When I was a kid, there was a soap on Irish television every Sunday night. Glenroe, was set in the Wicklow mountains and had massive viewership all through the 80s and 90s, but my only real memory was the theme tune.
When the jaunty pipes and slide-show of Irish farmland came on, my body went into shock.
For you it might have been the theme to Sounds of Praise, or the Simpsons, or even listening to the top 40 on Radio 1, but we’ve all gone through the Sunday Scaries – in fact two-thirds of workers in the UK have some form of Sunday anxiety!
Thirty years later, and I still get the Sunday Scaries. But it’s not that I’ve forgotten an English essay that needs to be handed in on Monday morning, it’s a signal that something is not quite right.
“…that kind of depression which afflicts people who become aware of the lack of content in their lives when the rush of the busy week is over and the void within themselves becomes manifest.”
Victor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
Is the work you’re doing meaningful and does it create value?
Do the people you work with raise you up and make you a better person?
Are you trying to do difficult things that will make the world a better place?
If you’re feeling the Sunday Scaries and the answer to these questions is, “no”, then your body is trying to tell you something – Find meaning in your work life or find a work life that gives you meaning.
I’m Generation X – the lost generation who grew up too late to get the post-War bonus, too early to fully embrace the modern world. Growing up in the 80s, I was obsessed with a Canadian children’s programme called The Littlest Hobo. Every episode basically followed the same plot:
The eponymous Hobo, a super-smart German shepherd, travels from town to town across Canada.
When they arrive in a new place, inevitably something needs to be fixed to make the townpeople’s lives better.
Hobo inspires and helps the townspeople to solve their problems, learn valuable lessons, and then moves along to the next adventure.
Finding myself “unexpectedly available for work”, I’ve recently been thinking a lot about career and looking at my LinkedIn profile, remembered that I’m a Littlest Hobo.
Staying at one place, doing the same role, with the same people is not for me and I suggest shouldn’t be for you either. Without change, without growth, without the ability to learn, we’re stagnant.
We should all be like the Littlest Hobo and move on once our chosen townspeople can solve their own problems.
In an error of judgement worthy of Boris Johnson I got Ang the Soldier Solder boxed set for Christmas. Downton Abbey for those of us who like a bit of rough, starts off with a badly realised version of Northern Ireland during the troubles and an IRA funeral – you know they’re IRA because everyone has a mullet.
Even though it’s 1991, the UK still looks like the worst part of the 1980s: huge hair, huge shoulder pads, huge telephones. In fact, the only thing that isn’t big is the production values.
But the scariest part of all isn’t even Ang’s incomprehensible desire for Robson and Jerome – the bastards who kept Unchained Melody in the charts, long after we’d gotten over Ghost.
No, it’s a very young Cersei Lannister playing a squaddie’s wife: