How to Reboot When the Job Feels Stale

by Michelle Kruse | August 03, 2015

  • My Vault

We’ve all experienced the Monday blues at one time or another. You know the feeling: You’ve returned to the office after a great weekend, and before you even sit down in your chair, you’re already wishing it was Tuesday. 

I think we can agree that this is a normal part of life, albeit an unpleasant one. For most of us, these occasional bouts of Monday-morning melancholy are just that: occasional. But some people can never seem to shake the Monday blues away. 

When the Mondays become a regular part of a person’s routine, work life can become difficult—not just for the person feeling down, but for everyone in their wake. So, short of going all Peter Gibbons (of Office Space fame) on your colleagues, there are several things you can do when you feel yourself slipping into a manic Monday. Here are the three techniques that I’ve found to be most effective.

 

1. Ask Why?

Whether you’re working with others as part of a career coaching exercise or simply self-reflecting, I’ve found that it is nearly impossible to solve a problem if a root cause cannot be identified. In fact, I would go so far as to say that Mondays are rarely the problem. Rather, they are the result of harboring an underlying problem. You may be thinking, "Well, if I knew what was causing my Mondays, I wouldn’t need your help, Michelle!" Yes, identifying the cause of the problem seems somewhat arduous, but take a deep breath and harness a skill you likely learned in grammar school: making a list. 

Start out simply by noting the things that bring you down on Monday—little things, big things, even things that you’re not completely sure about. Just write them down on paper. I believe that as you walk through your list, you’ll start to see one of two things: a pattern of events or a single, glaring event. In either case, the underlying issue will begin to reveal itself.

 

2. Ask How?

Once you’ve got your list of problem sources, you should ask yourself, “How can I change these? Are there any actions I can take?” Maybe it’s a particular co-worker whose own blues seem to spill over onto you. Are you able to re-work your routines so you don’t end up locked in the doldrums with them by the coffee pot? Are there high-pressure meetings that kick off your day? An occasional high-stress meeting is normal, but if there is a recurring meeting that is giving you heartburn, you need to dig deeper. 

Can you plan for the meeting on Friday to alleviate the stress? I’ve found that mapping out my Mondays before heading into the weekend allows me to get the most out of my free time, and most Mondays kick off much more smoothly. Is it a simple case of nerves that is causing you anxiety? I once dreaded a particular meeting due to my fear of presenting to the group. To deal with my fear, I took a public speaking course at a local college.

 

3. Do.

It is not enough to identify and understand the root of the problem. You must be able to follow through. I’ve had friends who seemingly knew the single source of weekly pain for years on end. I listened to them succinctly list the causes of their Monday blues… week after week. However, when I inquired about implementing a fix, they would dance around, providing the countless reasons and excuses (gremlins as I call them) as to why they couldn’t take action just yet. So they lived their lives with around 50 miserable days each year (Memorial and Labor Day did provide two points of reprieve). 

Mondays are as inevitable as Tuesdays, Wednesdays and the other weekdays on our calendars, however the Monday blues don’t have to be. I highly encourage anyone going through this painful cycle to use these three simple steps to eradicate the doom and gloom, because nobody deserves to be miserable each and every week. At the end of the day, just follow the wise words of Leo Tolstoy: 'If you want to be happy, be."

 

Michelle Kruse has more than 10 years of hiring and recruiting experience and a background in coaching and leadership development. At ResumeEdge, Michelle recruits and hires résumé writers, provides training and ongoing support, manages strategic partnerships and serves as a subject matter expert on the job search process.

 

Filed Under: Job Search | Workplace Issues

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