"The workaholic he works every day, 24 hours, no time to playAh, the Workaholic. Like the Salaryman, the typical workaholic's life revolves entirely around their job. Unlike the Salaryman, who is nigh-exclusively male, women have just as much potential to be a workaholic as their male counterparts. Also, Salarymen are specifically lower level white-collar office workers while workaholics can be workers of any job or position. The workaholic is almost always found performing tasks related to their job, even in their time off. A hardcore workaholic will often pass up recreational exercises in order to continue with their business. They will often go on to say that they like their job and simply find it more enjoyable than alternatives. Alternatively they may feel that their place of business will completely fall apart if they aren't there to oversee every small detail. This is especially true if they are scientists, entrepreneurs or simply near the top of a chain of command/corporate ladder. In any event, for these people working hard isn't just a means to an end (such as a raise, promotion, corner office, etc.). They genuinely live for the job. When they get home, if they haven't been completely distanced from their family, they can have a whole new can of worms to play around with, including but not limited to their obnoxious and/or bratty children and spouses who are less than glad to see them. Children may wonder When You Coming Home, Dad?. The workaholic in question may also have trouble keeping a marriage together, and very possibly (though not necessarily) has multiple failed marriages under his/her belt. There are a lot of these running around today, and many wear the workaholic label with pride. Pity the non-workaholic who has one for a boss. See also Salaryman and White Collar Worker, their (usual) first stage before turning into this. Compare Germanic Efficiency for a certain national group often stereotyped as this. The trope may be used in a deconstruction of the American Dream, or of the Japanese Spirit. The men of Workaholics should absolutely not be mistaken for this.
He won't quit; he's addicted to work, I think he's going out like a jerk"
He won't quit; he's addicted to work, I think he's going out like a jerk"
— 2 Unlimited, "Workaholic"
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- Hiroko Matsukata from Hataraki Man. Matsukata earned the nickname Hataraki Man (meaning hardworking man) from her friends as she spends so much time and energy on her job.
- One half of the main couple in Little House with an Orange Roof is Shotaro, a man whose Workaholism caused his ignored wife to leave him and his two sons. When he winds up having to share a home with a woman and her two daughters, he begins to re-evaluate why that was so important to him.
- Nanoha Takamachi developed this tendency between seasons two and three of Lyrical Nanoha, spending just about every waking hour either working or training. This behavior caused her to overextend her powers during a mission, in which she was wounded and then had to spend six months in the hospital relearning how to walk. This caused her to tone it down.
- Professor Gennosuke Yumi from Mazinger Z is completely devoted to his work in the Photon Atomic Power Research Institute. He is so Married to the Job his daughter Sayaka often has to force him to come back home to have lunch and get a rest. Unfortunately it also means he often neglects her, even if he tries to take care of her, and often Sayaka feels alone.
- Kotetsu from Tiger & Bunny is so preoccupied with his job as a Hero that his boss has to literally order him to use his vacation days, lest he start violating Sternbild's labor laws.
- Sky High / Keith from the same series is also happily devoted to superheroics.
- Played with in Mononoke. It's strongly implied that should the mononoke-slaying Medicine Peddler protagonist fail at exorcising a mononoke (or conversely, should all mononoke cease to exist), he'd disappear from this world. So it's quite difficult to figure out whether he's truly devoted to his duty or whether he has no other choice — though going by his frequent displays of enthusiasm and interest in the mononoke and their histories, he seems to be genuinely fond of 'work'.
- Nanami of The Pet Girl of Sakurasou became this as her parents disapprove of her aspiration to become a voice actress, and as a result has to work several jobs to pay for her living expenses in Tokyo (where voice acting training is likely to be found), and eventually became too strict on herself and everyone else. This is particularly exaggerated in episode 5, when she moved into Sakura Hall and decided to take over Sorata's role for "Mashiro Duty" on top of her many tasks, and fell ill in episode 6 as a result.
- Cass from A Cruel God Reigns seems to be everywhere, working every job. He has a very specific reason though.
