The Sunday Night Blues

Have you ever had the Sunday night blues? You know, “I can’t believe I have to go back to that place tomorrow!” That place, of course, being work, or prison as I have often heard it referred to, including from myself!

The Sunday night blues hits too many of us, even CEOs! A recent CBS news survey suggests that 55% of Americans are dissatisfied with their jobs! We feel stuck, we are miserable and so are the people around us, as they have to listen to us grouse about everything that isn’t right with our work world.

I’ve been there. I’ve had the Sunday night blues many, many times. So often, in fact, I was wishing for an antibiotic to help cure me of this “illness” I caught and couldn’t shake. I was envious of the rare individual who loved their job, who couldn’t believe they were getting paid to do their work. I wanted to slap them silly, but not before I extracted their secret formula of being happy in their job right out of them!

I had the blues for any number of reasons, take your pick: I work with jerks, my team doesn’t respect me, I’m not comfortable with my boss, my boss is clueless, I don’t like the work, I‘m under-utilized, I’m not passionate about my work, I’m not paid enough, people don’t like me, I’m passed over for promotions, and my reputation, whether warranted or not, is in need of repair.

So, there’s my list, now let’s focus on you. Yes, you are a CEO, but you’re also an employee. You can feel just as disengaged, unfulfilled and frustrated as any of the people you lead. People may assume that your current job is “it” for, but your career is a journey and depending on where you are in this journey, you may be looking for a tweak or a major change.

Let’s pause for moment. Jot down one or two words you would use that describe your career or your attitude toward your career. Don’t censor—write down the first couple of words that spring to mind.

What kind of words did you use, and what insight does it give you into your current situation?

There are many reasons why one may be dissatisfied with their jobs, but what it usually boils down to is this: what you do and where you do it, mostly likely the words you used to describe your current situation fall into one of these two buckets.

What you do is the actual work you do and the skills and capabilities you apply to your job.

  • Are you regularly utilizing the skills you enjoy?
  • What are you burnout skills? How often are you using them?  

If you’re over utilizing your burnout skills and under utilizing the work that excites you and brings you energy, you may want to consider your leadership team. Are you delegating appropriately? Are you involved in the work your leadership team should be doing? If yes, why?

  • It is a control issue, meaning you have a hard time letting go?
  • Is it a trust issue? Do you trust your team to get things done the right way?
  • Is it a capability issue? Do members of your team have the skills and capabilities to do their job? 

As a CEO, you are constantly challenging and developing your team, but what about your development?

  • What skills interest you, but need further developing?
  • How will you get the basic knowledge? Class, seminar, conference, coach, mentor, book, videos?
  • How will you apply it?

Where you do it refers to the company culture, and your career values. Career values are things are things in life that you value in relation to work outside of a paycheck and benefit package, such as: work/life balance, loyalty, competitiveness, creativity, security, harmony, leading others, self actualization, freedom, fun and you can name your own.

  • What do you value most about your job?
  • Are your values being met?
  • What can you do to ensure your key values are being met?

So, what have you concluded? Does your career need a tweak, or a complete overhaul?

What I have learned from my own career journey is that there is no antibiotic, no quick fix, and it’s not something someone else can do for you. You must take full ownership and take control of your career. We work for 50-plus years. According to Forbes, CEOs devote 60 – 80 plus hours per week to work and you owe it to yourself to move closer to the work you enjoy and rid yourself of the Sunday Night Blues.