Surviving the Holiday Season–Joyfully

I always find this time of year to be very stressful, though not for the reasons you might think. Being Jewish, I don’t have a large x-mas shopping list. In fact if anything, this is the time of year when I am happiest not to be a Christian (too much shopping pressure.) What makes this time of year hard for me is that I am in the recruiting business. Since very little hiring takes place between Thanksgiving and the New Year, this is my “dry season.”

In the past, I have written about the importance of using the holiday season as a time to focus on relationships. If you are in the job market, this is a good time to keep up your visibility so that you will be remembered when hiring decisions are made in the New Year. If you are trying to build your practice, the holidays provide many natural ways to connect with your clients and referral sources.

This year, however, I am doing things a little differently. While I have done a lot of marketing to keep up my visibility as we move into the New Year, I’m also taking time off. And so far, it is having a very positive effect on my normal holiday malaise.

Last week, we celebrated the bar mitzvah of my oldest child. Since it is a slower time of year, I took a couple of days off the help my wife prepare for the festivities. I put work out of my mind and focused on meeting and greeting friends and relatives as they arrived from out of town. On the day of the event, I was completely consumed with the ceremony, supporting my son, and being very present. A day later, I again focused on entertaining out of town guests and work was on the far back burner.

Today, a week later, I am still glowing. It was a great weekend and I was so proud of my son. While I didn’t spend as much time at work these past two weeks, when I was at work, I was very focused.

Tomorrow, we leave on a long planned 2 week vacation in the sunshine. If we had stuck around, I would have nibbled away at some of my searches; but in all likelihood, I would have also felt very stressed out that none of my candidates were getting interviews or offers.

When I return, I expect to be refreshed and ready for action. I do not plan to be checking a blackberry or calling in for messages frequently. In the past, I would have felt inclined to do so. But this year, I’m planning to enjoy myself.

So if you are slow at work, here is my advice: Enjoy! Find something you like and do it. If not now, when?

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