Someone has a case of the Mondays

What if you don't like Mondays? I mean: really, REALLY don't like Mondays? Also, 7 other things worth your time.

It's Monday morning. How do you feel about your job? If you hate it and want to quit, you're not alone.

We’re in the midst of the so-called Great Resignation, a seismic employment shift that is already having big ramifications. As one writer put it:

A record 4 million people quit in April, followed by another 4 million the next month. And the next. Some left to chase deeper fulfillment or to finally escape dead-end jobs with the cushion of enhanced unemployment checks.

Many furloughed workers didn’t return to positions that exploited them and put them at risk of catching COVID-19. The so-called great resignation has created a seismic power shift …

Quitting is a big decision. But just because I once quit a job after one day (and went quasi-viral as a result) doesn't mean I think everyone should follow my lead. In fact, I think there are at least five key questions to ask yourself first. 

1.    Is the feeling familiar?

Is the feeling of dreading your job on Monday fleeting? Or is this the tenth Monday in a row when you've awakened at home and dreaded heading to work?

Channel what Steve Jobs said in his 2005 speech at Stanford University:

"I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: 'If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?' And whenever the answer has been 'No' for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something."

Seriously, if you had to put a percentage on it, how often do you find yourself wishing you didn't have to go to work?

We all have bad days sometimes. But when bad days become the norm, it's time to think hard about moving on.

2.    Would you hate your boss's job even more?

I once told my boss flat out that I would never want his job. This was pretty foolish of me, although it also led to an important insight. (Here's that story.) 

Ask yourself that question, though: If they offered you your boss's job tomorrow, would you want it?

As Daniel Gulati once wrote, if you don't see your boss's job as something worth aspiring to, you're probably already on the road to failure in your current role.

That’s because your peers—people who like their work and who do, in fact, hope for promotions—will have the motivation that you lack. As they move past you, you'll only wind up even less satisfied.

3.    Does your job negatively affect your life?

Work is important, but it's not the only thing in life. Among the things you should ask yourself here—and be honest—are things like:

  • Is this job negatively affecting my health? How so?

  • Does it have a detrimental effect on my relationships with the people I love?

  • Is it preventing me from doing things that I truly want to accomplish in life?

  • Are there parts of it that conflict with my core values and beliefs?

Granted, there might be certain things that you can do, short of quitting, that would address some of these issues. But if you find yourself saying “yes” to this question along with others on this list, it's probably time for a change.

4.    Are you stagnating?

Almost every successful person I've ever read about or interviewed has offered one key piece of advice: Never stop growing and learning.

Since we spend a majority of our waking hours at work, it stands to reason that this is a crucial question. In fact, a British study based on the lives of 600,000 people concluded that "lifelong learning" was one of seven factors that led to greater longevity.

Try cataloging where you've learned and grown in this job. Is it difficult to find even a few examples? (Flipside: Are you messing things up constantly? Is it because you're trying to call on skills and knowledge you don't particularly care to develop?)

If you're putting in hours, trading your time for money, and helping build someone else's wealth…but not growing, learning, and gaining things that you value, then be a friend to yourself and grant yourself permission to think about quitting.

5.    Does your gut tell you it's time to quit?

Quitting a job is (usually) a big decision. By definition, big decisions aren't normal decisions.

So incorporate the advice of a Nobel prize-winning economist into your thinking: Daniel Kahneman, who along with professors Dan Lovallo and Olivier Sibony, advocates for something called the Mediating Assessments Protocol (MAP). 

MAP involves addressing complex questions by breaking them down into smaller questions and using objective data as much as possible. You can read more about how to do this, but the last stage in their process, notably, is intuition.

So: Is your gut telling you to quit?

If you've thought through the questions above and you’re leaning toward “yes,” then it's a pretty safe bet that your intuition is based on something solid.

Bonus: Do you have a plan?

Everything up to here is about whether you should quit. It's not necessarily about whether you should quit today.

Frankly, that’s a subject for another newsletter. But if you don't know what Tuesday would look like if you were to quit on Monday, take heart—and give yourself permission to make a decision, and a plan…and only then, a move.

The goal is to make your Mondays—and every day, frankly—a lot more tolerable. Do it on your own terms, and your own schedule.

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Thanks for reading. Photo credit: Office Space, obvs. I wrote about some of this before at Inc.com.