I Could Sooo Be An Elf…Again!

Finding seasonal employment at the Winter Holidays
A couple of years ago, I blogged about talking to some local businesses about seasonal hiring. While the job market is definitely different these days, what is interesting is that we all still commit to a “Happy Holiday” with increased gift buying and spending. Nationally, last year’s holiday season saw the same if not an increase in spending versus previous years. However, this year with our spending we may want to simultaneously make some additional money to “soften the blow” financially. So, I thought…why not? Let’s look back at the story of becoming an elf for the holidays one more time.

Let’s look back at 2009’s blog entry…

First, these are at once some of the most flexible jobs as well as the jobs requiring the most flexibility from the potential employee. Most seasonal employment is listed as part-time but the hours are in fact open and available to the employees wanting to work the needed shifts… However, most retail employers want people who will be able to work a flexible shift until mid to late January. They need tons of people because we all have to return that blinking Rudolph sweater we get from grandma every year (or is that just me?).

So, my advice would be to be honest with yourself and the employers on your availability. I talked to a couple of employers while browsing the malls… All still needed people and surprisingly there were interesting jobs open. Overnight stocker and floor design associate jobs intrigued me. Imagine working overnight to restock all the new goods for the next day’s rush without the crowds taking the merchandise right out of your hands. The floor design people were like stockers that made things pretty. Dressing mannequins, setting up displays, tearing down displays, setting out promotions…all sound like fun!

There are special souls in this world that like the frenetic nature of the malls – the rush of the crowds, the wafts of pumped-in cinnamon and pine scents in the air, the blinking displays, and the screaming children steadfastly dragged along by their mentally-elsewhere father’s pant legs…If you’re one of these people, why not consider a position as one of Santa’s helpers? Did you know that these greeters, photographers, child wranglers, and parent appeasers make $8.00 – $10.00 an hour for helping to spread holiday cheer? This is also a position that does not usually go until mid-January because once New Year’s Day hits, Santa has to be back at the North Pole…For 3-5 weeks of work part-time, that’s an extra $300-500 of fun money for your efforts. Not bad.

Also, I appreciate the Houstonian effort to bring the North down South with snow villages, ice rinks, and winter festivals. Each of these has opportunities for seasonal employment. The Ice Rink at Discovery Green has traditionally needed over 40 employees to man the ice and concessions. What a great way to enjoy some winter cheer outdoors while making extra money. Now, if they need someone to demonstrate how to make one of those awkward I-don’t-know-how-to-ice-skate splits and fall on their patookus, I will gladly offer my services.

Now, let’s return to the present time in November 2011…

I wanted to include a portion of the original blog post because all of this information still rings true. You may have heard that seasonal employment will be down this year, but remember that data is all relative. Macy’s, for example, is still hiring 78,000 seasonal associates nationwide. Toys R Us and Kohl’s each plan to add 40,000 seasonal employees. That’s a whole heck of a lot of seasonal cheer from our retail employers! Recently, a local news station also ran a story on seasonal employment supporting these numbers and stressing that the time to apply is NOW.

Some people may be reluctant to consider seasonal employment as an option. But, I can offer this…getting out into the world and living “in the season” can not only provide some additional income and diversify your skill set; it can lift your spirits. Collectively, we are experiencing a distraught financial and job market. However, collectively we can also help each other through it…and I know no better time to sing a song, dance like you mean it, and smile just because someone smiled at you than the Winter Holidays. So take a chance, and visit your local Workforce Solutions center for information on available seasonal jobs and, by golly, you might just find that you enjoy being an elf!

Danny Zendejas is the Senior Business Consultant specializing in the Education Industry for Workforce Solutions in the Houston metropolitan area. He has over eight years of experience in workforce development and is a native of San Antonio, Texas.



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