- This was the big problem with Tsubomi's parents in HeartCatch Pretty Cure!, to the point of Parental Neglect. It took Tsubomi thirteen painful years to break down and admit that she was lonely and wanted them around.
- In Sand Chronicles, Sakura is very dedicated to his work and focuses greatly on being amongst the top, which probably explains his snobby and Jerk Ass tendencies. He's not pleased when he's put on leave for showing bad teamwork skills in Volume 9, as he states several times how much he hates taking days off. He says that he feels if he even misses one day of work, he "might never come back".
- Kaoru from I Can't Understand What My Husband is Saying has no problems working long and unstable hours (including her first Christmas after getting married to Hajime). She's actually upset about having to go on maternity leave, since it means she'll be getting paid without working.
- Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days: Saïx spends his one day off by doing some indescript work with the Dusks.
- Bakuman。, Eiji Niizuma is so obsessed with drawing manga that he even draws random manga during his time-offs. His editor Yuujirou Hattori guesses that if Niizuma gets a long break from drawing manga for Shounen Jump, he would still draw manga for fun during said break.
- Certain heroes, mostly those without a secret identity, tend to invest too much time into their superheroics that it could become this. Examples include:
- Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four tends to have little time for himself or his family, what with being the World's Smartest Man.
- Nick Fury has literally no personal life; his entire thing is being a special agent and Director of SHIELD.
- While he used to have one, Captain America is never shown these days without being on duty as Captain America, and when he did have a secret identity, it was mostly because the writers at the time thought superheroes HAD to have one.
- Cyclops of the X-Men used to be more along the lines of a boyscout, being neat and tidy outside of missions and by the book when in uniform. But, following Jean Grey's death during Grant Morrison's run, he started off as either teaching a class, being with Emma, or leading a mission. Then, around the time of Decimation and Messiah Complex, he's fallen into a downward spiral of work, work, work. This actually has some justification though, Jean's death was partially caused because of his and Emma's psychic affair, which was started because he was repressing some seriously bad PTSD. Because of that, he's been getting darker, until Decimation and Messiah Complex turned the X-Men books into Darker and Edgier, with Cyke dedicating all his time to being the X-Men's leader and keeping the few mutants left alive. He literally doesn't have any options other than being a Workaholic.
- The Punisher is, by far, the strangest example of this trope. He's a mass murdering serial killer who preys on criminals. Because he's a wanted fugitive and his name is public knowledge, he can't have any social life outside of killing.
- Blade is similar, with the difference being that he hunts vampires instead.
- Norman Osborn was once one, before becoming the Green Goblin. He sorta returned to this during Dark Reign, but that was a much darker take on this.
- In the Disney Ducks Comic Universe Scrooge McDuck, Gyro Gearloose and Grandma Duck all qualify. Scrooge and Gyro are pretty much incapable of not thinking of ways to make money and inventing stuff, respectively. In Grandma's case it explains why she keeps around the incredibly lazy Gus Goose as a farmhand: because if she employed someone that was actaully helpful there'd be less to do for her.
- Both Lester and Carolyn Burnham in American Beauty have long since become Workaholics when the movie opens, but they take radically different approaches to it: Lester has his Crowning Moment Of Awesome and quits (blackmailing his boss into giving a generous severance package) just as he's about to get fired, while Carolyn rather embraces being a workaholic and very nearly murders Lester.
- Peter, Samir and Michael, the three main characters in Office Space.
- Nicholas Angel in Hot Fuzz is this at first, but mellows out later in the film.
Danny Butterman: You just don't know how to switch off!
- In the Shirley MacLaine comedy What a Way to Go!, her character's initially carefree husband becomes one of these and relentlessly turns his small-town general store into a national business empire. And finally..
"It just goes to show, a little hard work never killed anybody!" (Keels over dead)
- Tony Stark in Iron Man. Let's face it, if it wasn't for Pepper, Jarvis, and Rhodey, Tony would've starved or overdosed on caffeine down in his workshop years ago.
