Your Action Plan to stay Focused and Motivated during the upcoming Holiday Season

By Jack J. Kelly

It seems crazy to say but we are heading fast into the end of 2017.  In a couple of weeks we will be stuffing ourselves during our Thanksgiving food fest, then opening presents at Christmas and Chanukah, and then boom; 2018!

Most people use this time period to put off their job search and place their career goals on hold.  The holidays become a universally accepted excuse to put our work lives on cruise control.  It becomes too easy to push difficult tasks into the future and pretend that in the New Year we will suddenly become miraculously self-motivated and fulfill all our goals overnight.  The holiday season represents the best time to procrastinate without anyone giving you grief or questioning your slacker attitude.

If you are reading this, then clearly you are not average and this does not describe you.  You are self-motivated, driven, and have a desire to succeed.  You don’t harbor ambitions to gain ten pounds, watch Elf the movie for the hundredth time, catch every single college and NFL game, or binge watch the entire new season of Stranger Things on Netflix.  You, my friend, are still executing your career and job search game plan!  Instead of gaining weight, you are at the empty gym working out.  You are calling recruiters at the time when nobody else is, because they are distracted by trying to purchase the ‘As seen on TV’ colorful light set that makes your house light up in all different pretty and sparkly colors.

To be fair, in my twenty years of recruiting experience, the pre-Thanksgiving day through the holidays, up until New Year’s day is one of the slowest hiring periods.  The job market slows to a crawl as people, as weird as this sounds, actually take off from work to spend time with their  families.  Crazy, right?  They get caught-up in the holiday spirit and stay glued to Amazon, spend hours searching for their favorite goofy Christmas sweater, baking cookies, and decorating trees.

Well, we can still do that but we will also remain steadfastly dedicated to your job search and career.  Here is a quick guide of what to do during the holidays to keep you focused on your job search and career:

  • Review and refresh your LinkedIn profile.
  • Update and enhance your resume.
  • Contact and set-up meetings with top recruiters in your specialty.
  • Let your network know that you are open to opportunities so that they can keep an eye out for you.
  • Connect with recruiters, human resources and other people on LinkedIn that can help you with your search.
  • Take advantage of the holiday sales and splurge on a new interview wardrobe.
  • Take inventory of where you want to go in your career and design a career game plan.
  • Discretely feel around at work to determine if your managers will offer you a promotion, raise, and bonus.
  • Practice your elevator pitch. For hiring managers, now is the time to act.
  • Remember, not taking action is really a decision to maintain the status quo.

For those who are not searching for a job, here are things to keep in mind to succeed and advance in your current job.

Have a Positive Attitude.  It is too easy to become bitter, jaded, cynical and angry with modern day corporate life.  The people who transcend the negativity, remain positive and keep moving forward tend to succeed.  Think of your own personal circle of friends, family and coworkers.  The fifty five year old guy in the cubicle, (who looks eighty five), who always shoots down an idea grumbles that the new initiative won’t work, acts surly and sarcastic in meetings, always seems stuck in his job.  In fact, you try to avoid him every chance you can. Whereas the person who comes up with a strategy, a sound and creative game plan and is generally positive, upbeat and motivated, seems to acquire friends, allies, and promotions.

Build your Network.  Spend time cultivating relationships.  Real relationships.  Find mentors, enhance your social interactions with colleagues from your department, as well as other divisions, and treat underlings, peers, and administrative assistants with courtesy and respect.  There will be times when you need help in your career and it may come from places you never expected.  By building a large diversified network of people who care about you, you will increase the chances of help in the future.

Keep Learning.  Business is changing more rapidly than ever.  It is imperative that you continue learning to stay relevant and hopeful, ahead of the curve.  This may be accomplished through obtaining a further academic degree, certifications, licenses, or simply reading voraciously about the business that you work in.

Avoid toxic people.  Stay away from gossips, blaming others for your mistakes and problems, political in-fighting, vendetta, career sabotage, and time wasting game playing.  It may work on television or in the movies, but it always comes back to haunt you in the real world.

Take Risks.  Complacency is a killer.  You have to continually push yourself outside of your comfort zone; or else accept a career of stagnation, monotony and mediocrity.

Maintain your Core Ethics and Values.  You will be labeled by the firms you work with and the company you keep.  If you are pushed to do things you are not comfortable with, don’t do it; the reputational risk is far too great.

Volunteer for Everything.  Keep learning new skills, meeting new people, pursuing new assignments, going to conferences and seminars, and embracing career opportunities.  Fresh ideas, responsibilities and challenges will open your eyes to opportunities that you never knew existed.

As a bonus, I’d like to offer 35 motivational tips to keep you focused during this slow-moving time period:

  1. Successful people refuse to make excuses for their own mistakes
  2. Successful people learn, grow, and constantly strive to improve obsessively
  3. Successful people refuse to whine when things don’t go their way
  4. Successful people figure out ways to win
  5. Successful people refuse to copy what other people have done to be successful
  6. Successful people ignore the so-called wisdom of the crowd
  7. Successful people refuse to stay down when they get knocked down or fail
  8. Successful people become stronger from their failures
  9. Successful people refuse to avoid doing the hard work that success demands
  10. Successful people refuse to adopt the thinking of the status quo
  11. Successful people think for themselves
  12. Successful people refuse to ignore their own weaknesses and bad habits
  13. Successful people constantly work on self-improvement
  14. Successful people refuse to pretend that they are perfect or better than anyone else
  15. Successful people refuse to look down on others
  16. Successful people encourage and support the people around them
  17. Successful people refuse to be discouraged
  18. Successful people drive themselves and don’t need cheerleaders
  19. Successful people don’t worry about what others think about them
  20. Successful people refuse to let money make them arrogant
  21. Successful people maintain their integrity at all costs
  22. Successful people refuse to complain about things that are outside of their control
  23. Successful people refuse to waste their time doing things that don’t matter
  24. Successful people refuse to try to be good at everything at the same time
  25. Successful people refuse to give up when things get tough
  26. Successful people stay focused and disciplined
  27. Successful people work towards goals and not weekend partying
  28. Successful people refuse to let anything stop them
  29. Successful people refuse to think about defeat or success as final
  30. Successful people set goals and grind away to meet them
  31. Successful people refuse to blame other people for their own mistakes
  32. Successful people refuse to let current chaos distract them from future success
  33. Successful people refuse to lose sight of why they are doing what they are doing
  34. Successful people find ways to keep themselves inspired and motivated when things are difficult
  35. Successful people think positively
  36. Successful people sometimes find and reprint motivational tips without giving the appropriate attributions because he forgot where he got them from

Please feel free to send an email to or call me at 212.997.3166 if you would like to talk.

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