J.D. “Jim” Fox, Head Coach, Next Act Coaching
I’ll bet you’ve heard this advice: “Never look for a new job over the holidays. Everyone goes away, and everything shuts down.”
That hasn’t been my experience. I’ve been hired in December more than once.
True, some employers are frantic right now trying to enhance their year-end numbers, lacking some of the critical employees on holiday vacations (and its often the nutty use-it-or-lose it-by-January 1 flavor of vacation).
But not everyone. I’ve seen April 1 – March 31 fiscal years. Many companies do allow vacation time to carry over. Some are even busy recruiting temps to put up the holiday ornaments and staff the potluck lunches and hope none of the regulars drink too much at the holiday party — though some have bagged the party in favor of a token gift card with a machine-signed greeting from the CEO. Whatever; it all comes together at once with too few hands on deck. Or not — the work may be done and people are in their offices looking at their shoes.
Here’s the point: any generalization about this time of year can be shot down. Contradictions bloom in the cold of December.
Or, put another way, businesses can be just as kooky as families around this time of year. What does that mean for a job hunter? This coach says stay at it, but lighten up.
Don’t expect an immediate response if you file a cover letter and resume on a posted position. Not that you would anyway.
Don’t be surprised if you don’t hear back from someone who promised they’d get back to you. Not that you would anyway.
Don’t expect honest feedback if you’re a finalist and don’t get an offer. Not that you would anyway.
But there’s this: sometimes people have more time to talk with you. Sometimes people do want to finish a job search and make an offer so they can start a new colleague right after the holidays. Sometimes angels do get their wings.
So, roll with it, lead with your head, and follow your gut — just like always.
And don’t get thrown by unusual, seemingly random requests. I fondly remember spending one December 23rd undergoing a battery of psychological profile exams, required at that time for any director-or-higher employment at New York City’s largest nonprofit. “It’s how we keep out the crazies,” I was later told.
I got that job, and after a while requested a copy of the administering psychologist’s evaluation of me. Shot in the dark, I thought, but they gave me the whole file. They had bagged the procedure by then; they also bagged the VP of HR who initiated it.
I review it this time of year, just for laughs, professional validation I’m not crazy, and a reminder of what we endure in holiday job hunts.
Ho Ho Ho, indeed.