9 Signs People See You As a Workplace Martyr

Woman Stressed at Work


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AnnaMarie Houlis4.87k
Journalist & travel blogger
May 18, 2024 at 8:11PM UTC
We get it — life can be crazy at times, and work can feel overbearing. We've all been there: You're stuck at the office until late into the evening, answering calls on your vacation or skipping family events because you have an important project you need to get done, etc.
But then there are some people who stay late every day, never unplug on vacations and have no sense of a work-life balance. Those people tend to be workplace martyrs. Being a workplace martyr means that you feel a sense of shame for taking time off or for prioritizing other obligations over your job. A workplace martyr is someone who puts their job first, always, and wants everyone to know it to prove just how painfully hardworking they are.
Being a work martyr isn't a good thing, however. It often leads to burn out, and it can put tension on other areas of your life — like your social life, including your friendships and relationships.
Here are nine signs that you're a workplace martyr — and that it's time to take a long hard look in the mirror to reevaluate how you do things.

1. You immediately reply to emails, no matter the time of day or urgency.

No matter the time of day (or night) or the nature of the email, you answer. You want your boss and/or colleagues to know that you're working around the clock, always making yourself available to respond to emails at odd hours.

2. You always eat lunch at your desk.

You never take the hour you're given to have lunch to actually leave the office and sit down at a cafe or restaurant. Rather, you always pack a lunch that you can quickly heat up in the office kitchen and eat at your desk while you keep on keepin' on with your work. 

3. You never use your earned paid time off.

Despite the fact that you're given paid time off each year, you don't use it. You're too afraid of the pile-up of work to which you'd return and that, if you take vacation, your boss might think you're lazy. You'd rather come across as a workaholic — in fact, you're quite proud of that title.

4. If you do take time off, you seldom unplug.

If you do take a much-needed vacation, you're still online checking emails and taking calls. After all, you would never want your coworkers or managers to think that you're unreliable, even during your scheduled time off.

5. You never delegate tasks.

You do the bulk of your work by yourself because you can't trust anyone else to do it well enough or on par with your standards. So, rather than ask for help, you drown yourself in work. And you have no chill about telling everyone how much you have to do while rejecting all of their offers to lend a hand.

6. You silently judge others for leaving work early or taking off.

When others leave work early or take the day off for important reasons like family obligations, for example, you still silently judge them at your desk. You'd never put life over work. A work-life balance is not a term in your vocabulary.

7. You constantly complain about your long hours.

You work around the clock, all hours of the day. You're the first one at the office and the last one to leave — and everyone knows it not because you're not shy about telling anyone willing to listen.

8. You go to work even when you're sick.

Despite coming down with an illness like the flu, for example, you come to work anyway. You have too much to get done to let some silly sickness get in the way of your work — even if that means risking the health of everyone else around you.

9. You prioritize your job above all else.

Your job comes first, no matter what. And you want everyone to know it. That's why you can never attend happy hours, lunches, office parties or anything else even with your teammates because, while they're having fun and getting to know each other more, you're working, of course.

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AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreport and Facebook.

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