- Claire Dearing is the busy operations manager of Jurassic World. She is introduced memorizing the names of the executives who are visiting the park before meeting them. Because of her workaholism, her first date with Owen was tremendously unsuccesful, has her assistant Zara to take care of her nephews instead of herself (doesn't even remember how old they are) which saddens her sister Karen and sees dinosaurs as attractions instead of living beings. Then, the intelligent dinosaur mutant Indominus rex escapes out of containment and chaos ensues in the whole island and Claire begins to worry about the safety of her nephews and is willing to take part in the action.
Owen: Who prints an itinerary in a night out?
- The protagonist of Demon: A Memoir begins the novel as one of these, trying to fill the void left in his life by his recent divorce. As the novel progresses, his workaholism shifts; he begins neglecting his real job to spend all his time obsessively documenting the titular memoir being narrated to him by a demon.
- It seems to be the case for most professionals in the Vampire Academy series. Both the staff of St. Vladimir's Academy and any guardian introduced seem to have their entire lives revolve around their profession.
- From the Harry Potter books, Hermione Granger, hands down. What other word describes a student who takes a Muggles Studies course to learn more about them even though both her parents are muggles, and uses a magical device to alter time just to take more classes?
- Sam Vimes, Commander of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch, is never truly off-duty. He's made an enormous effort to delegate and be home at a reasonable hour since becoming a father, but it still takes a direct order from the Patrician (likely encouraged by Sybil) for him to consent to an actual vacation.
- Mr. Busy from the Mr. Men books. In his own book, he wakes up at six o clock, bathes, has breakfast, reads the paper, and cleans his entire house. When he's done, it's seven o clock. Then he has lunch with Mr. Slow next door, requiring him to mow Mr. Slow's lawn, which takes him five and a half minutes (he'd have finished in only five minutes, but had to mow around Mr. Slow). Then he goes home and cleans his entire house again!
Live Action TV
- Our Miss Brooks: In "Hobby Show" (and "The Workhorse", its radio predecessor), Miss Brooks is working so hard her friends fear her workaholic behavior will make her old before her time. Hilarity Ensues when Miss Brooks' friends try to teach her to relax with a hobby. Miss Brooks knits (with Mrs. Davis), finger-paints (with Harriet Conklin), plays with model trains (with Walter Denton), plays chess (with Mr. Boynton) and fixes toys for charity (with Mr. and Mrs. Conklin) . . . all at the same time.
- Arrow: Just about everyone, actually.
- Oliver is a cross between this and The Determinator. When he sets his mind on something, he will not stop until he's achieved it.
- Laurel lives and breathes her work. For most of the first season, nearly everything she did outside of CNRI was for one case or another. It becomes even more prominent once she becomes Black Canary and starts fighting crime in addition to her legal work.
- In season three, Felicity is constantly rushing between the Foundry and Palmer Technologies. She has her day job, her night job with Team Arrow, and her spare time is spent helping Ray get his ATOM suit working.
- When Ray was working his suit, he vanished for a week to finish it without sleeping or showering, only realizing how long it had been when Felicity came to his place, said that there had been doubts that he was alive, and demanded to know if he knew what happened to the stock price of Palmer Technologies when Palmer goes missing for a week.
- All of Aaron Sorkin's TV shows have been set in workplaces, and he's very prone to writing workaholic characters whose friendships with their coworkers are unbreakable bonds. A perfect example of this viewpoint is in the fourth episode of The West Wing, when Leo's wife is leaving him because he's not at home enough, and he's not presented as callous at all when he actually tells her in so many words that yes, as long as he's the president's chief of staff, his job is more important than his marriage. Josh is maybe the best example; his Establishing Character Moment in the pilot is sleeping at his desk as the cleaning staff vacuums around him and he doesn't take a vacation until the last season of the series.
- In Selfie, Henry Higgs is this. He works constantly, he thinks the song "Working For The Weekend" is about working during the weekend, in one web-exclusive bit he says he wishes he had the superpower not to sleep so he could get work done. This makes him kind of boring, as his idea of fun is reading a book and eating a big salad. He is also bad with women as a result, ignoring a coffee shop girl giving him a free cookie because it would "screw up her inventory."
