He won't quit; he's addicted to work, I think he's going out like a jerk"
Ah, 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.
This trope is, unfortunately, a Truth in Television. The Up to Eleven variant of this trope is Karōshi (過労死), which is Japanese for "death from overworking". People are known to have worked themselves to death - literally. If the "-holic" refers to enhancing one's work performance by chemical means, it is Bottled Heroic Resolve - which is also very much Truth in Television in form of methamphetamine and other stimulants. Unfortunately, these tropes often go hand in hand.
See also Salaryman, White Collar Worker, Eternal Employee, and Yuppie, 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.
See also Married to the Job.
- In 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 Shonen Jump, he would still draw manga for fun during said break.
- Cass from A Cruel God Reigns seems to be everywhere, working every job. He has a very specific reason though.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- In Sand Chronicles, Sakura is very dedicated to his work and focuses greatly on being amongst the top, which probably explains his snobby and Jerkass 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".
- Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days: Saïx spends his one day off by doing some nondescript work with the Dusks.
- The Monstrous Duke's Adopted Daughter: After being adopted into the Salvator home, Leslie is so, so eager to please Duchess Salvator and complete the tasks given to her that she studies until the crack of dawn then goes on with her day, hiding her fatigue. This causes her to have nosebleeds, something she says happened at the Speràdo house, where she was frequently made to study to a similar extent. The moment Salvators find out, the Duchess orders Leslie's room be cleared of all candles and books, the library be locked, and poor Leslie herself be forced on a vacation to rest. They relent only on letting her have letter-writing materials so she can write her uncle and Sir Konrad.
- In SSSS.DYNɅZENON, Yomogi deals with the stress of his parents being divorced and his mother courting a new potential husband by throwing himself into his after-school job to the exclusion of all other social activities. This becomes a problem when one of those other social activities becomes helping pilot a giant robot to save the city and he still wants to blow it off in favor of work. Overcoming his addiction is one of the central points of his character arc.
- 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.
- Dollicious: The very first story centers around the pasta sisters worrying that Ramen spends all her time working in the kitchen and has little time to have fun with them. Being obsessed with her work is Ramen's main character trait and flaw.
- Superheroes, and some of their associates, 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 a secret identity, Captain America is never shown these days without being on duty as Captain America.
- Cyclops of the X-Men used to be more along the lines of a boy scout, 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 actually helpful there'd be less to do for her.
- In the Carl Barks ten-pager "Fun? What's That?" Gyro and Scrooge try to take a vacation together and learn how to have "fun", but fail miserably because it turns out the only things they enjoy doing are inventing things and counting money, respectively.
- Paperinik New Adventures has Angus Fangus, a skilled but morally questionable journalist who had to be forced to take a vacation (and let his colleagues recover from dealing with him), and doesn't know what to do while at home... At least until he sees hints that Paperinik is doing something, at which point he starts chasing him for a scoop.
- Night of the Owls: Deputy Davis is reading a police file as he takes a bath.
- In The Smurfs comic book story "Bathing Smurfs", Handy becomes so overloaded with work that Papa Smurf has him take time off to recover. This leads to Handy going off into the mountains on a hiking trip to find the place that would eventually become the Smurfs' getaway resort.
- Tangled: The Series: In a case of All There in the Manual, Guardians day, a story in the issue Hair it is confirms that The Captain of the Guard, Cassandras father, is one of these because when Rapunzel wants to help Cassandra to pick up a gift for his father asking what are his hobbies, Cassandra answers: Uh, His job?, and then this dialogue:
Rapunzel: Uh, how about some formal attire?
Cassandra: Have you ever seen him out of his uniform? I think he sleeps in it.
- In Amazing Fantasy, Izuku works around the clock to learn how to be Spider-Man in time for the U.A. Entrance Exam, doing laps around the entire city and carrying literal tons of equipment during the day and studying college-level physics, chemistry, and engineering until 2:00 a.m. By the end of his ten-month training session, he's begging Peter to let him practice more until the latter points out how detrimental it would be for Izuku to exhaust himself before the big day.
