Thursday, 13 April 2017

May Illness


In any language there are a few things that you struggle to have an equivalent in any other language because of the significance of it for that country or culture.

Recently someone told me about something I hadn't heard about before.

五月病 (Gogatsubyo), literally meaning May sickness is something that happens in May of course and it can affect quite a few people. It is very similar to the feeling that I'm sure a lot of you get when you go back to work after two or three weeks off in January after the Christmas/New Year period.

The academic and fiscal year starts in Japan and people are starting school or changing positions in their companies and in particular, recent graduates from university are starting their first full time job and they are all excited. You can see them around town. They have their nice suit on and they look ready to conquer the world.

Then Golden Week comes. Golden Week starts at the end of April and for the first week of May there are four public holidays and people go overseas or go to different places.

(I remember one Golden Week a few years ago, I went to Shizuoka to play cricket and the road was so crowded that it took as two and half hours to exit the service area on the motorway.)

Then reality sets in. The new graduates go back to work after the long weekend and they think "oh no. I've got forty more years of this." This can be quite depressing for some people and it can be quite a struggle to get out of bed and to go to work.

What can people do to get out of this slump?

I know a guy who is in his third year at his company. He never feels bad (unless he has a hangover). He is always enthusiastic about his job and looks forward to working each and every day. (How many of you out there can say that? Not many I suspect.)

What makes him different to most people is that he has a career plan and he is determined to see it through. He thinks that he is only going to be at the company for five years or so. He wants to learn as much as he can about business and then he wants to start his own company. Do you know what, he is definitely going to be very successful and I wish him well.

He has a purpose, he has a mission and he is going to chase that purpose come hell or high water and that is what you can do if you find yourself in a slump. You need to find your purpose. I'm willing to bet that the people who fall into that 'May Malaise' don't really know what they want but the people like my friend, who are focused and know what they want, they don't have time for feeling depressed.

Take it from me, you don't have to find your purpose straight away and usually, your purpose finds you anyway.

What does that mean?

You might have to try a few things before it presents itself and it will probably present itself in the most unusual circumstances.

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