We as a society are conditioned to love Fridays and hate Mondays. This is an outdated notion, argues best-selling author Jon Acuff. There’s no reason why we can’t rescue Monday and make our jobs as awesome as possible. The key is to break a cycle of conditioning that began generations ago. We have to learn to mine the best out of our jobs. If not, you’re destined to spend 40 years of your life in unhappiness.
Acuff’s newest book is titled Do Over: Rescue Monday, Reinvent Your Work and Never Get Stuck.
Jon Acuff: I think most of us dread Mondays because culturally we’ve learned to dread Mondays. We live for the weekend. Our music is, you know, celebrates Fridays better than Monday. Our movies celebrate Fridays better than Monday. And maybe our parents did too. I think there was a generation that didn’t have the same freedoms you and I have. Thirty years ago, 40 years ago I couldn’t have this conversation where I could say to the camera to everybody watching, "Hey, you have a chance to plug into a community that will help you." You didn’t. How would you even find those people? In 1960, how would your mom or your dad going to find a community of other people, other photographers, other artists, other bankers, other anythings easily? They couldn’t. So I think we have access to people and tools and experiences that no other generation had access to. And so in addition to that being a huge opportunity, it’s a huge responsibility. We have a chance to break that mode of: A job is just a job. Monday is horrible and Friday is great. What if we got to reinvent that? What if we got to rescue Mondays? And that doesn’t mean be fake. I’m not saying tomorrow turn a frown upside-down. No. I’m much more practical than that. You’re going to have some difficult days, some Tuesdays that aren’t fun.
There’s no such thing as a perfect job. That’s one of the things that cripples people. They think I have to find the perfect job where I only do things I want to do and that doesn’t exist. But what if you could say okay, "Can I use more of me at my next job? Can I use more of me on a Monday than I got to a week ago? Can I use more of the things I’m good at? Can I start to look forward to going to work? Can I start to look forward to a Wednesday and not just live in this culture that only celebrates Friday?" I don’t want us to have a life where we feel like Tim Robbins at the end of Shawshank Redemption as we drive away from work on Friday. This sense of relief finally I got out of that. Because here’s the thing. That’s really bad math and here’s what I mean by that. Somebody is saying to you, "We’ll give you two weeks of vacation. In exchange, we want you to give us 50 weeks this year." Fifty for two is terrible math. Trading 50 weeks of misery for two weeks of vacation is bad math. Trading five days you don’t like for two days you do like — again is bad math. Trading 40 years of your life — I mean that’s the thing. That’s why I write about careers. You’re going to do this thing for 40 years, 40 to 60 hours a week. Let’s invest in it. Let’s make it as good as it can be. Let’s make it as awesome as it can be. Because it matters. We’re taking about four decades of your life. Certainly we should lean into that.