One Sunday night, when I was a kid growing up in Brooklyn, my dad noticed I was acting a little moody. "What's the matter, sonny boy?" That's what he called me sometimes. I think it's from an Al Jolson song.
"Ah, you know, I've got school tomorrow." I whined. "Weekends are great, but they're too short."
"You know what?" he replied, "I still feel that way about work."
My dad worked for the post office and I'm pretty sure he was miserable there. That probably explains why he got depressed every Sunday night. As for me, my negative feelings about school never turned into negative feelings about work.
Sure, I hated waking up early in the morning, and I especially hated those weekend and early Monday morning flights to wherever. I've had my share of bad days; I've even had a few bad months. And going back to work after a vacation or long holiday was always rough.
But, those few exceptions aside, I've had very few Sunday night blues or Monday morning blahs. I've always loved working in the tech industry. It never felt like work to me. And, after all these years, I have no idea why. So, I thought I'd try to figure out what keeps away the back-to-work blues.
Let's see: when I was an engineer, right out of school, I loved the challenge of designing complex semiconductor chips. Every day was another technical problem to be solved. And I think I enjoyed the multitasking and project management aspects even more. No blues there.
Then I moved on to sales. Selling was great fun. I got to get out and meet with customers. More importantly, it was all about solving the customer's problems, which I liked even better than designing my own products. But once I mastered the skills, sales lacked the technical challenge of engineering.
That's why I became a marketing guy. High-tech marketing is all about delivering complete products and services that solve critical customer problems. In a highly competitive marketplace, the challenges are enormous. It's never a dull moment. I love marketing.
Of course, climbing the management ladder into the executive ranks added a new level of challenge and excitement. I found that the higher up I rose in the organization, the more fun I had. That is, until I ran into some of those nasty political entanglements. I could live without those. And I'd be lying if I didn't mention a few sleepless nights before some big meetings and the like, but that just comes with the territory.
The bottom line
Look, life is too short to hate Sunday nights because you dread Monday mornings.
If you're open and honest with yourself about what excites you, what challenges you, what turns you on, what you're passionate about, and then follow those feelings, regardless of the risks involved, you'll enjoy your career. At least in my case, I think that's what's kept the back-to-work blues away all these years.