Unemployment refuses to drop below nine percent, which means real unemployment – counting all the people making do, juggling multiple part-time jobs and the people who’ve given up on looking – is probably much closer to 15 percent. This reality, for those of us struggling to make ends meet or to find a job, makes it difficult to be grateful. When you’re in survival mode, it’s pretty tough to step back and reflect.
So, should we be grateful for a job these days, or merely relieved? Should we express that gratitude to a boss? And if we do, will it be viewed as sucking up?
There are many ways to express gratitude. Saying ‘Thank You’ merely skims the surface. It’s necessary, but not sufficient. Do it, certainly, at least once; but don’t go overboard or you’ll look desperate, and don’t do it in front of your colleagues or you’ll look like a suck-up. More meaningful, and requiring more commitment, is to do a great job every day. Show your thanks by demonstrating excellence, by helping others in the workplace who may be struggling, by modeling good behavior.
If you are uncomfortable with the thought of saying ‘Thank You,’ it’s especially important to focus on excellence, and important to be positive. Nothing is more corrosive than a negative attitude; to be thankful is to be positive (within reason without feeling like a complete faker).
If, on the other hand, you are unemployed around the holidays, what is there to be thankful for?
Go back to fundamentals – family, friends, health, life on earth. Give thanks for the things you do have: a good mind, people to share with and talk to, a skill-set you can improve and the energy to change your current situation. Focus not on what is missing; instead, turn up the volume of your job search.
To be thankful and a job hunter during the holidays, consider these action steps:
- The holidays are a natural time to network. You may not be in party mode, but force yourself to go to events where former colleagues will be gathering. The people who know your capabilities and work can be your best contacts in a job search.
- Many professional groups have holiday parties – wrangle an invite and attend. You’ll expand your network, hear about opportunities and expand your comfort zone.
- Set up a few coffees or lunches with people you’ve worked with and ask them to share what they think your strengths are. Take the feedback and use it to revise your resume, cover letters and online profiles.
- If your spouse or partner is headed to a holiday party, join. You’ll meet new people and may hear about opportunities that would otherwise be unavailable.
- Thank yourself. Only by recognizing what is good and meaningful within can you turn your face to the world with confidence.
How are you planning to get through the holiday season? Let us know with your comments below.