- How the Light Gets In: As in canon, Laurel. Oliver describes her as "a proud workaholic". A flashback to when she was seven months pregnant depicts her as still continuously working, despite Joanna begging her to take a break and eat something. This exchange is also rather telling:
Dean: Seriously, babe. Are you overworking yourself?
Laurel: No more than usual.
Dean: (Beat) You can see how thats not at all comforting, right?
- My Dream Is Yours: Just like in canon, Olympia is a workaholic and loves every second of it. It even extends to her recurring dream, where she is completing an infinite amount of paperwork. As a result of contracting Dream-Transfer-itis, Oren gets this dream instead, and he finds it to be a pure nightmare.
Olympia: I love doing paperwork!Oren: You're sick, you know that?
- The Night Unfurls: It says a lot about Kyril when he has to literally be ordered to rest, relax, or join a party, since he's very dedicated to the war effort, hunting in general, or doing paperwork (which he hates). Ironically, he often says he is tired, yet finds it difficult to rest (not that he needs sleep, but still).
Maia: How have you been? You... look tired.
Kyril: I am tired. But, I suppose I can wait for a bit while I am at it.
Maia: [frowns] You should rest.
Kyril: I will rest when the war is over.
- In The Parselmouth of Gryffindor, Filch perpetually works himself half to death in his self-given mission of cleaning the whole Castle every day, which he does to prove to himself that he's just as good as wizards and elves, powers or not.
- Persona 5 Adult Confidant AU:
- Sadayo Kawakami is a Minor Living Alone, and as a result needs to pay her own living expenses, forcing her to get a job at a kitty café to make money. This, combined with her role as her homeroom's class rep and status as a member of the Phantom Thieves, means that she's constantly working.
- Makoto Niijima is the chief police commissioner of Tokyo who has to support both herself and her little sister Sae, and when combined with the ongoing Phantom Thief situation, she very rarely has time for a break. She admits to Futaba that because of how tiresome her job is, having a cup of coffee at Leblanc is something she's come to look forward to.
- In Danny Phantom fanfic Resurrected Memories: Ember's father was revealed to have been a huge workaholic, being more focused on advancing his career than spending time with his family.
- Harry leans heavily into this in The Rigel Black Chronicles, partly because she's naturally driven, and partly because her situation pushes her to it: she can't afford to risk her cover by socialising more and giving more people clues that she isn't really Arcturus Rigel Black, she needs to learn various skills like Healing in order to convincingly pretend that she's been studying in America all year, and if she's going to risk her life to be at Hogwarts then she's not going to waste the opportunity. Getting access to a Time Turner actually makes her more relaxed, because, with sufficient planning, she genuinely has time to get everything done; Professor Snape suspects she's been overusing the Time Turner but is inclined to agree that it's better to let her keep up with everything than try to stop her.
If anything, Rigel imagined everyone who didn't have her workload must be terribly bored all day. She had plenty of time for her homework, Flint's homework, extra brewing, studying Healing, Occlumency, and now French, her new exercise regimen, and hanging out with her friends.
- In To Hell and Back (Arrowverse), Eddie Thawne becomes one as his obsession with The Flash grows. It becomes so bad that he and Iris even briefly break up over it.
- 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.
- Carry On Constable: The highly regimented Gloria Passworthy, who leaves Constable Potter in no doubt about this when he tries to chat her up.
WPC Passworthy: I am here to work. This is my first assignment since training school, and I intend to work, and work, and work. I hope that's clear. Now, I suggest that you get on with whatever you're supposed to be doing.
- 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!
- 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 unsuccessful, sees dinosaurs as attractions instead of living beings, and has her assistant Zara take care of her nephews instead of doing it herself (she doesn't even remember how old they are), which saddens her sister Karen. Then, the intelligent dinosaur mutant Indominus rex escapes out of containment and chaos ensues on 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?
- In Mary Poppins, George Banks starts out this way and has to learn to make time for family.
