I started my office work experience at the end of the last century, but it wasn’t until 2013 that I first heard the absurd and profane greeting of “Happy Monday.” Upon first hearing this from the mouth of some dim corporate flunky on another one of those bleak, miserable Mondays, I was utterly dumbfounded.
It had never occurred to me―or perhaps to anyone with a shred of human decency and self-respect―to make such a ridiculous and certifiably false statement. It is Monday, therefore the last thing anyone in the office feels is happiness. Then these same unimaginative, groveling company lackeys would extend this inane greeting to every workday of the week in their desperation to make the office environment less dreary and hopeless than everyone and their uncle knew it was.
I tried to contemplate how this phenomenon started and thought about the increased feminization of the culture at large, which inevitably seeped into the general office culture. Perhaps women’s tendency toward empathy and harmony was behind this effort to make the office environment more warm, friendly, and peppy. I also first noticed this asinine greeting at a company that had more of an equal male-female ratio, whereas the place I was employed before was more male dominated. There, you would have been gruffly told off had you ever attempted a “Happy Monday” upon your arrival Monday morning. There was an unwritten rule there that people would quietly slide into their chairs at the start of the week without making a big production. It just seemed so much more civilized and authentic that way.
It could also be a cultural shift in the society that infiltrated the porous walls of the corporate world. The desperate need for many―chained to their paper-shuffling cubicle jobs―to give their life meaning and then broadcast it to the world in another flash of narcissism. The phony and futile attempt to pretend that we are all in this together and isn’t it wonderful that we are part of this world-changing company where our repetitive, mundane tasks give our desperate souls purpose. One love or Lennon’s “Imagine all the people” kind of silly nonsense. Leave it to Corporate Bro to keep it real.
All I know is that the workweek used to start for me Sunday with the Sunday evening blues. You were wrapping up a relaxing weekend catching up with family and friends, and generally enjoying being out of the gray cubicle farm where you were now spending close to half of your waking hours every week. Then, that dreaded feeling would hit you like a ton of bricks and the panic would set in as you tried to cling to the last few hours, which was all that was left of your freedom until the following Friday evening. And you went to bed with that frightening phrase ringing in your ears knowing that you would not be spared the next morning.
Happy Monday indeed.