Sunday Night Blues in the American Professional Experience: Addressing Conflicts Head On recently published statistics around the ‘Sunday Blues’ workers feel as Monday morning’s return to work looms over their weekend. Timothy McGuirk shares a three-part blog series about ways to overcome the challenges associated with this stress. Part one offered tips to relieve anxiety before the work week. Look out for part three on Monday 22 June.


Might your conflicts at work contribute to the Sunday night blues that draws attention to in their latest research? Three kinds of conflicts at work can make for a really painful professional life: character, collegial and personal. These issues stir up anxiety and may make you want to quit your job.

I think of a character conflict between your role’s demands and how you think in professional spaces. You may start a job assuming that it involves analytical, number-driven work but, as time goes on your manager wants more and more creative ideas. Jobs that stretch our minds challenge us to think about problems in new ways; however, over time, we might find ourselves over exerted and lacking the energy to get work done.

During my time at Boston University, one of my internships left me in this kind of situation. Every day at work, my manager asked me for hard data around every task and research project. This proved difficult for me. During the experience, the organization facilitated a DISC training session for our team. The exercise helped me to realize that this quantitative work did not make sense for me. Mapping my personal disposition in relation to the role’s requirements, DISC enabled me to understand my personality conflict and seek a new opportunity here at Marchon Partners!

Strong collegial relationships sometimes might seem like luck of the draw. Although you may find sanctuary at home, work forces you to spend more than 8 hours with colleagues. Coworkers should not pierce your life with spikes of anxiety.

In my first summer job, I taught sailing to young people from across the City of Boston. Welcoming someone to a new environment on a boat inspired me to work hard and make a difference. Teaching new students proved much less taxing than working with peers who neither cared to be there nor shared my teaching philosophy. I dreaded Monday morning staff meetings because of certain people in the room. Welcoming school at the end of summer came easily after working through those internal conflicts for three straight months.

Personal conflicts become clear after a significant life event. You welcome a new child into your family. Your loved one learns of a difficult illness. Your manager changes your schedule or job descriptions in new, unanticipated ways. We talk a lot about work-life balance but we can never appreciate this until we find ourselves torn in this way. In this case, sometimes your personal circumstances change while other times your job changes.

Should you find yourself in one of these difficult situations, communicate advocating for yourself while seeking to better understand you situation. What do I mean? First, communicate with hope of a fair, acceptable resolution. While bosses and roles seldom change, they can accommodate your needs because you add tremendous value to the organization. Raise your concerns in a respectful and responsible way. Second, listen to the other party’s point of view, anxiety and concerns. You may not agree with them but you must understand them to work towards a solution. Last, seek out a situation that works for you remembering that this might not be in your current organization. No one relishes change but, as your circumstances change, you need to protect yourself.

In next week’s final segment, we will explore how managers can help employees avoid Sunday night blues and start the work week off correctly.


Timothy McGuirk serves as the Director of Marketing Communication at Marchon Partners. He studied public relations at Boston University’s College of Communication. Follow him on Twitter @mcguirkt and Intragram @timothymcguirk.

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