Sunday Evening Says A Lot About Your Career

You should never sacrifice five days of life for two… Are you living for the weekend? If the answer is ‘yes’ when it comes to your job, that’s a dead giveaway that it’s time to go.

The five days for two was a stopper for me. The words are those of Susy Welch, CNBC contributor and author.

If we took the entire workforce and asked if they lived for the weekend, I’m convinced we would discover that the clear majority would say that their career and lives are centered around those 2 days. They work for the 5 to have access to the 2. Such a sad scenario.

How is Sunday?

As I thought this through, I too recalled a sense of relief when Friday rolled around. That’s when I worked in the US; here in Dubai and the Middle East, it’s Thursday. If that is your life, you know how this plays out. Those two days will go by in a heartbeat. Sunday evening, though, is the other side of the coin. Listless, far away gaze, feelings in the pit of your stomach are a few of the symptoms. Looking at a TV that was looking back at me was evidence of my Sunday evening malaise.

Every Sunday evening — and for some it is Saturday — much of the world gives a collective groan. The weekend is fast receding, Monday is fast approaching, and the cloud is forming and beginning to set in.

The Sunday index of your career

I have always thought that Sunday was a powerful indicator of the state of your career.

In a 2013 poll from, 81% of American respondents said they get Sunday-night blues — and 59% said they experience them “really bad.” Those are astounding numbers which do not translate well into the destination on Monday. Sunday nights aren’t considered the end of a great weekend but the beginning of something we do not look forward to.

Why is that and what is your plan?

There are a host of reasons for this. Some have to do with what our jobs or career are about. My personal opinion is that the source of a lot of angst is the job you have. Sure you can rearrange your Monday schedule so that it is breeze as you begin the 5-day journey. But if it is the job you are doing that is causing the distress, no amount of rearranging will help.

As I hear people complain about their jobs or careers my question is always,“What is your plan to fix it?”

That is often greeted with a blank stare or the same platitudes I’ve heard so many times. But think about it, if you are in a bad space, how are you going to fix it? What is going to enable you to get into a new mindset so that you relish the first of the week?

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Putting your plan into place

Sure, the end of the week will always be greeted with anticipation regardless of what you do. But we must figure out a way that we also look upon the new work week with zest:

  • What projects get you excited? As we work through the week’s journey, hold off on what I call the “dessert projects,” the ones you are excited about. Let that be the Monday morning fuel. Start with them because they don’t require any special motivation.
  • Monday meetings are a no-no. Unless it falls in the above category, do not schedule something we all hate for your runway to the week.
  • Hate your job? Change it. Begin the process for making the career change. This is a project which should consume a lot of Mondays. What are your steps? Begin the process of putting it on paper: Updating profile, networking opportunities are just some of the steps to include.
  • Yourself 2.0. We were all asked at one time, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Yes, that was when we were all young, and surprisingly, we all had an answer, regardless of how far-fetched the reply was.

Everyone today must tackle the last bullet. What do you want to be? Where are you headed? Those are questions that I think if we asked ourselves and came up with a plan, would solve the 5=2 equation. With all the change that is going on today in our businesses, it has an incremental effect on what we do for a living.

You have a blank slate

If you are stuck at this point, which it seems the majority of people are, my suggestion is to think as if you had a blank slate to start over again. You get laid off, think of how now you have the freedom to start all over again. We all must decide our next version.

I was in the magazine publishing business at one time, but digitization and the web killed that business. People who had the skills to put out a printed monthly magazine had to learn new skills to operate in this new environment. For the most part, they reinvented themselves.

In the end we must prepare; we have to develop a strategic plan the same way that an organization does. What is the plan and what are the milestones? It is the same process that organizations go through. We must begin to think the same way.

Try to get to a point that you say “TGIM” and not just “TGIF.” Trust me it can be done. This way you can retake Sunday and make it a fulfilling day.

Ron Thomas is Managing Director, Strategy Focused Group DWC LLC, based in Dubai. He is also a senior faculty member and representative of the Human Capital Institute covering the MENA/Asia Pacific region.

He was formerly CEO of Great Place to Work-Gulf and former CHRO based in Riyadh. He holds certifications from the Human Capital Institute as Global Human Capital Strategist, Master Human Capital Strategist, and Strategic Workforce Planner.

He's been cited by CIPD as one of the top 5 HR Thinkers in the Middle East. He received the Outstanding Leadership Award for Global HR Excellence at the World Human Resources Development Congress in Mumbai, and was named as one of the 50 Most Talented Global HR Leaders in Asia

Ron's prior roles included senior HR positions with Xerox HR services, IBM, and Martha Stewart Living.

Board memberships include the Harvard Business Review Advisory Council, McKinsey Quarterly's Executive Online Panel, and HCI's Expert Advisory Council on Talent Management Strategy.

His work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Inc. Magazine, Workforce Management and numerous international HR magazines covering Africa, India and the Middle East.


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