TaxPlanIQ CEO Jackie Meyer wants you to know there is nothing sexy about being a workaholic. She was one for years, suffered from massive burnout, and found her life’s mission of teaching others the right way to work and inspiring them to find a healthy balance that lets them revel in all that they work so hard for.
“A sober reality here is while Americans make workaholism look sexy, it’s anything but. It’s depression, loneliness, divorce, a bulged disk, arthritis, cancer, and heart attacks. Accountants die at their desks all the time. It’s so sad thinking of someone dying while filling out a balance sheet instead of in the arms of those they love,” Meyer mused.
In 1968, US psychologist Wayne Oates coined a new word, ‘workaholic,’ to describe those who worked more than 50 hours a week. “That’s chump change today! Upper-level executives can easily work double that. But you can break the cycle and see transformative results,” she said.
Meyer considers herself a recovering workaholic but still keeps her work diverse and her diary full. Known in the tax business as the Concierge CPA, CEO of TaxPlanIQ, Certified Concierge Accountant business coach, motivational speaker, and financial social media influencer, she knows whereof she speaks.
Into the Depths of Burnout
Early in her career as an up-and-coming CPA, Meyer worked at one of the most prestigious accounting firms in the country under toxic bosses that encouraged overworking. She recalled, “the hell hole of leaving the office at 2am and getting back at 7am during non-peak season.”
When she started her own business, it was more of the same. Despite her best intentions, she worked even more once she branched out and opened her firm. She was working 24/7, micromanaging everything, and never delegating work or trusting others to get things done correctly.
It wasn’t until she admitted what wasn’t working and decided to treat herself with the same love and kindness she extended to her staff that her recovery began.
Attempts at Avoidance
Meyer sees a lot of workaholics in her daily life and observes the vicious cycles they are caught in. She believes one of the things that draws professionals to overworking is that it’s a way to avoid their other problems, from relationship issues to family clashes and mental health struggles. After all, if you are always working — or thinking about work — you don’t have time to consider other trials in your life.
“Working lets people avoid facing personal inequities and anxieties. I loved it, and I’d still be a workaholic if I could. But my body, mind, and the good lord had a different plan in mind,” she laughed.
A Newborn Wake-up Call
After Meyer had her first child, her body told her to slow down. Having a newborn forced her to pay attention to something other than never-ending looming deadlines. She could no longer work nights and weekends when she had to feed, care for, and entertain another human. Then, during tax season in 2014, her brain and body revolted, and she could no longer work at all. Her baby was three months old.
“Brain fog took over, and I was barely functioning as a human being. I felt I had lost more than half of my brain power. And it never came back,” she said. No doctor was able to help her. They cited hormonal issues, adrenal fatigue, psychological issues, postpartum depression, a gluten allergy, and even a brain tumor. Each diagnosis was wrong and left her feeling even more hopeless than before.
Embracing the Unknown
Meyer was forced to slow down, care for herself, and quit her workaholic ways. She slept 10 hours a night. Eventually, she was able to return to work. But she has to check in with herself regularly and ensure she’s not taking on too much.
She also noted how easy it is to slide back into bad habits and relapse as a workaholic since most of us need to work to survive. She works more efficiently today, delegates 90% of her load, and takes time to do what brings her joy. She works less than 30 hours per week.
We are all guilty of trying to do it all or taking on too much and treating ourselves poorly, but Meyer’s story is an inspiring tale of bouncing back and getting it right.
About Jackie Meyer
Jackie Meyer, the Concierge CPA, CEO, and Founder of TaxPlanIQ, has Certified Concierge Accountant programs through Meyer Tax Consulting that help taxpayers and entrepreneurs find the best solutions for them. Visit https://jackiemeyercpa.com/ for more information.