- Murder at 1600: General Tully is introduced sleeping on a couch in the White House, having not had time to go home between briefings.
- Peter, Samir, and Michael, the three main characters in Office Space.
- 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 all goes to prove, a little hard work never killed anybody!" (Keels over dead)
- Cradle Series: Lindon started his journey in the sacred arts some ten years late, and thus has to hit the training hard in order to catch up—and harder still to get strong enough to stop a coming catastrophe. The thing is, he never stops. Ever. Fisher Gesha lambastes Eithan for the fact that they're in the cultural heart of the Empire but Lindon hasn't seen any of it because he's been training non-stop for a full year, when told to take a break he decides to join an elite police force instead, and he ends up reaching Underlord (an advancement level many people never reach) in his early twenties, and becomes the youngest Sage in recorded history. Not counting the times he is knocked unconscious, the only times he takes a break is when his friends actively threaten him.
Mercy: I've never seen you voluntarily take a break. Even in the Skysworn, you were cycling or practicing until you collapsed. Do you not have any hobbies?
Lindon: I used to work in a library.
- 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.
- Discworld has 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.
- Harry Potter:
- 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?
- Professor Binns continued going to teach the class day after day even after he died.
- In her former life, Azusa Aizawa, the protagonist of I've Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years and Maxed Out My Level, was completely devoted to her job, never had time for any sort of life outside of it, and eventually died of karōshi. After reincarnation, she actually takes this trope as her Trauma Button, and makes life decisions to defy this.
- Tammy from MARiiMO works fourteen-hour days in her prototype robotics lab. Once she promises herself a week-long vacation, but she can only take two days of idleness before she goes back to work.
- 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!
- Sherlock Holmes is obsessed with detective work to the point that he becomes depressed and resorts to drug abuse when there isn't any interesting case on hand. When he does have a case to pursue, he often goes for days without sleep and has at least twice overworked himself to the point of a nervous breakdown. Even when he's on an (enforced) vacation, he can't resist poking his nose into any little mysteries that occur in the vicinity.
- Aya of the Tantei Team KZ Jiken Note franchise is a kid edition. While other kids of her age would complain about going to Cram School, especially when it takes away about 3.5 hours of free time several days a week, she doesn't complain about it at all. Either she goes there voluntarily, or at a minimum, she's very understanding of why her parents send her there.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. On the other hand, he also isn't particularly good at it. He loses control of Queen Consolidated because he's too busy focused on being the Arrow to be a CEO (and he wasn't a very good one anyway) and isn't shown to be an effective mayor. Which he also loses.
- 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.
- 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.
- In Bones, the whole main cast; the things they've worked through include but are not limited to: Hodgins and Angela's imprisonment/wedding, the birth of Hodgins and Angela's baby, Booth and Brennan's wedding and Booth and Brennan's honeymoon.
- Beckett of Castle is this. She even volunteers to cancel a date so that she can help with a case.
- Hotch of Criminal Minds. The others too, but to a lesser degree. Hotch's marriage actually broke down because of this.* 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.
- 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.
- 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), its 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.
- Deconstructed in Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, where Minako's dedication to her mission as Sailor Venus in addition to her engagements as an Idol Singer mean she's driving herself crazy and refuses to get a surgery for her terminal illness because there's the chance it will kill her, and by the time she's convinced to take it her body is weakened enough she dies anyway. Worse, it's hinted that the illness was another result of this-she was literally working herself to death.
- Formerly wealthy video store mogul Johnny Rose on Schitt's Creek used to work all the time and leave his wife Moira with only the jet and the DVDs to console her. When his new venture, the Rosebud Motel begins to thrive, Moira worries he will neglect her again, but he finds time for her. When Moira leaves town to shoot a movie, however, Johnny throws himself into his work to the point of doing his employees' jobs because he misses his wife so much.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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."
- 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.
- 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."