- In Babylon 5, Captain Sheridan is one of these. He has a dialogue with his partner which goes like this:
I sometimes imagine you sitting, peacefully, on a beach, with nothing to do. It always ends with your head imploding.How do you know me so well?We are old souls.
- Hugh and Malcolm from The Thick of It. Of the latter, a subordinate says,
"Well, that's the thing about the evil, isn't it, their amazing work ethic."
- Everyone, to alarming degrees, on NCIS, though Gibbs is the worst example. An average workday has repeatedly been mentioned to span sixteen hours. It's mostly played for laughs, but none of the characters seem to have a functional social life. It's occasionally revealed that Tony works even later than Gibbs despite maintaining a reputation for laziness and womanizing.
- Also true on the parent series JAG, particularly with Admiral Chegwidden who in a season four episode ("War Stories") is forced on leave and we see that he is incredibly bored. Although some of the characters do have meaningful hobbies other than work, like Harm (his Stearman biplane), Mac (Dinosaur bones) and Bud (Star Trek), itís still implied that they work very long hours and have a limited social life.
- Leslie Knope in Parks and Recreation is evidently one of these. When the boss gives her the day off because she's involved in a political scandal, it takes the entire rest of the department working full time just to cover her schedule.
- Sam Carter from Stargate SG-1 would often spend more time in her lab than was strictly necessary citing her work as both important and interesting. Also turned down an opportunity to go on a fishing trip with O'Neill several times, but that's something of a Running Gag on the show. No one ever wants to go on a fishing trip when asked.
- When she does take breaks, they tend to revolve around building and riding motorbikes. Girl doesn't take breaks.
- Mulder of The X-Files is one, though his motivation has less to do with his actual job of being an FBI agent and more to do with using that influence to investigate the paranormal, uncover a government conspiracy, and find his sister, Samantha. Due to the inclusive and dangerous nature of their work, Scully is sucked in, too, though longs to have a life outside of her work and often wonders why Mulder doesn't want that.
- Beckett of Castle is this. She even volunteers to cancel a date so that she can help with a case.
- In Heroes, Peter Petrelli became this by the show's fourth season. He cuts himself off of contact with anyone, including his own mother, in order to spend more time at work. Peter's work partner has to tell him to go home and get a life outside of work. Of course, this doesn't last long as he's inevitably drafted into the scheme of the moment.
- Hotch of Criminal Minds. The others too, but to a lesser degree. Hotch's marriage actually broke down because of this.
- The various Star Trek series have an interesting take on this: many if not most officers are shown as having strong workaholic tendencies, which mostly works out fine for them, but their medical officers or counselors will not hesitate to go as far as order a vacation when they feel they need it.
- The CSi shows also love this,mostly the supervisors. Grissom told Brass once he'd do more work after work and Mac says to Stella "What's sleep?" on the NY one. Also Hawkes on NY,who worked so much he slept there.
- Harry Chapin's Cat's in the Cradle is about the relationship between a workaholic and his son, who grows up to become a workaholic himself.
- The Proclaimers' "Follow the Money"
"I need to toil, 'cause it's good for my soul
I feel clean when I'm working"
- Caprice Coleman has at least two jobs and his gimmick (which may more than just), is that he is always working on one of them. Also became Cedric Alexander's when he joined Coleman in Ring of Honor's tag team division for the C&C Wrestle Factory.
- La Felina has no hobbies outside of pro wrestling unless she thinks they will somehow help her get better at pro wrestling.
- In Real Life, a lot of people, not just wrestlers, are this due to their extreme dedication to the business. CM Punk never managed to have a steady girlfriend in or outside the business until he retired — six months later, he was married. John Cena is so devoted to the WWE that he admits that's why he won't marry girlfriend Nikki Bella or have kids, since he would have to take time off in order to raise them. Vince McMahon has no life outside of wrestling, not even bothering to take vacations; it's believed that the reason Linda, Shane, and Stephanie were all put on payroll is because he'd never see them otherwise.
