One benefit to having an “office” career that largely consisted of doing cool and unexpected things or meeting interesting people at any given moment – then writing about them – was that since I finished school I’ve only infrequently experienced the typical “Monday dread.”
You know – that Sunday evening feeling where it’s impossible to enjoy anything later than 4 p.m. because you’re already feeling the crushing weight of week’s first work day bearing down on you like a ravenous warthog. It’s like the tick-tick-tick of the 60 Minutes stopwatch is there to remind you of just how little of the weekend you have left.
What has also helped me is that once I made the move to newspaper copy desks, I frequently worked odd schedules – often Sunday through Thursday evenings. I have to say, of all the shifts I’ve worked, that was the best. Starting the work week on Sunday afternoon eliminates the Monday Dread, and there is perhaps nothing better on this earth in the realm of work than walking into the office on a Thursday and knowing that when you walk out at the end of your shift that night, you don’t have to return for another two days.
That said, I know the rest of you are mostly stuck doing the Monday-to-Friday, 9-to-5 grind, or some slight variation thereof. My challenge to you, then, is to try to embrace Monday as not the bringer of dread but the bearer of unlimited opportunity. There’s so much more you can get done, so much you can create and so many people you can positively influence that you probably even imagine.
Look at it not as descending into the coal mines, but as leaping into the void or voyaging into uncharted territory. What so often holds us back is that nasty word “can’t,” whether uttered by a boss, a spouse, a parent or our aggravating inner voice. I’ve made it a point to avoid that word whenever possible. Granted, there have been lots of “won’t” moments, but very few where I’ve let either other people’s opinions or my own insecurities tell me what I can’t do.
Monday is a perfect time to remind yourself of all the things you CAN do, so you can then commence to doing them. Even if it’s something as seemingly banal as filling out TPS reports or finessing an actuarial table, it’s the thing that you can kick ass at in that particular moment. Then take the things that seem scary – writing your book, breaking off from your job to become an entrepreneur, asking that person from accounting (who you assume to be WAY out of your league) out for drinks – and start working on it.
You don’t need to throw up a pile of papers and say, “Screw this!” or create some YouTube-worthy please-go-out-with-me moment. You can make it quiet and stealthy. Secretly plan your exit from your job. Work on your book outline at lunch. Flirt with the object of your desire and then go back to your cube, leaving them feeling good and admired and wondering what you might have up your sleeve.
Yes, I understand that many of the days will be the same and it will sometimes feel like you’re experiencing your own version of Groundhog Day, but remember that there are moments where the rewards, the surprises and the challenges of a “regular” workweek emerge to remind you that life isn’t just birth, school, work and death. It’s those tiny little moments of joy that make us feel like we’ve done something truly incredible.