- The Twilight Zone (1985):
- In "Her Pilgrim Soul", Dr. Kevin Drayton has been working obsessively to perfect his holographic projector for three years to the detriment of his marriage to Carol. She wants to start a family but their marriage is in the process of failing as she and Kevin barely even see each other anymore. Kevin later learns from Nola Granville that he is the Reincarnation of her husband Robert Goldstone and that he inherited Robert's fear of loving someone after Nola died in childbirth. This fear led him to act coldly towards Carol.
- In "The Crossing", Father Mark Cassidy has been working tirelessly in order to secure funding for the new children's wing of the hospital for two years. Both his housekeeper Maggie Dugan and Monsignor Perrault are concerned that he is going to make himself sick if he doesn't take a break. The latter comments that Father Mark has not taken a vacation in the 20 years that they have known each other. When the children's wing is opened, the bishop orders Father Mark to take some time off. The reason that he works so hard is that he feels the need to atone for the death of his girlfriend Kelly in the car that he was driving more than 20 years earlier.
- From the same creator, Amy Brookheimer and Dan Eagan from Veep. Both have little to no social life and are utterly dedicated to their careers.
- 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.
- 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.
- "Stress" by Jim Infantino is a comic look at how being a workaholic is slowly destroying the song's protagonist, who is becoming entirely neurotic.
- The Proclaimers' "Follow the Money"
"I need to toil, 'cause it's good for my soul
I feel clean when I'm working"
- "Come Alive" by Chromeo and Toro y Moi is a nu-disco ballad dedicated to a beautiful workaholic woman and her tendencies, and the singer trying to get her out of her backbreaking lifestyle by spending some time with her.
- Kakos Industries:
- Though he is the C.E.O. of a large corporation and must work to keep it afloat, Corin Deeth III shows signs of not having much else to do but pertain to work-related situations. Anytime he is at a social event not related to the company, he has a tendency to only be concerned about getting back to work. It gets so bad that the executive board assigns Corin a best friend, Brosephus, to give him an outlet.
- Violet Trudge is the single hardest working employee in all of Kakos Industries. While this title is self-proclaimed, it's proven true when she's introduced in episode 102. Corin calls multiple divisions while chasing down some clues and Violet is at each and every one, covering for everyone else who's at the annual Halloween party. She's still just as hard at work in episode 104, despite everyone in the building, including her, becoming sick. In fact, she calls Corin to complain about everyone else slacking. Turns out this is a problem because Violet is "Patient Zero" and her working literally everywhere is why everyone elseis sick. Upon being forced to accept this and, subsequenty, being forced to rest her illness off, she demands sixteen books of crossword puzzles, seven books of sudoku, eight seasons of a trashy television show, and one hundred pounds of yarn or, she swears, she's going to lose her shit. The episode ends with Corin reporting that Violet was automatically clocked out upon entering the infirmary and, because it's been years since she did that last, the thousands of overtime hours she's racked up crashed the accounting systems.
Violet: (coughing) No. I dont take sick days. I dont take vacations. I dont take mental health days. I dont even take holidays. I work. I always work
- 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 admitted that's why he didn't want to marry former 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 all joined the company 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 slacks off 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 mean you're part of a very large organization, and you're expected to do tons of desk jobs. 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 belongs 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 an action movie for them.
- In Hamilton, Hamilton becomes this after he learns about John Laurens' death. "I have so much work to do."
- Criminal Case: Chief of Police Gauthier Delacroix from the eighth season doesn't seem to have much of an interest outside of his duties, and Carrie mentions that his desire for a birthday present is a new filing cabinet. His father complains that he needs a life outside of work.
- Cullen in Dragon Age: Inquisition is this - somewhat justifiably, as he is the leader of the Inquisition's entire military arm. As Varric puts it, if any man in history ever needed a hobby, it's "Curly."
- Kalderasha the fortune-teller in Dragon Quest VIII. When the party first meets him, he's sworn off his career out of guilt concerning someone who he saw a vision for. After the party collects his crystal ball and a little pep-talk from his adoptive daughter, he gets back into it.
