May 1, 2023 - Economy

"Bare minimum Mondays" could derail your career

Illustration of a water cooler, with the word "nope" bubbling up from the bottom.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

A TikTok trend dubbed "bare minimum Mondays" might help cure the "Sunday scaries" but taking it too far could derail your career, experts tell Axios.

The big picture: Like "quiet quitting" — a viral term defined as workers who don't do more than is necessary — bare minimum Mondays encourage easing into work by doing just enough to get by and practicing self-care at the start of the work week.

  • TikToker Marisa Jo Mayes has been posting about her Monday routine and how it's helped her since March of last year, but bare minimum Mondays have recently broken through.
  • "Haven't you heard of bare minimum Mondays?" South Park character Eric Cartman said in a March episode of the show, minutes into his first job. "It's a thing that young people created because we care about our mental health."

By the numbers: Employee engagement in the U.S. has been on the decline and dropped from 36% engaged employees in 2020 to 32% in 2022, according to Gallup’s Employee Engagement Survey.

  • 18% of employees were actively disengaged, which also increased by 4 percentage points from 2020, Gallup found.
  • A recent study from LinkedIn and Headspace found that nearly 75% of working Americans say they experience the Sunday scaries.

Bare minimum Monday benefits

Mayes, a self-employed millennial and startup co-founder, said on TikTok that she keeps the first two hours of her Monday free and schedules three tasks for the day.

  • "Before I started doing bare minimum Monday, I was physically sick with stress and I couldn't produce anything because of the level of burnout I had reached," Mayes said in a video.
  • "This wasn't set out to be a productivity hack because it was started to make myself feel better but it's ended up putting me in a position to be way more productive than I ever thought possible because I'm cutting myself" some slack, Mayes said.
  • Mayes said in another video that she loves the comparison of her creation and quiet quitting.
  • "I think we're seeing a rejection of hustle culture manifest in a lot of different ways and bare minimum Monday is definitely one of them."

Yes, but: Mayes said she has been called lazy and unmotivated and had her work ethic questioned.

Can Bare minimum Mondays backfire?

Between the lines: Ivan Misner, founder of the business networking organization BNI, said he thinks bare minimum Mondays could "totally backfire on employees" and "sets up people to fail in their role."

  • "Bare minimum Monday is a great way to get fired," Misner, author of the book "Who's In Your Room?" told Axios.
  • Jay McDonald, an Atlanta-based business adviser and executive coach, agreed and said those who participate could "be vulnerable to layoff" if they don't have a "positive or constructive attitude or not really being committed to getting the job done."

Set priorities and try "Balanced Mondays"

Experts told Axios that they recommend workers talk to their bosses and set priorities.

  • "I would look at the concept of priority management versus even time management, 'what are the priorities that you have to do?'" Misner said. "The key, I think, is rather than looking at it from a bare minimum is learning how to say no."
  • McDonald, author of the book "Strategic Jaywalking: The Secret Sauce to Life & Leadership Excellence," said he likes the term "Balanced Mondays" instead of "bare minimum Monday because bare minimum seems one-sided."

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