Staying Focused on Your Career During the Holidays

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It’s that time of year again! Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks are churning out their specialty eggnog drinks and candy cane-topped donuts…Holiday commercials have started, and you are sitting at work listening to everyone talk about holiday plans.

Maybe you love the holidays and can’t wait to eat Aunt Tina’s green bean casserole.  But many other people despise the holidays for a variety of reasons: financial issues, divorce, shared custody of children,  or recent deaths in the family, just to name a few… For many people, the holidays and commitments they entail create a time management nightmare.

The difficulty becomes when you have issues during the holidays and realize that yes, you have to keep working.  It may become difficult to put aside these problems and focus on work.  Maybe you are a nurse or doctor and have to work during the holidays and hate it; or, maybe your status as “essential personnel” is a fabulous excuse to let you avoid family gatherings.  Be mindful that everyone has different stressors and experiences during the holiday season and all of that can spill over into the workplace.

Ignore the Chaos Around You At Work: Focus on Your Career Goals

Maybe Sally your boss has been particularly harsh.  The truth is, you have no idea what people might be dealing with during the holidays. Maybe her husband is hoping to get a promotion and was just told he wasn’t getting one.  Your co-worker who seems so annoyingly chipper may actually be overcompensating for some tough family issues she is going through at home.

So how do you manage? Focus on your goals and don’t get distracted.  Make a list of your work goals for the months of November and December.  Maybe you work in sales and need to achieve a certain quota for the final quarter.  Perhaps you are an executive and are working out end of the year bonuses.  Take a look at what YOU need to achieve for the next two months in order to meet your work goals.

Next, ignore everything else.  Maybe you are having a difficult time financially and can’t afford a lot of presents.  That’s ok, we have all been there.  Turn your focus on other things and get creative.  Instead of giving gifts, plan to make cookies for everyone on your gift list.

Make Your Career List and Check it Twice

Make a list of what you can do that is career-related to ease the financial stress.  Maybe you can pick up extra shifts or approach your supervisor about that pay increase.

This time of the year is often a time to prepare for upcoming performance evaluations.  One of my clients recently said that he was happy to be working on his resume now because his year-end evaluation was coming and he needed to work on self-promotion.  One tip is to make a list of your strengths and weaknesses.  Be prepared to address work areas you need to focus on with your supervisor.  If you are sensitive to criticism, remind yourself this is an opportunity to improve.

Revise Your Resume

Take time out to revise your resume.  When was it last updated? Have you added your most recent job? Review your resume to see if you have listed all of your achievements at your current job.  Have you received special recognition at work? Did you increase revenue by a remarkable amount? Land a large and sought after account?

Make sure all of these accomplishments are listed on your resume. You never know when the perfect job might come along so you should always be prepared with an updated resume.

~J.O.

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