- Exalted: There are a lot of things to be done in Creation, and workaholics can be found here and there.
- Nysela, goddess of righteous ideals and heavenly duty who is also the captain of the Daystar (which is Creation's Sun). If she slack even a bit, the entire Creation will feel it. This is all motivated by her (unrequited) love toward the Unconquered Sun.
- Certain types of exaltation also means you're part of a very large organization, and you're expected to do tons of desk job. Sidereals must run the hopelessly-corrupt Celestial Bureaucracy that police billions of gods, most of which are Jerkass Gods. Alchemicals are cogs of their government, and without them working like mad, the populat will riot.
- And there is a Solar charm that allows its master to regain Essence by doing administrative jobs in a government. This charm originally belong to the sorcerer caste, which requires tons of Essence for their Sorcery. Cue the Workaholic stereotype...
- The Pattern Spiders, who constantly weave and re-weave the Fate of countless objects and beings in Creation, have never taken a day off since their creation by Autochthon. Because of this, they love to tilt Fate a bit toward the people who do awesome things in life, those people's exploits are like action movie for them.
- Luna's parents in Mega Man Star Force, as exemplified by the "Queen Ophiuca" chapter of the first game.
- In Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan, a salaryman's workaholic attitude has distanced himself from his daughter, whom he has to save from a giant rat.
- The Sims 3 has this as a trait.
- Norman Jayden of Heavy Rain qualifies. He's an incredibly zealous FBI agent who spends all of his time trying to solve the case of the Origami Killer, and has few interpersonal relationships outside of work as a result. In one of his epilogues, Norman decides to resign from his post to get back in touch with the 'real world' and lead a more normal life.
- In The Sand Man, Sophie's father Richard keeps so busy that there are times he won't come home for days, staying at the office. This also applies to all the faeries, which causes even more problems.
- Arthur from Rune Factory 4 is almost always working, even during festivals, and often Forgets to Eat.
- Amelia's group of bureaucrats from Tears to Tiara 2 are absolute Workaholics. When told by Hamil they'll be given so much work they won't have time to sleep, they cheer and cry tears of joy.
- Dwarves in Majesty have most of their voice lines centered around hard work and how much they love it—when they see a monster, they complain that it's interrupting their work; when they go for a reward flag, they characterize it as "more work to do!" This is less a social detriment, however, than an emphasis on their culture.
- Miss Pauling from Team Fortress 2 only gets one day off a year, but she's so devoted to her job of assisting the Administrator that seems to be all she needs. She ends up going a little batty when she's forced to take a vacation during the Tough Break Update; after you complete a contract she'll sometimes ask, in a somewhat desperate tone, "Can I be done with my vacation now, please?!"
- a2 ~a due~: It doesn't take long to realize that Hao is this. The minute he arrives in America, he starts working day and night as a conductor and musician, sternly reprimanding the mistakes-ridden orchestra under him to practice harder and longer, and toiling away for the upcoming concert. He even tries to teach himself English on top of it all. However, a deeper side is revealed (if you've done enough to unlock the English translation of his Chinese dialog, that is; otherwise, you simply get a more vague sense of what happened) when you find out that Hao has always pushed himself very hard, even as a child. His strong dedication and passion for music ended up putting a lot of distance between himself and others throughout the years; while other kids went out to play, he made music and practiced, as he didn't know how to make friends. In fact, every member of his very first orchestra left him, simply because they lacked the same dedication he possessed. All in all, he leads a rather lonely life.
Hao: (No matter how hard I had practiced, I still couldn't win the love and friendship of others. No matter how hard I practiced, I still ended up alone. But even then, I couldn't stop practicing. Because by that point, that was all I knew how to do.)
- Azamat, in Slimy Thief, loves being a merchant. Camilia, who has a crush on him, states that he'd only be interest in her if she was a magical item he could sell. When she asks Azamat if he does anything not related to his store, he can't seem to recall.
- Polandball depicts the spherical personification of Germany as obsessed with working. Maybe it's for the best that he loves to work, otherwise imagine the consequences if he didn't◊.
