As Audrey Hepburn said so eloquently in Breakfast at Tiffany’s: “The blues are because you’re getting fat and maybe it’s been raining too long; you’re just sad that’s all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid and you don’t know what you’re afraid of.”
Whether you have the mean reds, the blues or the Sunday Saddies, one thing is for sure: Sunday evening is when any of these feelings can hit you like a Mack Truck. Let’s consider the reasons why. You’ve had a great weekend spending your time exactly how you want. Maybe you did some shopping or indulged in some adult beverages with your friends. Maybe you took that long overdue nap or broke your diet with churros at the fair. Maybe you finally caught up on laundry and had the chance to read Aliza Licht’s Leave Your Mark—at last.
Then comes Sunday, and especially now that Mad Men isn’t there to distract you, you’ve been feeling depressed, sluggish even. As tired as you are you don’t want to go to sleep because when you do, tomorrow only gets here quicker. And with tomorrow comes discipline, work, diets, fires you must put out—stat and an all-new meaning to that famous Big Brother tag: Expect the unexpected.
We’ve all experienced the Sunday Saddies at some point. For most of us it’s just a general feeling of sadness that the weekend’s over, like Audrey Hepburn said above. But for others, it’s a downright case of the mean reds. You might be afraid to go to work and deal with another soul-crushing week of strategies you don’t believe in, spending time with people you don’t trust. You might detest the work you do, the client you have or even your boss.
If you’re one of these people know this: YOU have the power to change. YOU can kick this feeling in the butt and end up in a job that gives you the kind of goose bumps you haven’t felt since your first crush. But how? We’re glad you asked.
Think About Your Perfect Job
If you could do anything in the world, what would you do? Write a list of 10 different jobs on a sheet of paper. Go ahead, do it now. We can wait. Did you write it? OK, good. Let’s take a look. The first thing we recommend you now do is cross off those things that have a good likelihood of not coming to fruition. We understand: Britney Spears can’t sing, so you think you have a shot. Chances are if this was your No. 1 goal you’d already be on your way. If you want this more than anything, by all means, go for it. But, if it’s just a pipe dream, cross it off the list and let’s continue. We want you to pursue an attainable goal. Is becoming CEO, president or editor-in-chief on your list? Keep those on there. Even if it seems far-fetched at this very moment, you can make that happen.
Now, final step: because we love color and we’re sure you do, too, grab a highlighter and color code jobs that fit together. Public relations and community outreach are often positions that hold hands. Color ‘em the same. Take a look at your list. What stands out to you? What trends do you see? Do all of your favorite positions involve marketing? Do all of them require you to learn a new skill? Like coding? Good. You’ve found your first insight into the job of your dreams.
Connect With 3 People
Now that you know what you want to do, it’s time for the next step. Grab your phone for this part. Call your best friend, mom, sister or boyfriend and read her or him your list. Ask who she or he may know in your chosen field/dream company/desired career. They know someone? Perfect. Ask them to make an introduction. (You’d be surprised how many people your parents know, dear reader.) Have you hit a wall? Your person of choice doesn’t have an “in” somewhere you want to be? Do not worry. We have a plan for that!
It’s time to put social media to use for something other than retweeting photos of flatlays. Go on LinkedIn. Type in your dream company. Write down the names of your friends who have connections there. Now, type in your dream job. Write down the names of friends who have connections in that space. Now, head on over to your inbox, and draft an email to at least three people. Ask them to introduce you to their friend at your dream company or in your dream role. (And don’t forget to thank them when they take the time to do this for you.)
Set Up An Informational Interview
Like I Want Her Job interviews, an informational interview is a way for you to pick the brain of someone who has a job you admire. If you’re unsure what to ask, you can start with some of the very questions on this site including, “How did you get your job?” “What skills and qualities do people in your industry look for when hiring?” “What is a challenge your industry is facing?”
Keep in mind, an informational interview is not a job interview. It won’t necessarily turn into a position over night, but it will get you headed in that direction. Sometimes a month or two from now a job will open up and the person you’ve met with will think of you, and then you could be going into interviews with HR that result in a job offer. Other times, a job might not materialize, but a good friend will. (Just as IWHJ Founder Brianne and IWHJ Managing Editor Mandi who met through an informational interview and are now, together, running this very site you’re reading! #ForeverFriends)
Finally, don’t forget these two very important steps. At the end of your informational interview ask if there is anyone she or he would be willing to introduce you to in the industry. This will lead you to yet another informational interview. As they say, strength in numbers! Second, always follow up. Send a thank you note to the person you met with. Send your resume along if it’s been requested. Answer that email introduction to another industry contact within 24 hours. There’s nothing worse than making time for an informational interview and never hearing from the person again. (Believe me, I know. And who wants that kind of career karma?)
Follow these steps and you’ll have the Sunday Saddies—or mean reds—conquered in no time. Each step you take toward building that career of your dreams will help you feel empowered. And that job you dread? Suddenly, it will feel less and less horrible, because you’ll start to see your exit at the end of the tunnel.