nici de lipsa de optiuni. ajunsi pe o asemenea pozitie, oamenii nu se pot plange nici de una nici de alta. cred ca a fost dragoste si sete de munca. si e frumos sa mori asa, epuizat de pasiune pentru ceva.

  • Reply
    26/04/2007 at 9:48 AM

    It is not passion for work that killed that woman and that usually turns us into burning workaholics. I worked for a short time in such a corporation before leaving Romania. Former collegues tell me some of them start to cry and take pills to go on (“I only sleep with Xanax”)… I have no idea why they won’t stop it, maybe they don’t realize they deserve/could do better. In Belgium I work in the same business, but I finish at 18h00, I have 27 holidays and 10 national days, plus short schedule during summer (till 16h30). Now I am starting to get passionate about my work.

  • Reply
    26/04/2007 at 10:04 AM

    de ce a trebuit sa moara Raluca ca opinia publica sa se trezeasca? de ce?
    nu cred ca se va schimba nimic, nu cred ca EY sau alt mastodont de genul acesta isi va revizui politica, romanul tot dupa bani va alerga si va spune, lasa ca nu mi se intampla tocmai mie….

    pacata..mare pacat….lasa ca vine week-endul prelungit de 1 mai si toata lumea o sa uite de Raluca…pacat

    btw. Ca reactie la aceasta dezbatere, multinationalele din domeniul auditului au anuntat incepand de ieri, potrivit unor surse din interior, ca vor da liber angajatilor pe 1 mai si chiar pe 30 aprilie, desi aceasta zi este una de vacanta doar pentru cei care lucreaza la stat. De asemenea, angajatii din Big4 sunt trimisi acasa de doua zile la ore „rezonabile”, adica la opt seara.

  • Reply
    26/04/2007 at 10:08 AM

    Imi si imaginez sedintele sefilor de la Big4: Seful nervos ii spune celui de la HR – “Daca ne mai moare un angajat, tu vei fi al treilea!”

  • Reply
    26/04/2007 at 11:39 AM

    As harsh as it may sound if there is a person to blame is Raluca and not the company. Sure the company, your boss and the environment you are in put pressure on you. When they tell you they want that report for 8am the following morning, you may feel you have no choice but to do it. Well, you do have a choice but that may mean you will lose your job.

    However, the truth is you do have a choice to be in the situation you are in. Talking logically here, Raluca did not have money problems that obliged her to keep on working like this. As sad as it may sound, she could have looked for something else more relaxed. People in these type of jobs have so much responsability and so many different skills they wouldn’t really be out of work. Therefore, to keep on justifying her will to continue working with the need to have to work is very unfair to the billions of others in the world who have no qualifications, families on their shoulders and the like that REALLY cannot afford to be out of work.

    It is true that companies should have the moral right to treat their employeers fairly and in a calm and productive environment. Threaths, unmeasured pressure and blackmailing should not have a place in modern society nor in workplaces.

    However, ultimately it depends on us. Companies will push foward if employees are at their call 24 x 7. If employees keep on thinking that to have that ferrari, those fabulous 5 houses, th 1st class ticket every two weeks to Las Vegas, etc, etc, are a must then there is no reason why companies think they can’t use and abuse of your time.

    Don’t get me wrong. I want a Porsche, a house on the beach and to travel as much as i want to can can. I want to have time to take my photography course and start a photojournalism project. I also want to open a school for victims of war and deprived backgrounds in Mozambique. I want to do loads of things and have many others. But will i have them or enjoy them if i am dead?


  • Reply
    26/04/2007 at 6:01 PM

    I think she didn’t know it was that bad. I think she just felt tired and the emails she sent to her friends prove that she wanted to quit. Only she didn’t know it would be too late. It’s true we are to greedy, but I think we really don’t know when to stop. And if we did, we would stop when it starts being dangerous for our health. She didn’t know. The employers should have known better, not her!

  • Reply
    Ecologie umana
    26/04/2007 at 9:44 PM

    O floare pentru Raluca

    Haideti cu toti pe data de 1 mai sa depunem o floare la sediul firmei E&Y pentru Raluca.

  • Reply
    27/04/2007 at 9:33 AM

    Hei Andressa

    I have to disagree with this:

    “The employers should have known better, not her!”.

    I mean, if you are saying that not even she could realize our weak she was and it was her body, how could the employer? Strictly speaking i am feeling like shit for months now, i mean… really shitty, and for my employers i am a happy go person with no problems getting on with my work and meeting deadlines. They could and do not know how difficult it is for me to sometimes get out of bed. They can’t possibly know because i am hiding it quite well. I have my own reasons to do it and so did Raluca. As far as i am aware she never really complained to her boss or? If she had and nothing had been done, the employer’s responsibility would have been higher. However, the truth is that ultimately it’s her choice to stay or to go! Even if there was a chance she would be fired for admitting she felt really tired and couldn’t go on.

    The employer has a moral obligation to not bully his employees into working like slaves but, look, 99,9% employees, in this field, work like this because they chose to stay. Those who can’t cope usually leave. She should have left but she didn’t. Wanting to leave but not managing does not shift the guilt to the employer.

    What i want to make clear though is that when i say it’s her fault(if anybody needs to point fingers) i am not saying this in a real negative way. I am really really sorry for her. That she didn’t know her limits or was strong enough to look for something better. What i am saying is that she had the choice and she didn’t take it. Her employees did not chain her. That’s a fact. But this is not to say that a shift if mind is needed, from both employers and employees.

  • Reply
    27/04/2007 at 2:48 PM

    Raluca’s death made me wonder… How many times did I feel that I would die of exhaustion but I said to myself that work hasn’t killed anyone…?

  • Reply
    28/04/2007 at 12:57 AM


  • Reply
    emir ciolan
    29/04/2007 at 9:33 PM

    “Mai bine o mana plina de odihna decat doi pumni plini de truda si vanare de vant” – Ecleziastul

    Moartea prin epuizare a Ralucai Stroescu, tanara care lucra pana saptamana trecuta ca manager de audit la Ernst & Young, va schimba intrutotul felul in care ne raportam la cariera si la viata personala. Indraznesc sa spun ca de-acum se va putea vorbi de un inainte si de un dupa.

    Vom putea vorbi de un moment anterior in care nu am chestionat mirajul carierei de succes si sacrificiile la nivel personal pe care le implica, in care micile noastre reusite intime paleau prin comparatie cu reusitele profesionale, in care functia si pozitia ierarhica ne defineau si ne epuizau ca oameni, in care un curriculum vitae (la urma urmei, in latina inseamna cursul/parcursul vietii) se reducea la cursul vietii profesionale, de parca o alta viata ar fi fost cu neputinta de inchipuit; un moment anterior in care mii de tineri isi ruinau sanatatea pentru a-si consolida cariera, in care pletora de izbanzi profesionale abia de reusea sa mascheze pustiul interior, in care conversatiile de dupa program erau acaparate, ca intr-un cerc vicios, de subiecte legate de job, de birou, de proiecte, de program si iar de program; un moment anterior in care business casual se metamorfoza treptat in business casualty, un moment anterior in care ne obisnuisem sa admiram un peisaj la rezolutia unui wallpaper de pe desktop, in care verdele unei pajisti adevarate parea la fel de ireal ca o animatie pe computer, in care traiam in aer conditionat uitand sa respiram in aer liber….

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