Why Mondays are universally hated at work

Bob Weinstein,

For decades, Monday has been considered the worst day of the week. But is it really? Brace yourself  for the startling truth.

Yes it is. Putting aside the feel-good psychobabble from the affirmation peddlers, there are three good reasons for hating Monday:

1.  Hate job. Many North Americans hate their job. Fewer than half say they are satisfied, according to a survey conducted by market information company The Conference Board. The trend is strongest among workers under the age of 25, with less than 39 per cent reporting that they are satisfied with their job. Workers age 45 to 54 have the second lowest levels of satisfaction. (However, The Conference Board survey also found that nearly half of all workers over 55 say they are satisfied with their job.)

2.  Vacation ends. If just back from an incredible vacation, free of schedules, deadlines, projects, pressure and getting up early, that first day back at work – Monday – can be a depressing shock.

3. Weekend is over. The most common reason for hating Monday is that it follows two days of freedom and fun. For most, however, that’s sheer fantasy. Whether single or have family responsibilities, the weekend is chore time – cleaning, shopping, fixing and buying.

So weekends are not all they’re cracked up to be. Still, there are plenty of moments where you can hang back to do whatever you want, which makes Monday a shock that’s difficult to deal with.

Rest of week nothing to rave about either
While Mondays get the brunt of the scorn, the next three days are far from utopian. Here’s why:

Tuesday. It’s commonly called “Terrible Tuesday.” It’s considered better than Monday, but there’s still four more days of torturous work to endure.

Wednesday can be likened to crossing a moat. If you’re a positive person, you’ve programmed yourself to think: “Things are getting better. After today, I’m in the home stretch. Just two days left.” If you’re a negative type, however, the thinking goes, “It’s only Wednesday; three days more of the grind.”

Thursdays. Things aren’t perfect, but they’re looking up, because tomorrow is Friday, the last day of the week. So maybe it’s worth putting in a decent day’s work.

Friday. It’s still considered “casual Friday,” which means no suits, ties or formal business attire. But when many companies realized that productivity had fallen sharply on Friday, they changed the dress code and made it a little less casual. Still, whatever the dress code, Friday is still considered the best day of the week. Hence the acronym TGIF – Thank God it’s Friday.

Fast-trackers love Mondays
While the working stiffs of the world loathe Monday, the movers-and-shakers, the high-performance, nothing-is-impossible-super achievers have a different take on Monday.

Ashley Blair, a psychotherapist of Counseling Services in Bryn Mawr, Pa., says we’re making too much of Monday as the worst day of the week. And the same goes for the rest of the week as well. Blair contends that the Monday anxiety may be due to the bad reputation the day has gotten. While most people have been conditioned to think that Monday is the worst day of the week, there are thousands of people who look forward to it because they love their job. That undeniable fact blows the stereotype to smithereens.

What about all the obsessive workaholics whose lives revolve around their jobs? A weekend, holiday or vacation means a break in the work routine, a shifting of rhythms, which is very uncomfortable for them to deal with. Work, on the other hand, provides continuous stimulation, structure, limits and challenges; and if you’re a power-hungry executive, project manager or team leader with authority over others, the constant propellant is a clear sense of purpose. Put all these factors together and work translates to a haven, a sanctuary, a place where things are accomplished and recognition are achieved.

Four tips for kicking the Monday blues
Even if you love your job, Monday may still be a tough day to grapple with, simply because it means you have to shift from relaxation mode to work mode. Career coach Jeff Garton offers three tips for changing the way you feel about Monday.

Tip 1: Pay attention to thoughts and feelings. It’s impossible to catch all the thousands of thoughts that pass through your mind each day, so focus on the first ones that pop into your head. They usually predict the worst and incorporate a “can’t do” or “shouldn’t do” message. See them for what they are: unfounded and irrational. Typically, they’re the result of negative conditioning and have little or nothing to do with reality. Think carefully about these negative thoughts. Once you realize that they’re not based on anything real, they’ll disappear in time.

Tip 2: Obliterate negative feelings. If negative feelings surface, such as This won’t work; they won’t like me; this is a waste of time; this will make me look stupid; I hate doing this; or I’m going to screw this up - challenge the thought by coming up with an alternative positive feeling. For example, This is going to work; I can do this; it’s worked before, so it will work again; or This can’t stop me. Thus, you are controlling your thoughts instead of letting them control you.

Tip 3: Relish positive emotion. Take the new emotion you’ve created with the new thought (joy, excitement, enthusiasm, confidence, etc.) and savor the pleasant feeling.

If you actually believe everything you’ve just read, you’re well on your way to changing the way you think.

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About the Author

Bob Weinstein is a writer, reporter, editor and author. He can be reached via email at robertvweinstein@gmail.com.