If you are currently unemployed or under-employed, I’m guessing that some of the first thoughts running through your head might be, “I’m looking for a job and super stressed out. The job market isn’t great. I can’t afford good gifts. Everyone is wanting a piece of my time. . . What makes this the most wonderful time of the year!”
Why would I think these thoughts were running through your head? Because that is exactly what I was thinking and how I was feeling when I found myself unemployed during the holiday season! You might be a little surprised by this admission if we have ever met, but there were many days when I had to struggle to put a smile on my face. 🙂 In the process, I learned a lot about how to keep myself and my job search on track. I’d like to share some tips and tricks I used so you can do the same, which hopefully will make it a little bit easier to get into the Christmas Spirit.
Make a List (and check it twice)
During my job search, I found that I got pretty down and depressed by not seeing any results. There were plenty of days when it was easier to pull the covers back over my head and stay in bed, than to get up and face another day of failure. One of the things that helped get me out of this slump was making a daily to-do list. I put “get out of bed” right at the top. When I had accomplished this, I rewarded myself with my first check-mark of the day and considered it a small, but real, success. I soon found this little motivation was just what I needed to get myself back on track.
So why not give it a try? Make yourself a daily to-do list, and give yourself a certain block of time for each item on the list, then check off items as you go through it.
Gifts don’t have to be elaborate and expensive in order to be well received. The best gifts are usually those that come from the heart. When I see people, I make it a point of smiling at them. I consider my smile one little way of “giving back” to the people around me. So in this holiday season, don’t let money, time, stress, etc. stand in the way of being a giver. Take yourself out of the equation and put others first. It will often have the effect of boosting your own morale. Smile at the people you encounter and offer kind words and encouragement. You can also volunteer somewhere, make something special for someone, the list of giving possibilities is endless. Hopefully you will discover, as I did, that in giving of yourself to others, you give yourself the gift of feeling good!
Spread Good Cheer
Holiday get-togethers are everywhere you turn. Think of these as perfect opportunities for networking.
Now when it comes to social functions, I am more like the caterpillar in its chrysalis than the social butterfly. Attending functions seems almost as appealing to me as going to the dentist for a root canal. So, I had to learn to take the focus off myself.
Just this past weekend, I attended a Christmas gathering. I went in with the idea that I would stay for an hour so as not to be rude, then say my goodbyes and get out of there. Initially, I sat off to the side by myself and watched other people socialize. Then I noticed someone else sitting alone. I didn’t want them to feel awkward or left out, so I went over and chatted with them. Other people joined the conversation. The subjects flexed and so did participants. The next thing I knew I had been at the gathering for several hours, had met quite a few new people, and was having fun – despite myself!
Networking doesn’t have to be a planned out attack. It often works best when it flows naturally and conversations are based on some common ground. And most job connections are made this way.
So this holiday season, remember to make that list, give of yourself to others, and get social to spread good cheer. No more “Bah Humbug”! It will pay off, as it has for me.
With that being said, I’d like to wrap up this year wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, from me and all of us at Workforce Solutions!
Bobi Cook is a Regional Facilitator for Workforce Solutions in the Houston – Galveston area. She currently conducts job skills seminars throughout the 13 county Gulf Coast region utilizing her MBA and over ten cumulative years experience as a professional educator, quality systems manager within the automotive industry, and small business administrator to help job seekers develop and implement successful job search campaigns.