Unpacking the TGIF Mentality

I recently ran a poll asking how many of my Instagram followers are
TGIF’ers, meaning you cannot wait for Friday to come every week. The options were “YAS, TGIF FOR LIFE!” and “MEH...I LIKE EVERY DAY!” An astonishing 96% of you said that you are constantly counting down the days until Friday.

Now, I’ll admit that I didn’t give any context beyond my simple question and the two choices listed above. This poll is obviously not grounded in any scientific research; nonetheless, it’s still worth considering the underlying implication that 96% of those who voted are wishing their days (lives) away.

In that context, 96% is pretty disheartening, but also not very surprising. Not too long ago I was in the TGIF camp and often found myself wishing away my days and counting down the hours until my time was once again that—my time.

My TGIF-ness was grounded in the joy I felt (or didn’t feel) throughout the week at my job. So, let’s start this conversation and unpack these feelings. I understand that this post could piss some people off while making others feel uncomfortable. And that’s ok. I think we should be taking stock of our lives and feelings much more often than we do—and this exercise is meant to do just that. Pay attention to what emotions pop up for you while reading.

There have been a few seasons in my life where I was working a job I disliked and felt as if someone else owned me and my time. I drove in traffic to an office that I had become jaded with, half-heartedly worked my way through projects that I no longer felt passionate about or inspired by, reluctantly grabbed lunch with co-workers who I’d repeatedly run through emotional gauntlets with, and I’d find myself completely defeated every Friday once I realized my entire week had flown by in a blur and all I had to show for it was a measly paycheck.

Does this sound familiar? If so, I don’t blame you for looking forward to the weekend. When your days live out like the nightmare above, sometimes Friday and the promise of two days away from the office feels like the only light at the end of a dreadful tunnel. A break from it all. A reset. But life doesn’t have to be—and shouldn’t be—lived this way.

Let’s consider the following.

Am I experiencing burnout?
There’s a chance that you still love your job beneath the surface, but you're merely overworking yourself. Are you working through your lunch break? Have you been staring at your monitor for a solid I-can’t-remember-the-last-time-I-blinked-five-hours? When was the last time you went on a real vacation? Human beings are incredibly resilient and capable of a lot of magic, but we were not created to sit stationary behind a glowing screen and work eight hours a day, five days a week, 365 days per year...although that well-known fact doesn’t stop many of us trying.

Have I established healthy boundaries?
Putting boundaries in place is not a selfish act, and they’re healthy for both you and those around you. Setting boundaries can help you steer clear of some of the work burnout pressures previously mentioned, and it will also save you from emotional erosion. Is a coworker gossiping about someone in the office or dumping all of their personal drama on you? Have you ever let others take advantage of your willingness to help? Do you feel emotionally drained by the time you get home from work? Having the courage to say no to the things that drain you and don’t fall under your job title (i.e., emotional trashcan, office hottie, coffee/lunch runner) is a great way to start setting healthy boundaries.

Is my job no longer serving me?
If you’re not overworking yourself, it’s quite possible that you’ve simply outgrown your position—and that’s ok! There’s no reason to feel guilty about reaching your job’s expiration date, and it’s vital to honor this feeling. Staying at a job out of self-perceived obligation will not help you achieve your potential, and it’s also holding your boss, coworkers, and company back. Why not pass the torch along to someone who would show up with the same enthusiasm you once did, and that would kill for all of the experience you’ve now collected? Let’s start dreaming big about what new adventures lie ahead!

Am I playing the victim?
At the end of the day, you must remember you are at this job because you chose to apply and were blessed enough to receive the position. If you feel like your boss or company owns you and your time you are lying to yourself and blaming external forces for your own unhappiness. Don’t like your boss? Then quit! Don’t like your work? Then quit! Don’t like your pay? Then quit! Absolutely no one owns you, and you have the freedom to leave your job or any situation that makes you unhappy at any time. I will acknowledge that change can be hard (especially when finances are involved), but no one owns your time except you, and you have the freedom to choose where you spend it. So spend wisely!

I could list many more topics worth considering, but this should be enough to get you thinking. And now that you’re analyzing yourself—what did you discover? Are you feeling burnout, lack of boundaries, job expiration, victimized—or maybe you just like to sleep in two days in a row and still love your job—that’s a total possibility too. But for those of you who love your career, wouldn’t it feel great if you felt the same passion for life seven days a week? How can you make that your reality?

• • •

Are you an employed TGIF’er and didn’t see your reasons for looking forward to the weekend? If so, I’d love to hear why you love Friday so much! Please comment below or on the original Instagram post here so that we can share more perspectives with our community. Lastly, I acknowledge that those of you who are stay-at-home moms/dads/fill-in-the-blanks, college students, on disability, currently unemployed, etc. will have your own set of reasons for looking forward to the weekend that vary from what I’ve discussed above, so please share your thoughts!

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