A Case of the Mondays
Posted on October 14, 2013 by TNS Consulting Team (via Scott Spayd)
How often do you feel as though you are not only disengaged with work, but just barely surviving the week? Many employees feel as though they have a “case of the Mondays” almost every day of the week. They wake up begrudgingly and extremely tired, do what they have to in order to look presentable at the office (usually the bare minimum effort required), drive in to work, sit down at their desks, and day dream until they are permitted to go home to their real life where they watch t.v. until it’s time to go to bed and start over again. Obviously, there are many problems with this, beyond the negative impact on job performance.
If this scenario sounds like you, what do you think your main obstacle is to finding engagement and/or happiness at work? Many people default to obvious responses such as, “My job is boring” ,”I’d rather be doing something else with my time”. While these are sometimes legitimate reasons for feeling disengaged at work, among potentially many other more specific reasons, sometimes one’s work life can be drastically improved with a few underestimated adjustments.
1. Your commute is too long.
This one has always been a big factor in my work life. Previous research has shown that the length of commute impacts employees’ well-being more so than a higher salary (depending on the salary of course!) (Stutzer & Frey, 2004). For example, shortening your commute to 15 minutes instead of 45 could be more valuable to you than a $10,000 per year increase. I can look back and think about the positions I’ve held and it seems that the jobs I’ve disliked most are also the ones with the longest commute. For my most recent position, I opted to move from a 45 minute commute to a 5 minute commute because the drive is not only long, but stressful with a great deal of city traffic. It’s easy to imagine that beginning and ending every day in a stressed state could not possibly help one’s well-being and job satisfaction.
2. You think of your job as a means to an end.
Many people work just for a paycheck in order to have enough money to do the things in life that they enjoy. However, it is becoming more the case that employees equate their job with their identity. Where do you fall on this spectrum? Those who see their job as a necessary evil to be able to do what they want to do in the small amount of time off that they get are clearly not going to be nearly as engaged as those who view their job as a meaningful part of their life and their role in the world. While this may not be the easiest thing to change, it may help to think about what real impact your job has on the community or world at large and how you make a difference and contribute to something important (no matter how big or small!)
3. You aren’t challenging yourself.
This is an extension of the typical “my job is boring complaint”. Yes, in many instances, an individual’s job may actually be boring, but if the individual does not take the time to set challenging goals, there may be missed opportunities to do some unexpected tasks that could actually be construed as…wait for it…fun! For example, a friend of mine often works harder in routine tasks in order to finish and get to the downtime where he has the flexibility to work on projects he created and managed himself. not only is he trying harder in his normal work, he is able to do additional things that he finds interesting and are often viewed as exemplary work. This is not to say one should rush through normal daily tasks haphazardly to do random projects that are unnecessary, but if one is able to feasibly create a side project that directly impacts the organization in a positive way, go for it!
Reference: Stutzer, A, & Frey, B. S. (2004). Stress that doesn’t pay: The commuting paradox. IZA, Aug, 1278.