aka: The Workaholic
"The workaholic he works every day, 24 hours, no time to play
He won't quit; he's addicted to work, I think he's going out like a jerk"
— 2 Unlimited, "Workaholic"
Ah, the Workaholic. The Western world equivalent
of the Japanese Salaryman
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.
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.
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. The men of Workaholics
should absolutely not
be mistaken for this.
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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 Magical Girl 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 Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo 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.
- 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 is 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.
- 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.
Live Action TV
- 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 Babylon 5, Captain Sheridan is one of these. He has a dialogue with his partner which goes like this:
I see you sitting, peacefully, on a beach, with nothing to do. After five minutes, your head would simply explode.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 and when she asks Azamat if he does anything not related to his store he can't seem to recall.
- 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.
- 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.
- Applejack from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, 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.
- 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.