- Leela from PVP Online is a strong case.
Cole: When don't you work?
Leela: I sleep four hours a night. But I'm training myself to lucid dream so I can run audits during REM cycle.
- In Worm, the superhero Armsmaster, leader of the Brockton Bay Protectorate, is one — any time not spent on his official duties is time he spends training or working on his equipment.
- Demo Reel has Donnie DuPre, who purposely keeps himself busy to keep from thinking about sad things. Very much taken from his actor, who has admitted to getting confused when his friends don't want to let their work hurt them.
- A sad scene in The Nostalgia Critic had a doctor telling him his mom died, and the reason why she didn't tell him she was sick is because she didn't bother him while he was working.
- Mrs. Zales from The Most Popular Girls in School. She's pictured above (with her phone of course).
- The main delivery crew from Futurama. They hate their job (mostly; Fry ping pongs back and forth). Hermes Conrad, the uptight bureaucrat, though, loves his job.
- Not for nothing is he referred to as Salaryman in the Anime version of the crew.
- Bob Oblong from The Oblongs. And he has some aspects of the Salaryman and Married to the Job as well.
- Dot Matrix runs her own business and owns a diner. And she loves her job. A lot. Actually became a plot point in two separate episodes. One episode's B-story was about Bob forcibly dragging Dot away from her work in an attempt to get her to relax. The second time her chronic scheduling caused a tiff between herself and the more laid-back, make-things-up-as-you-go-along Bob.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- Applejack, oh so very much. Also coupled with initially being too proud to ask for help from non-relatives. Her brother is an implied case, as he has never been seen leaving the farm for too long.
- Twilight Sparkle, to the point that she's probably somewhere on the autistic spectrum.
- Rarity has her moments as well.
- Charlotte Pickles from Rugrats.
- The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!, most of the team are hardly ever shown not working. They do ocasionally start off an episode not doing anything, but most of the time they're shown in the middle of a mission. Henry Pym is the worst case of this in the series though, as when he's not fighting evil, he's developing technology or working on a cure for villainy. Steve is, by default one, due to not actually having a social life outside the Avengers due to being a time travelling Fish out of Water.
- X-Men: Evolution: Scott. Played for Laughs: He REALLY loves Danger Room Simulations and was seen once or twice suggesting it as a team activity. He does have a social life to some extent though.
- SpongeBob SquarePants loves his job and is very dedicated to it, to the point that he doesn't know what to do when he has to take a vacation and when he thinks he's getting fired and goes looking for another job, he's barely able to do anything else, (despite having friends and enjoying his hobby pretty well.)
- In the Angry Birds Toons episode "Off Duty", Red guards the eggs so much that Matilda forces him to go on vacation and relax. Even on vacation, he can't help but think about the eggs; stressing him out even more.
- Hellen Morgendorffer from Daria.
- Numbuh 1 of Codename: Kids Next Door is very dedicated to his duties as an operative of the KND. Too much, in fact. On average, he has to be forced into taking time off by both friends and family and is even called a Workaholic by Numbuh 10.
- Hank Hill in King of the Hill loves his job at Stickland Propane. He refused to leave ten minutes early on a Friday to travel with the gang for Bill's birthday. He won't even take vacation days when his boss forced him to. But does for insurance reasons, but not vacationing at work.
- Apu Nahasapeemapetilon from The Simpsons. He hates taking days off, and works though double-shifts on a regular basis. He was only willing to close the Kwik-E-Mart for five minutes to go to his brother's party, and got back ten seconds early. Not even the dozens of times the store has been held up, often with him taking gunshot wounds as a result, can dissuade him; in one episode, he complained that he had been shot eight times that year and "nearly missed work" because of it. He was like this in college too, graduating first in a class of seven million from the Calcutta Technical University before coming to the United States. Probably, the reason is he just loves his job too much; he started it to pay his student loans, and even though he now has a doctorate in computer science, he isn't willing to leave the Kwik-E-Mart job behind.