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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Work-Life Balance

When "Living for the Weekend" Is a Huge Red Flag

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Ever heard this phrase?

Despite being an optimist, I’m also a realist. And soon after I started working, I realized that this statement is never the whole picture. Work will never be that simple, sometimes you’ll have bad days (even bad weeks), and yes, sometimes you’ll live for the weekend. And that’s because weekends are great—truly nothing beats having zero professional responsibility and the freedom to do what you want, whenever you want, for 48 hours.

I also won’t deny that begging for the weekend to come can be a sign of a much bigger problem. While work will always feel like work, it shouldn’t make you miserable—otherwise you’re getting into Sunday Scary territory.

With that in mind, here are the signs your weekend obsession is a red flag:

1. It’s OK if It’s Thursday and It’s Been a Long Week

Not every day at work is going to be sunshine and butterflies and compliments from your team. You may’ve spent the week cleaning up someone’s mess, getting yelled at by your supervisor, staying late to finish a huge assignment, or dealing with a tough client—it’s normal to be counting the hours until your freedom comes.

It’s a Problem if It’s Monday and You Haven’t Even Started Your Week Yet

That said, if you’re going into the office expecting all the bad stuff above to happen—and dreading it even before you’ve sat down at your desk on Monday morning—that’s probably a sign you’re in a toxic work environment.

2. It’s OK if You Live for the Weekend Occasionally

Even the best jobs can be tiring, frustrating, excessively slow, or incredibly hectic. And, like I said above, the weekends are almost always going to be a lot more fun than whatever you’re doing at work. So, don’t feel guilty for treasuring them.

It’s a Problem if You Live for the Weekend Constantly

But, as I note in this article, you spend 30% of your time at work—that means that no matter how great the weekends are, they’ll never truly be enough to make you happy. So, if you’re always looking to them to lift your spirits, you need to find a job that won’t continue to diminish them.

3. It’s OK if You Feel Refreshed When the Weekend Ends

As much as we love the weekends, most people who are happy—if not satisfied—in their roles make the most of them, enjoy their time off, but then leave them ready to get back to the grind.

This won’t always happen—sometimes you’ll have weekends that are as stressful as, if not more than, work is (think: dealing with travel delays, having to do chores, being in the middle of family drama).

But for the most part, these pauses should be enough to at least somewhat rejuvenate you for the week ahead.

It’s a Problem if You Feel Sick When the Weekend Ends

I have a friend who I always have a blast with over the weekends—we eat great food, sleep in, and have plenty of fun activities planned. But when Sunday evening hits, she tells me she starts to get stomach cramps. No matter how great our time off is, they always come.

When you find yourself continuously unprepared, anxious, or sick (or even self-medicating) at the end of the weekend, that’s a sign your job may be the problem.

4. It’s OK if You Actually Get to Enjoy Your Weekends

You work hard for five days, so you deserve two days’ worth of not thinking about anything job-related. If that’s true for you, keep on getting pumped for the break ahead.

It’s a Problem if You Expect to Have to Work on Your Weekends

If you go into the end of the week praying your boss doesn’t call you or expect you to come in, or some work conflict doesn’t interrupt your plans, that may be a sign you’re in a role that’s affecting your work-life balance.

Yes, some jobs require you to be on call, and you know if you signed up for such a role. But when this happens more often than it should, you’re not reaping the full benefits of your weekend—and it’s no wonder you can’t help but live for them.

Start to recognize how you’re feeling when the weekend approaches. Maybe you log your emotions in a journal or have your friends evaluate your moods for you. If you find you’re identifying with the “problem” signs more often than not, it could be that your work is doing more damage than you anticipated. And maybe it’s time to find yourself a healthier gig.