Admittedly, life would be better if every weekend was a three-day weekend, which is seemingly possible (and more possible in the summer). But when you think about the entire work year, can you conceive of a day worse than the Monday after the 4th of July? Let’s be honest: in a standard office job (non-retail or 24-hour service), you were probably fairly checked out by 1pm on Thursday. Now you’re going to try and get back on the grid and you just know some doofus in your work group hit the e-mail threads on Sunday night, so you’ll have that waiting for you.
The reason this day is so bad is because you tend to come off a weekend that (a) may have been predominantly spent outdoors, (b) likely involved some family/friends, (c) had all the commonalities of “America” i.e. meat, sun, friends, beers, etc. and (d) everyone kinda goes off the grid work-wise on July 4th weekend, so even if you did casually check the ol’ iPhone or BBerry or whatever, chances are not a lot was there.
Can any other set days compare? Let’s go through the year quickly.
January-March: Nothing really in here. You could argue that rolling off of Christmas and New Year’s is hard, and it is, but you’re probably in the office some of those days regardless, and the beginning of a calendar year brings with it a lot of ideas about hope and promise and new resolutions and new focal points, etc. So there’s some inspiration there. There are a couple of long weekends in February that are great to hit, but rolling off them isn’t as hard; the weather tends to be drearier then in most parts of America.
April-August: We’re talking about July 4th here, but another one would probably be Labor Day. Memorial Day doesn’t seem that hard to many people I know, because yes, you’re returning to the office and thinking, “Well, summer is here and I’m working…” but you’re also returning to the office and thinking “Summer is here, nice…” and listing out three-day weekends and vacations. Labor Day is interesting. Summer’s basically over and fall has arrived, which can depress some people, but you also have the return of football (America’s true religion) and more temperate weather in a lot of the U.S.
September-January: Nothing really in here that’s as depressing a day to hit the office as the Monday after July 4. I honestly maintain that between about November 19 and January 5 in a given year, virtually nothing gets done in a standard office (I mean, things get done, but let’s be realistic here). The reason those days don’t completely suck, typically, is that they’re ringed with parties and office Santa stuff and the knowledge of 1-2 weeks off total in there, etc. The office after July 4th is just hot, away from the fun you just had, and with nothing out in front of you except the back-end of summer.
Any other nominees I missed? Leave ’em in the comments.