It’s just a job

The Monday blues

It's Monday the 13th ... again.

Ever since I began to support myself, or as many put it ‘got myself a job’, I have wondered about the the Monday blues phenomenon. I understand the concept, can relate to the emotions but I still find it difficult to identify with the situation.

For me, what I love doing, which is getting computers to do what I and others want, has always provided me with enough money to make a living. It is probably the largest contributing factor to the lack of Monday blues in my life. Or the fact that I don’t feel a pressure to get the most out of every weekend, but I also understand that everyone isn’t as fortunate as me.

Burnout and depression

After seeing people both close and from a distance getting burnt out and depressed from activities they call their job, I am now even more convinced of the close relationship between what keeps you busy during the days and what brings home the bacon. Peoples largest source of income is rarely their hobby nor their favorite way of spending time.

Contrasts

This coin of life apparently has two sides and they look really different. On one side, my great satisfaction with my career choice and my results. The other side, depression because of lousy conditions at workplaces due to wacky colleagues, managers, idiotic routines, meaningless tasks, demanding customers, lack of recognition or a crazy mix of all the above.

It’s not ‘just a job’

The wide range in job satisfaction and the two sides of the life coin leads me to believe that it’s not just ‘a job’. Many identify themselves with their occupation, their results and above all, most of us spend close to a third of our awake time at our job, and doing things in order to make money.

Me, an employer

Since 2005 I have been an employer. Metaphorically it’s been a roller coaster ride with ups and downs. Partly loads of fun, excitement and challenges of course byt mostly it’s been very rewarding. A word a warning is in order: If you want a life without close interaction with your colleagues, it’s not something I can recommend. If you don’t truly care about others, being an employer merely becomes a charade-like game and you are easily interpreted as disrespectful as you profit on behalf of others.

Me, an employee

Before I became an employer I changed jobs several times. Whenever I told my boss I wanted to quit the inevitable question came up ‘Why are you quitting?’ often followe by a ‘Can we do something to change your mind …’. To me, these questions expresses a reality disconnect. Or were they just part of a the charade? It often felt as we had drifted apart, or maybe we didn’t understand each other anymore? The cliché, ‘It’s not you … it’s me …’ pops into mind.

Mutual benefit

I believe that the relation employer – employee is like any other relationship and when it’s not grounded in understanding and mutual benefit — it’s time for a change. Whenever the creepy feeling of not contributing or not getting enough out of your relationship with appears I suggest a change of organization. I think it’s up to each and everyone as an individual, whether you are an employer or employee, to be honest and tell what’s missing and then remedy that.

My wish for the future

I sincerely hope that there are more people like me who want a more personally engaging work. Or am I alone when I say we should be more honest and direct in the way we treat ourselves, our relations to colleagues and our workplace? I think that the the time we spend making money, this third of our awake time, is just as important as the rest of our life and we should give it the attention it deserves. At least if we want to do well and benefit from each other.

It is not just a job, it’s a big part of our adult life and it’s time to act.

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About Ola Ellnestam

Agile Coach, Systems developer, Agile Practitioner and father of three.

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