I love this time of year. The holidays bring festivities, more fun events than usual, and extra time with family and friends. But sometimes, that time with family and friends – especially family – can be stressful when you are in a period of transition in your life.
Whether you are newly out of (or into) a relationship, struggling with the decision or ability to procreate, or in job-hunting mode for whatever reason, the influx of questions about your life from that well-meaning cousin or mother-in-law can feel downright overwhelming.
Some questions have a tendency to make you wonder where people get off, but then you remember your Great Aunt Gertrude has never had a filter, so why should we expect her to start now?!
Like Amanda, working with people through times of professional transition is something I do best. Even when you are ready to make a move, it is not generally an easy process. When the decision to make a change wasn’t necessarily your own, that can make things even trickier.
I am here to help you navigate the questions of genuine (read: annoying) concern from your family, while you spend wonderful and joyful times together this holiday season! With this bit of encouragement, perhaps you can avoid running into the guest room to hide under your niece’s chenille baby blanket with a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.
WHEN YOU’VE BEEN LAID OFF JUST BEFORE THE HOLIDAYS . . .
This is the best-case scenario when it comes to dealing with family. Remind anyone who wants to know that you did not choose the situation you are in – it chose you, for better or worse.
As cliché as it is, everything DOES happen for a reason, and this is a great time to remind folks of that. A layoff is easy to explain on a resumé – it has nothing to do with you personally, nor is it a negative reflection of your work abilities.
Let your concerned Uncle Claude know that he has nothing to worry about, and you will be back on the proverbial horse in no time at all.
WHEN YOU’RE “STILL” JOB HUNTING IN DECEMBER AND “SHOULDN’T YOU HAVE SETTLED ON SOMETHING BY NOW?”
Isn’t it wonderful when everyone around us seems to know everything there is to know about everything? “Why yes, Grandma, I am absolutely THRILLED to be broke and without a job this Christmas, thank you for asking!”
This is an excellent time to remind your Thanksgiving tablemates that you know your worth, and don’t have any plans to settle. Cut this conversation off at the pass with a simple, “you all will be the first to know when I land my dream job – I promise!” as you head to the kitchen for more baked brie.
IF YOU’RE CURRENTLY WORKING, BUT ARE UNDEREMPLOYED OR LOOKING FOR A CHANGE
Luckily for you, this is one your family may not be privy to. Your desire for a change can stay between you and your MacBook.
Use any extra days off around this time to send a quick holiday greeting (an actual hand-written card can work wonders!) to someone you interviewed with a while back, or send a mentoring request to that LinkedIn contact you would love to work for or learn from one day.
Not only do you have more time on your hands right now, but so may these people. Invite a recruiter for a cup of coffee. Even if they aren’t able to meet you, the gesture was there!
Statistically, this is not a terrible time to be job hunting. While yes, many business operations do slow down during the holidays, HR and recruiting teams are almost always hard at work (pats self on back).
Recruiters may have quotas to fill before year-end, and companies may need a body-in-a-seat to justify the position budget for the following year. I started my current full-time position, which I absolutely love, on December 27th, so you never know!
The bottom line is this: keep your chin up, be confident that things will pan out as they should, and don’t waste this time away.
Get a jump on 2018, while still making time for some seasonal fun. Even if you do wind up hiding from your ever-inquisitive yet lovely mom in the guest room with that bottle of Whitehaven, save that story for your girlfriends when your new boss asks “how were your holidays?”
Reagan Michaelis is a Human Resources Director based in Jacksonville Beach, FL. She has her MBA, is SPHR-certified, and received her Bachelor’s degree from UGA in Athens (a.k.a. Heaven on Earth). When she is not working at her full-time gig, you can find her working her side hustle (HireSuccess Career Consulting), hitting the beach, or drinking wine with friends, family, and her Maltese, Mollie.