Kalderasha: I lived for the vision.
- Noelle from Genshin Impact takes being a maid very seriously, and is pretty much single-mindedly devoted to doing as much for the Knights of Favonius as humanly possible. However, it sometimes verges on "inhuman"; she once fell sick after rescuing an adventurer from Dragonspine mountain and this makes Jean and Kaeya try to not make her do overly heavy tasks. During the Stormterror threat, Noelle was determined to resolve the issue herself, at its source. Luckily, Kaeya was able to arrange some "urgent matters" to keep her busy until Stormterror could be subdued.
- 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.
- From The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel is Irina Reinford, the mother of Alisa and CEO of the Reinford Group, the largest supplier of orbal technology in the continent of Zemuria. When the members of Class VII first meet her during the field study in Roer, she is busy talking with someone on the phone and typing on a computer at the same time, while also holding a stack of files. She arranged time in her schedule to eat dinner with the class on their first night in Roer but canceled because work business came up. From what Alisa says about her, she skips meals a lot and eats nutrition bars rather than full meals because it's quicker. Alisa also claims that the death of her father affected her mother greatly, turning her from a caring mother to the work-obsessed executive she is in the present.
- 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.
- Mass Effect: Andromeda:
- Cora Harper. At one point it's possible to find an e-mail from the Tempest doctor telling her to relax by reading an actual book, not just asari training manuals. Not that Dr. T'Perro is herself in much position to talk.
- Paraan Shie, governor of Aya. If Ryder tries flirting with her by asking what she does for fun, she explains she finds productivity the best form of relaxation. And thus ends the flirting.
- Steve Cortez in Mass Effect 3 does this to distract himself from his grief over his lost husband. Shepard can encourage him to take some time off once in a while. Doing so will save his life in the final mission.
- 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 him from his daughter, whom he has to save from a giant rat.
- Overwatch's D.Va as shown in the Shooting Star animated short. She's constantly working on her mecha despite the pleas of her friend and assistant to take a break. Even after she ends up in two casts and the news reports that she's "taking some time off" the camera cuts to show her right back to the same work she was doing at the start of the short.
- Arthur from Rune Factory 4 is almost always working, even during festivals, and often Forgets to Eat.
- 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.
- The Sims 3 has this as a trait.
- 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?!"
- 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.
- 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.)
- Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony:
- The Ultimate Maid Kirumi Tojo cleans her classmates' dorm rooms, cooks them daily meals, and offers to do their laundry simply because she feels unfulfilled if she doesn't do her duties as a maid. In the Love Across the Universe bonus mode, she feels uncomfortable watching other people clean.
- Implied with the Ultimate Inventor Miu Iruma — her report card says she dislikes "taking it easy", and she gets angry at anyone who wastes her time in any way, stating that the entire world depends on her genius.
- Moe Mortelli from Daughter for Dessert has shades of this, randomly launching into work-related talk and actions while at the diner.
- Grisaia Series:
- In The Fruit of Grisaia Sachi will do whatever you ask of her, to the point where she would leave school to take a trip to Hokkaido in search of the "freshest" milk. Later in the series she still does chores as a matter of habit, or because she is just bored.
- Yuuji's superior JB is this, she doesn't really realise it until Eden. When she gets fired, and then she has to face that up until now she lived for nothing but her job, and now that she has a lot of free time she can't really do anything with herself.
- Ava Crescentia from Sunrider, so much so that she brought paperwork with her during a trip to the beach back in high school, and in the present, she is constantly hounding Captain Kayto Shields to get after his own paperwork. Justified in that she is the first officer of a military starship, and flashbacks show that her father was a strict military man who pushed her to work hard at all times. Also Played for Laughs: when prevented from working due to the crew being on shore leave, Ava actually has a minor mental breakdown and starts composing an Apocalyptic Log about how theyve been marooned for months on an uncharted planet. Its not until Kayto orders her to relax and take advantage of the shore leave that she finally mellows out.
