Will you break your chains?

17th August 2007 at 01:00
Can you give work the elbow in the holidays? Or do whiteboards, unmarked homework and pages from the national curriculum follow you around? Take Susan Young's quiz to find out. Illustration by David Hitch

Do you enjoy or endure the long summer holidays? Are you desperate for term to start again (only a few days now for some of you) or making the most of every moment's freedom? If all this lovely leisure is making you uncomfortable, have you considered that you might be... a workaholic? Get that red pen out of hibernation and fill in our quiz to discover the awful truth.

1. So you've decided to waste a few minutes of your life on this quiz. Have you put aside:

a. A rather fat paperback of no literary worth

b. Something Germaine Greer recommended as a summer read

c. Your new departmental planning document

2. In the first weeks of the holidays, you thought about work:

a. All the time

b. Some of the time

c. None of the time

3. You pass school. Do you wonder:

a. If you can just get in and pick up some paperwork

b. How the renovation work is going

c. Whether any of the local arsonists are planning a visit

4. On the first day of the holidays, your nearest and dearest remarked:

a. Who the hell are you?

b. You're starting to look human again

c. I've made you a list of jobs, you layabout

5. You brought home:

a. Light September paperwork, like the register

b. The presents nice choccies, bottle of wine

c. Two boxes of stuff to sort through

6. And then you...

a. Ate the chocs

b. Dumped the whole pile in a corner. You will do it, honest

c. Worked through it. And more

7. You've been in front of the telly, watching:

a. Decent stuff you taped but never got round to watching

b. Complete rubbish

c. Teachers' TV

8. You do go into school. Why?

a. Results day you really had to

b. Paperwork, management issues, policies to tweak... doesn't everybody?

c. Your belongings were dumped in a new classroom on the last day of term

9. Bed is a place to...

a. Sleep, and sleep and sleep

b. Sleep and read and....

c. Catch up on a bit of planning

10. If someone asks you to stop working and do something else, your reaction is:

a. Irritation. Can't they see you're busy?

b. You finish your sentencepage

c. Any excuse to stop

Unchained, or still a prisoner?

* Up to 20? Boy, you're in deep chilled summer mode, so laid back you're horizontal. At least we hope you are. Try taking this quiz again at half term, and if you score the same you're either doing really well or about to be fired. But, if you're managing other people, why is life so agreeable? Have you just delegated everything? In which case, watch out for the revolt...

* 20 to 70? You seem to have got the work-life balance fairly sussed, doing what you need to do without going madly over the top. Review the situation next term if you're still managing this well, you're not only on top of the job but really enjoying it. And that's good for you, the school, and the kids.

* More than 70? You might already know the answer: those around you certainly do. Yes, it looks like you're a workaholic. If that's a short-term thing perhaps you're acting up, or working towards a promotion fine. But if this is a longer-term state of affairs, time for a rethink. Burning out is a bad option for you, your relationships and your school.


1: a)1, b)5, c)10

2: a)10, b)5, c)1

3: a)10, b)5, c)1

4: a)10, b)5, c)1

5: a)5, b)1, c)10

6: a)1, b)5, c)10

7: a)5, b)1, c)10

8: a)1, b)10, c)5

9: a)5, b)1, c)10

10: a)10, b)5, c)1

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today