The confessions of a workaholic

This post is from Molly, a 19 year old Digital Marketing apprentice at Google. Since starting my Instagram, I’ve got to know Molly quite well as another lovely girl on a mission to help others that aren’t sure what career they want.

Molly hasn’t gone to university and instead pursued a fantastic opportunity to be an apprentice at Google! She has shared her stories and advice over on her YouTube and Instagram to help others that aren’t sure what to do after A levels.

Below, Molly has written a piece about the concept of ‘workaholism’ and how she finds it difficult to switch off, especially when working from home.

At only a young age of 19, I wouldn’t say I could call myself a ‘workaholic’ having only worked in a full-time job for 6 months. But what’s defined as a workaholic?

definition of a workaholic - reads 'a person who compulsively works excessively hard and long hours'

Right, I would hold myself guilty. At 18, whilst my friends were anticipating results day to see if they got into university, I already knew I had secured my place at Google as an apprentice.

With people’s expectations of me skyrocketing after hearing I now worked for Google, the pressure was on. It was partly my own fault because I began to promote it on my Instagram, aiming to share my journey and give advice to students about how I got here (which I absolutely love doing nonetheless). But this brought along the pressure of always having to work on new and exciting things or show how I was succeeding at work. 

Molly is a digital marketing apprentice at Google

At Google, I always feel the need to either catch up with those around me, or exceed people’s expectations of me to prove myself. It’s non-stop. Working from home whilst in lockdown and having the burden of ‘extra time’, makes it hard for me to not feel guilty for not utilising this to get ahead.

I am a driven person and I always work hard, that’s something I pride myself on. Working from home blurs the line of working hours too and it’s difficult to be strict with yourself when you know something needs to be done.

I’ve entered this vicious cycle of never actually switching off, my laptop is always accessible to do the odd job here and there because I’m not leaving the house. When I reflect, there aren’t many hours in the week that I’m not working on something.

Photo of Molly Johnstone
Working from home makes it difficult to switch off

I find it so hard to switch off, when I go to bed I have 101 ideas creating noise in my head, which at times can be exciting but most recently it has been really exhausting. Having no plans to distract me at the weekend, and not living with friends in London like I’m used to, has almost made me feel trapped. It’s started to affect my mental health severely. Like any feeling regarding mental health, you tend to hide the way you feel externally, in this case it’s with ‘success’. 

Unfortunately, I have no solution for how to stop this because it’s something I really struggle with. But I’m really grateful for Maddie allowing me to bring light onto the situation because especially recently, social media is plastered with messages about how to ‘stay motivated’ and ‘how to keep busy’ but for those of us who feel like our brains don’t let us be still, that probably makes us feel even more pressured to keep working!

As young students we’re told that we need to work hard to get where we want to be. This is true but also remind yourself that work doesn’t define you, don’t neglect the rest of your personality, the part that your friends and family love you for. It wasn’t too long ago that I realised this aspect of my life was taking over, and yes I can’t fix it by clicking my fingers but the first step is realisation. 

I hope you are all being kind and taking care of yourself and never forget to check in with those you care about. 

Thank you so much to Molly for sharing her experiences of feeling like a ‘workaholic’. It’s especially hard to draw the line and stop your working day when working at home, but something we all need to do.

If anyone needs some advice, you can find a blog here about unwinding after a working day or this post about how to stop being busy all the time.

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Green Socks

    Thanks for sharing Molly and Maddie. You’re very right that it’s hard to switch off working from home. It’s also very important that you find a to do that, not only for your own health and balance but also to avoid setting a precedent or expectations about productivity and availability. I say this as someone who has worked from home for 6 years and I absolutely refuse to open my laptop or emails on the weekend or my days off. Good luck to both of you on your professional journeys, you’re both setting a wonderful example and I’m glad you’re sharing your experiences.

    1. Maddie

      Thanks for your comment! It’s great that you’ve been able to set those boundaries and not work on the weekend/days off, I really need to be doing that too. Thank you very much, that’s very kind of you.

  2. Anna

    One of the ways I’ve found to flip that off switch at night in my brain is just leaving a notebook and pen beside the bed! Do a brain dump to get everything buzzing around in your head down and then you know those ideas are safe and tucked away so you can get a good nights sleep! Excellent post!

    1. Maddie

      Ooh that’s a great idea, thank you for sharing! I definitely need to be doing that myself!

  3. Hannah Louise Blog

    Some really good points here! I can imagine the pressure really is on in a position like that so not being able to switch off must be so hard when there isn’t that office/home split. I’m the same but when it comes to applying for jobs, I feel like I should be applying for more because I’ve now got the time but cannot find any to apply too!

    1. Maddie

      I think Molly does feel that pressure but she handles it very well – we can all easily fall into a trap of working too hard! Keep going for your job applications, if it doesn’t seem that there’s many out there at the minute don’t stress!

  4. williake

    Wow congrats!! That’s a huge accomplishment you should be proud of. One tip I may add about turning down before bed is a little bit of yoga and reading!

    1. Maddie

      That’s a great idea – thanks for sharing!

Let me know your thoughts...