- 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.◊
- In Punderworld, Zeus implies that Hades barely ever leaves the Underworld, and when he does it is purely for work reasons. Zeus has to invoke the Rules of Xenia to make him stop and jumps at the chance to talk about girls because Hades never does so.
- 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.
- Azamat, in Slimy Thief, loves being a merchant. Camilia, who has a crush on him, states that he'd only be interested 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.
- 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 that she didn't bother him while he was working.
- Mrs. Zales from The Most Popular Girls in School.
- Kayaba Akihiko from Sword Art Online Abridged. The whole fiasco of Aincrad was due to Kayaba rushing to meet the deadline of the release, which he spent almost 3 weeks sleep-deprived. Accidentally, he managed to create a bug where the players died in real when they were killed in-game. He was so far gone by then that he couldn't find any other solution than to keep the players as hostages, because of course the country was run by Flubar, the King of the Mole Men.
- 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.
- The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!, most of the team are hardly ever shown not working. They do occasionally 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 - when he's not fighting evil, he's developing technology or working on a cure for villainy. Steve is one by default since he has no social life outside the Avengers due to being a time-travelling Fish out of Water.
- 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.
- On Daria, the title character's mom, Helen. About half of the scenes with her at home will involve her taking a phone call from her boss or announcing that she's off to a work function. It's Played for Laughs early on, but like much in the show, is explored more seriously later as she struggles with her competing need to be a good mother.
- Family Guy has Peter's serious-piece-of-work father, Francis, who — among other things — was obsessed with working to a point that he willingly neglected his son for it. After being forced into retirement out of old age, he ditched Peter during a celebratory ball game just to break into the factory after hours to keep working. He is shown to be extremely competent at his job, but this only further spurns him into alienating everyone around him due to his relentless shaming of their inability to keep up with him.
- The main delivery crew from Futurama 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.
- Helga Pataki's father Big Bob from Hey Arnold!.
- Hank Hill in King of the Hill loves his job at Stickland Propane. He refuses 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 forces him. He so does for insurance reasons, but has been seen vacationing at work.
- In Legends of Chima, the Beaver Tribe loves working to the point that they consider taking vacations punishment.
- 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 is so obsessed with her "friendship reports" that she drives herself crazy in one episode after being unable to find a problem she can solve to complete her report, and had no problem reading 12 books in a single weekend.
- Rarity, being a Fashion Designer whose clientele are often celebrities and the elite, and managing three boutiques in later seasons, has her moments as well.
- Bob Oblong from The Oblongs. And he has some aspects of the Salaryman and Married to the Job as well.
- ReBoot: 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.
- Charlotte Pickles from Rugrats is always on the phone talking to someone from work, usually Johnathan.
- The Simpsons.
- Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, the Kwik-E-Mart clerk. He hates taking days off and works through 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.
- Waylon Smithers is like this too, hating to take a vacation and pleading not to when Mr. Burns insists he do so, even though his work has sent him to the brink of a nervous breakdown. While his "fondness" for his boss may have a lot to do with it, he's still a stickler for his schedule even in episodes where Burns isn't running the plant.
- In The Smurfs episode "All Work And No Smurf", the adult Smurfs spend the day they were supposed to spend with the Smurflings working instead of having fun with them that they develop a case of "workatosis", where their tails disappear and they become the living embodiment of their occupations: Farmer turns into a hoe, Greedy becomes an egg beater, Handy becomes a hammer, Greedy becomes an egg beater, Miner becomes a pickaxe, Painter becomes a paintbrush, Smurfette becomes a watering can, and Tailor becomes a pair of scissors.
- 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).
- He's so dedicated to his job that he'll willingly sacrifice his health for it. In "The Splinter," he refuses to stop working even after being horrifically injured. And in "Suds," he insists on dragging himself to work despite being so sick that he can barely stand up.
- This also shows up in The Movie. In the end, Spongebob finally gets the manager's role he wanted so much, and it's plain to see from the credits that the job is terrible, but because Spongebob loves work, he's as happy as a clam.