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Workitis: A Modern Day Disorder

  29th November, 2015

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By Samer K. Taher

Managing Director - Meirc Training & Consulting

Fifteen years ago, a few days after I had joined my current firm, a senior partner invited me to his office for what he called "a real induction session". Among the various lessons he taught me was one on something he referred to as Meircitis, which for you dear reader is what we will call "Workitis".

Naturally, I listened with faked interest and left his office an hour later having dismissed most of what he said as the ramblings of an old man at the peak of his midlife crisis.

Today, I owe this man an apology.

Workitis is the name of all maladies workaholics suffer from the day they stop working or the day their work schedules slow down or come to a grinding halt. What separates Workitis from other conditions and what makes it unique is its ability to vanish the day these workaholics go back to work.

I get the small version of it almost every weekend and the mother of all versions when I go on vacation after a grinding 6 months busy schedule. On the weekend version, my throat starts to itch and my nose starts to run at 1 pm Thursday afternoon. Thursday night, my temperature rises and my limbs collapse. Friday morning, I am so ill if I breathe on a horse it will instantly die. Workitis continues to wreak havoc on my body until Sunday morning when it completely disappears the moment I pick up the phone to call in sick. Suddenly the nose stops running, the cough disappears and the energy starts to seep through my veins into my muscles. By the time I reach work I feel as strong as an ox.

On the vacation version, Workitis starts before I board the plane on my way to Glasgow to see my kids who study there. On the evening before the flight, a nasty cough begins to pepper my breathing and a blocked nose makes me sound like a sick Darth Vader. Before boarding the plane, I feel like a walking pharmacy and on the plane everyone looks at me like I am patient zero.

Needless to say, within 3 days all my vacation plans and fun to-do-lists are down the drain along with the 24 boxes of tissues I went through. By that time, my kids have 'once again' given up on their dad and his empty promises.

Unsurprisingly, Workitis continues to be in charge of my body and mind until the plane lands back in Dubai. The moment the captain announces that we're landing amidst a dust storm, the cough disappears and the positive energy kicks back in. Miraculously, Workitis completely disappears as I approach home. On the evening before I resume work I am so healthy if I breathe on a horse it will win the Kentucky derby.

"Dear senior partner,

I am profoundly sorry for not having taken you seriously. I now know I am not the wise person I thought I am."