If you are like a lot of people, you’re not feel particularly festive when you’re out of work. The idea of putting on your best clothes, hosting a party that will set you back more than a few bucks and smiling all through it all while you’re financially stretched and emotionally turbulent isn’t exactly enticing.
Well, I’m here to tell you friend that a Christmas party, a Winter gathering or if you are of another faith; well, whatever you’d normally get together and celebrate is just what you need professionally and personally. No don’t click the ‘close’ button and read something more in line with your brooding temperament; read on and take heart.
First let’s make the argument for those around you if you’ve got a significant other and/or children. Yes YOU are unemployed and yes, what happens to one person in the family affects everyone and no, I’m not expecting you or anyone else to fake sincerity the entire time you are hosting, pretending to be 100% joyful when you’re concerned about how long this unemployment will last. You owe it to others, though, to do your best to keep some things as normal as you can, and if celebrating with friends and extended family is something you normally do, keep your plans.
Christmas parties can be done on a budget much like many other things in life. It’s the people gathered, not necessarily what they are eating or drinking that is important; the socializing, the camaraderie, the friendships. I’m guessing you don’t want to feel guilty about cancelling things; something new to feel bad about in addition to being out of work. Of course not.
Now for you personally, this party you are hosting, (or perhaps one you are going to at someone else’s home) is a really good time for you to take one of two approaches. You may decide that this is just a really good opportunity to forget as much as you can about being unemployed and have some laughs, enjoy time with those around you and relax. On the other hand, you might decide to add to the mix some conversation regarding your search; put out some feelers without too much pressure and see if anything productive comes out of this in the days to come.
The one nice thing about sharing a little bit about your job search is that you can get some really supportive feedback from those people you open up to. These aren’t strangers after all but people who care about you and want you to be successful. If they can help you out they will; you know that instinctively. If they can’t do anything to actually help you track down a job, they sure can support you with positive and encouraging words.
Get over the feeling that you don’t want anyone to know about your lack of employment; you could have a lot worse things happening in your life and I refuse to give you examples; let your mind run silly. Now I know being out of work is a time of anxiety, added stress and pressure. I’ve been out of work over the course of my lifetime on multiple occasions myself and know of what I speak. Yes it was hard and at times I didn’t live up to the message I’m passing on to you. That doesn’t mean the message itself is wrong.
Look, staying home shut in with more than just your doors and walls keeping out the cold and wind isn’t healthy. It sounds entirely counter to what you might be tempted to do but talk with people. Get chatting and communicating. Work your interpersonal skills and there’s no better place to start than a gathering of people in good moods with good food and beverages. Go easy on the alcohol so you don’t start running on at the mouth; especially if you’re not so positive when you’ve had more than you normally do.
You might find of course that someone at a party or gathering over the Christmas period can and does help your job search and if so that’s wonderful. More often however, you won’t get hired at a Christmas party nor will there be a phone call at 9:30a.m. the next day passing on a job lead. However, you might get help and support in other ways that show those around you care. You might find your driveway cleared one morning of the snow that fell overnight. Maybe it’s an invitation to join a friend at the gym, tickets to take the kids to a local hockey game, a call to fill in for a missing player in the mixed volleyball league. These are small but real ways friends help friends stay involved, connected and ways to say, “I’m thinking about you.”
You will feel better more often than not if you give yourself a chance. If you go places or host parties and make up your mind ahead of time to be miserable you will unfortunately predict your own demise and have a miserable time; not to mention those around you. Okay so you’re not at your best, so what? If it was a friend of yours you’d hope to see them at a gathering and you’d go out of your way to be supportive and empathize with them.
Give it a shot; or rather give yourself one.
Written By Kelly Mitchell