The other day I received a nice pleasant email, an ordinary, friendly one like many others, starting like this:
“Morning Emma —Happy Monday, hope you’re surviving and getting through it.”
Surely, a day of the week can’t be labelled so harshly that it is classed as something to “survive”. A storm, or a flood, or heartbreak, maybe. Some things in life can be tough on our souls: big or small. But Mondays? Do we hate them with this intense passion, or is it the Internet’s fault for giving us so many I-Hate-Mondays Memes to play with? Puppies rolling on the floor. David Tennant standing in the rain. A photo of a panda asleep. Patsy fromAb Fab crying into a bottle of wine. And so on.
Perhaps posting a “MONDAY’S SUCK” meme on Instagram is basically setting us up for a fail. It might get a good amount of “likes” from fellow unenthusiastic commuters but really: I think it’s putting a downer on something that could be good. Your Monday COULD be good. But we rarely get told that.
Monday is a mentality. The Internet is constantly telling us that as soon as we open our eyeballs on a Monday morning we should start hating ourselves and the lives we’ve chosen.
Another harmless piece of small-talk that I’ve received on emails in the past:
“Hi Emma, hope you’re well and looking forward to the weekend? I bet you’re counting down the days until Friday!”
This email was received on a Wednesday morning with the weekend still quite a few days out of sight. It made me think: actually, I wasn’t really looking forward to the weekend. Well, I had alright plans and all, but I wasn’t overly pepped up about it. I wasn’t counting the clock. I was trying to get the best of the week. No career is fun all the time, but I had organised some lunch meetings with people I liked to make the week feel more fun. So no, I wasn’t looking forward to Friday. I actually had something far more exciting happening the following Tuesday, a big Book Awards event that I’d invited a friend along to and we had good seats. I started realising that the weeks become so much more fun when you start saying “yes” to things.
Weekends for me are less busy. Less exciting. Different. Chill time. Me-time. Everything-I-Forgot-About-During-The-Week time. But it’s often not as funas my week-days. Perhaps because I’m still hungover from my wild Tuesday night. I often see my friends in the week, and try out new things. Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve never been totally ~high on life~ when the clock ticks 5pm on Friday. Maybe it’s because what I do is not so much 9–5 but pretty much 24/7 so I don’t even feel like it’s over or done. It’s constantly tick-tick-ticking along.
If anything, there’s never enough time during the week to cram everything in. It’s sort of the opposite — I love the rush of the working week. I love arranging new meetings, discovering new opportunities, the buzz of living in Hackney, the coffees, the emails, the high-fives, the writing, the growing of my blog, the emails from my publisher. Sometimes by the time Sunday evening has come around I’m looking forward to my emails whirring up and coming alive again. Obviously I like having a rest occasionally, but the weekends don’t tend to be the highlight of the week.
When I was younger, around fifteen, I started my first part-time job that I hated. I will always thank my dad for encouraging (slash forcing me) to have job in the centre of town that I hated. I hated the purple work uniform; how I felt after school having to get changed for work instead of going home. I hated working weekends. I hated how boring it was, how much I would watch the clock and make small talk with people who didn’t inspire me. I hated bumping in school friends in my uniform who would look at me with pity. Everything about it would give me a feeling of negativity and waves of unhappiness would wash over me, as I walked around the store trying to find something to do, trying to avoid bumping in to my boss who was a sexist man who would make inappropriate comments to all the female staff. In a nutshell: it was not my cup of tea. All I would do is day dream about what I wanted to do one day instead. Everyone has to have a job and most of the time it includes tasks you don’t necessarily want to do. That’s life. But the “I hate Mondays” t-shirts aren’t helping.
During this job, I would fantasise about days off and free weekends. I’ve had many jobs like that since, too. It was a job, and my personal life was very much outside of that job. They were two totally separate things, and I felt that it was only at the weekends that I could relax, without waves of panic or nausea, be myself and be happy.
After leaving school (and leaving that job) I made a pact to myself that I would search for a job in life that I liked. That ‘work’ and ‘play’ could and would merge. I disliked having Two Selves. I wanted to drift towards the dream of doing something that wouldn’t feel like work because I loved it so much. It took ages, I had jobs that I thought I liked (anything was better than that first ever job) but still I found myself sending similar emails “Hi! How are you? Can’t wait for the weekend!”
Weekends were my time to write, blog, read up on social media, attend events, connect, meet new people, work on self-development, write book proposals, fantasise and carry on with the work that I loved doing. To be able to do any of those things during the week as paid work, well, that would be the dream scenario.
Right now, I feel like I’m really getting there. In my most recent jobs it was about soaking up each day during the working week and not wishing them away. It was always hard work, but the weeks were fun. Nothing dragged. Each day something happens, leading me somewhere I couldn’t predict. I enjoy the feeling of busyness around me, the opportunities, the people I work with, the new things I learn, the unexpected events, the conversations, the lunchtime meet-ups, my colleagues, my to-do list, the things I would add in on a whim.
I don’t fear the weekends (I’m not that much of a workaholic, that would be worrying, I like a onesie/Netflix at much as the next person) but I don’t get that head-rush of excitement on Fridays anymore or when I turn on my out-of-office. I like working — soon that will be totally done from home — as much as I like the weekends. But for different reasons. I don’t care about “hump day”.
I’m lucky that my parents taught me from early on that it is possible to enjoy your job, but you have to have a few awful ones first to appreciate it when it does one day come around. It’s something you have to work hard towards. The end goal. The long-term strategy. That age-old quote of “choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life” has always been at the back of my mind through the ups and downs. I used to feel like an idiot thinking that could ever happen, now I feel like an idiot for ever doubting it.
My older sister came to stay with me recently with my niece, we went to the theatre and explored London. We got back to my flat and she changed into her pyjamas. As I opened the bottle of red wine for us to have with dinner I noticed her pyjama t-shirt read: “Mondays don’t suck, you just hate your job.” I love that phrase. I also love it because she works in recruitment so it’s a bit of subtle ~marketing~.
Maybe Mondays don’t suck.
Maybe Mondays don’t automatically come attached with dread.
Getting excited for Mondays could be a life-changer.