Computers encourage workaholics for two simple reasons. First, computers don't tire out. When an engineer is trying to solve a computer problem, that engineer's stamina is the only limiting factor. In other enterprises, where you depend upon input from other human beings, their decision to take a well deserved rest may make it impractical to continue work. Secondly, solving computer problems often requires keeping many contextual factors and historical variables in mind. If you take a break, you have to regenerate the situational information before you can continue debugging effectively. It often seems more practical to press ahead in hopes of a timely breakthrough. Sometimes it even happens and the vicious workaholic cycle continues.
Good quote and so true.
I usually work through the lunch hour, eating a sandwich with one hand and mousing with the other. Not that I am a workaholic, but the banked time is useful for time-off taken with doctors and dentists.
Mobile phones and computers are great to allows remote working or just answering open questions or organizing things while you are outside the office. This however often has a significant price you pay if business pressure in the company is high and there is more work you can handle during working hours. So you are often forced to be(or allow yourself to be) a workaholics. Often in big companies there is a complex working culture and you end up in spending 20-40% of your time just to serve the overhead. If that is the case the best is to change the company before you are burned out.
I really don't consider having 2-3 evening conference calls per month with international colleagues to be a big deal. For the most part, my company is 8-5:30 give or take 30 minutes depending on the person, plus the random conference calls with Asian or European partners. We are lab-centric and are actually forbidden from being in the labs after hours or on weekends for safety reasons.
The most surprising thing about this is that 100% of those surveyed did not to some work on weekends and/or evenings. I can't think of a private sector job where that would not be the case!
There is another thing here, it is not necessarily about being a workaholic, but about being quality of product. It has generally been pride that has driven me. Pride in the quality of what I put out, whether product, process, management, etc.