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A friend, let’s call him Carl, told me he’d seen my videos on career change and resonated with the concept of the Sunday Night Blues.

“Everyone thinks I have the best job,” he confided.  ”People ask for advice, wanting to know how they can eventually have a position like mine. I want to tell them the truth, but I can’t. I don’t think they’d believe me anyway.”

The truth was that every Sunday night, a feeling of dread descended.  He wanted to stop time, to delay perhaps indefinitely, the work week ahead.  Not only did he feel anxious and irritable that his free time was coming to a close, but he was confused.

Why couldn’t he enjoy his job like everyone expected him to?

In fact, he felt particularly ungrateful because there was a lot he liked about his job.  But none of those positives were apparently strong enough to prevent the Sunday night blues.

And so he came to me for advice on how to change careers, even though the thought of leaving his “dream job” pained him.

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Editor’s note: Guest post by Stephen Martin

The summer when I was 23 did not begin well.

For one thing, I was pretty lost. My longtime girlfriend was moving cross-country for law school, and I didn’t have a clue what my next move would be, except that I wasn’t going with her. For another, I was bordering on broke. My contract work at the nearby university had just ended, and I had not a single job prospect. And yet, 16 years later I look back on that summer as one of the best of my life.

Perhaps the biggest reason why: I gave up the news.

It was a grand summer for news, too. Clinton and Dole duking it out for the presidency, mad cow hysteria in Europe, the Olympics in Atlanta. I knew next to nothing about any of it. With no income, I needed to economize. That meant no cable TV, no Internet, not even a newspaper. I barely knew what was happening across the street, much less around the world. And it didn’t bother me because, after years of faithfully reading papers and magazines, I was just tired of it.

Even back in those pre-Twitter, pre-blog, pre-historic days, you could spend enormous amounts of time consuming news or fretting all day about it, and I’d done a lot of both. But now, accidentally adrift from the headlines, I suddenly had time for other things.

I started hanging out in the university library, wandering the stacks and picking up whatever books caught my eye. I’d meet a buddy for a (very cheap) lunch or play cards or listen to music. I went for long walks. Since I never got a weather forecast, what the heavens might bring was always a surprise too.

Free of the usual distractions, I slowly became more centered. I’d spent the previous year exploring and rejecting a half-dozen potential careers.

In the silence of that summer, though, I finally began to feel a faint sense of purpose – a pull toward writing.

I didn’t know what I wanted to write or for whom. But sitting down and writing, longhand, an essay about a monastery I’d once visited created more satisfaction than I’d felt in months, if not years.

The summer crawled on in slow motion, and I began to feel part of it. I hadn’t really noticed the seasons since I was a kid. But now, I started paying attention to the relative cool of a July morning, the building humidity as noon approached, the sticky air and soothing insect chatter of an August evening. For the first time in a long time, I felt aware.

And as the summer burned toward its conclusion, I became aware of something else as well: I was running out of money.

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Imagine setting a goal of seeing the world in all its splendor.  You decide to climb a really tall mountain to get the best view. You know it’s going to be an arduous journey, but hey, you only live life once.

But how to get to the top?  There’s a tangle of paths before you, and signs pointing every which way, including opposite directions.

You don’t have much to go on, so you choose a path that looks well trekked and offers a gentle slope.  You see some people up ahead of you, smile and wave.  How exciting to finally be under way!

The hike isn’t always so happy-go-lucky.  Sometimes you stumble, and there are times you have your doubts.  People on other paths occasionally whiz past or laugh uproariously and give you a wink.  You wonder if you should switch paths and join them.

But you stick to the path you’re on, because you’re loyal and you’re already invested so much time and sweat.

And then you reach a plateau.

It’s not unpleasant really, it’s just a dead end.  You try to focus on the warmth of the rock, the pretty lichen growing between the cracks.  The view is … nice.

Still, it’s not where you wanted to go.  It’s not what you wanted to experience.

As you look over your shoulder to the paths behind you, so much becomes clear.  You’ve come a long way, yes.  But it’s obvious a little more scouting at the base could have helped a lot.  You didn’t have to go far to see that many of the paths combine, and more than a few lead right off the edge of a cliff.

The peak is still somewhere above you, beyond a layer of fog. There’s no guarantee that any of the other paths will take you there.  There’s not even a guarantee of a better view if you arrive.

You have a choice.