It's that time of year - you know, when you see an abundance of orange and brown; when turkey comes into food fashion; and when announcements of Black Friday sales are in the air. Pretty soon, the holidays will be upon us.
And for many job stalkers - including myself - it brings a curious mix of anticipation and dread.
It's easy to get swamped and become very Ebenezer Scrooge-like at this time - to just say, "Bah, humbug" and dismiss this holiday...or even worse, fall into the pits of pessimism. (Trust me - last year, with a loved one in the hospital for most of December, my December 25th was like most people's August 17th, only not as warm). Pressures around gifts, parties, etc increase to the point of being unbearable; combine that with a general feeling of "why should I look now - nobody's hiring anyway", and the holidays become a sheer torture.
In some people's minds, anyway - for me, it's become a way to mobilize and motivate myself, to use this as a great opportunity to take advantage of "lull time". (From my own experience, some United Way-funded non-profits may be starting to reengage their efforts after leaving a fundraising "blackout", as well as begin to plan for potential hires). It's an unusual time of year to job search, but after all, I once acquired a job, moved 2,000 miles, and began working in St. Louis in December, 1998....just a few days before Christmas.
So yes, it can be done.
Much of it is maintaining a realistic perspective about my efforts - making sure that I'm not expecting either to give or receive extravagant gifts; putting in as much effort as I would during the rest of the year (yes, readers, I have e-mailed my resume at 3 am on Christmas Eve morning); and taking good care of myself (eating right, sleeping right, etc). Part of it is also taking advantage of the holiday sentiment to reconnect with old friends and colleagues - no, I don't whip out my business card and announce I have a job, but even informal socializing helps keep my networking skills sharp. It also means taking care of myself emotionally - admitting when I'm feeling out of sorts and seeking appropriate support.
Currently, I'm in the middle of a major adjustment - freelancing has taken up a great deal of time, so my job seeking and networking efforts have been curtailed. Thankfully, towards the end of the year I take a regular inventory of my activities and goals, and determine where I need to focus my efforts. After last year's inventory, I decided to let go of one major obligation (which became time and work intensive....as well as providing a high level of personal drama); took on a greater role with another, and have eliminated many smaller, unnecessary activities in my life. Thankfully, this yearly inventory helps me plan accordingly - and this might be a great time to reassess how I structure my time and my job seeking.
The holidays may not seem like the ideal time to keep job searching, but if job stalkers are seeking to "game" the system (as Brendan might put it), every strategy counts.
(No turkeys were harmed in the writing of this blog post).
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Thanks for reading!