The hashtag #bareminimummondays has already amassed two million views on TikTok, featuring clips of young people taking part in Mayes' seemingly effortless trend. The idea aims to reduce the amount of stress and anxiety young people feel toward their job.
Mayes, 29, overcome with the frustrations of her corporate job, decided to quit the rat race and turned to self-employment. However, she still faced the same problem she did when she was working at the office: the curse of perfectionism.
"I would wake up on Monday, really burned out, really unproductive," Mayes told the New York Post. "And because I was so unhappy with how unproductive I was being, I would make myself out a long list of things to do."
Mayes goes on to say that she "felt like sh*t" at the end of the day for all the pressure she put on herself. She hated Monday so much that she would work her way into a paralysis, known as the "Sunday scaries." This mentality would not only affect her pyschological outlook, but it would negatively impact her work ethic.
"Every Sunday night, I would stay up late, knowing that Monday would come faster the sooner that I went to bed," Mayes said. "Then I would sleep in as late as I possibly could on Monday, knowing that the second I wake up, the second stress comes back and the second my long to-do list would come back."
However, the "Sunday scaries" are nothing new, with a 2020 survey finding that, of the 2,000 Americans involved, a staggering 88 percent of respondents had anxious feelings on Sunday when they thought about Monday morning. The survey was even able to pin down the time of day when these feelings set in on Sunday, which was close to 4 pm. In other words, this is a common experience for almost all Americans working full time.
As a result, Mayes developed a "burnout prevention strategy," where she set out to do the bare minimum amount of work on the most despised day of the week.
"It's more of an opportunity for people to start untethering themselves from hustle culture, little by little, until corporate America catches up," she said. "The tide is turning, and I feel like employees are tired of trading their well-being to perform well at work."
Mayes' strategy, however, appears illogical, and it likely does not lead to less overall work. If Mayes were to have ten tasks to complete per day, five days a week, completing six tasks on Monday would only mean that there are four more tasks to complete on Tuesday. Instead of making the amount of work more manageable, Mayes appears to be postponing the inevitable. It is not clear how she accounts for this.
But she insists that her new system "has completely overhauled my relationship to productivity and work and how I think about myself."
However, Gen Z-led movements aimed to avoid work has become commonplace, with such movements as #ActYourWage and the Great Resignation. As of late 2021, the US Bereau of Labor Statistics reported that three percent of employees are voluntarily leaving their jobs, which was at an all-time high at the time of the report. A common thread through those voluntarily quitting their jobs is their mental health, which they suggest is being negatively affected by working at their jobs.
There is now a developing trend that sees young people taking the "quiet" part to the extreme by quitting their jobs without giving their employer a two-week notice. One motivation for doing this is that young people are often being asked to complete tasks that are outside their job description.
"Bare minimum Mondays" follow the same trajectory as these trends in bolstering young people's autonomy. However, it's unclear if anyone reasonably holds that one's autonomy means that they can do whatever they want, whenever they want, all the time. Additionally, these battles for autonomy often times come with blasting employers for not conducting business in the way that these young people believe it should be run.
This evasion strategy is also not a good way to get ahead in the workplace.
“Nobody wants to get the reputation for being somebody who’s not going to go the extra mile when it’s needed,” David Bradshaw, vice president of North Star, told the New York Post. “At the end of the day, if you want to get ahead and [have] an optimal career, you have to put the effort in. There’s no way of getting around that.”
Mayes' statements have not gone with its naysayers. She claimed that she has received frantic messages from professionals who are puzzled about her productivity strategy, asking what they are supposed to tell their bosses.
“If corporations are emailing me being like, ‘What the hell are you doing? Our employees are all doing this!’ — well, then, take a look in the mirror,” Mayes said.
“It seems like the more we start prioritizing our well-being and treating ourselves like actual humans, the more corporate has an issue with that,” she added.