Tis the season for jolly, jingly joy! And, oh yeah….your job.
Yes, even if the rest of the world seems to be reveling, in most offices work still needs to be done.
In the first of this three-part series, we’ll talk about mistakes to avoid during the holiday season.
1) Making a Big Deal of Your Belief in the Holidays’ Religious Significance or Lack Thereof
Do you believe that Jesus is the Reason for the Season? God bless you. But not everyone does, so don’t make an overt show of promoting your religious beliefs.
And this goes both ways. Agnostic? A celebrator of the Solstice? Also, awesome for you. But try to refrain from complaining or making derogatory remarks at people who celebrate different holidays.
The menorah or tree is not designed to mock your beliefs.
A cheery “Merry Christmas” is not meant to offend.
In fact, for many, their holiday traditions are more cultural than religious so take them in stride. Live and let live is something we can all agree on.
2) Participating in “Cyber Monday” Style Shopping
Cyber Monday is so 1998. Because the truth is, there is no longer any reason to online shop at work anymore.
Did you know that Cyber Monday was invented by the National Retail Federation to expand the gluttony of “Black Friday” when people give thanks for what they have and then hit the mall the next day in the pursuit of more, more, more?
The premise behind it was that your office likely had a kicking high-speed connection, as opposed to your “you’ve got mail” dial-up service at home, making it much easier to shop from your office.
That smartphone you’re reading this article on? Yep, it works as a shopping device, as does the tablet, laptop and all your other TIMs (Tiny Internet Machines). There’s no reason to shop from work when you have the worldwide marketplace at your fingertips.
3) Missing the Holiday Party
Smart employers have scaled back on the “lampshade” ragers of the past, and many holiday fetes now consist of a less excessive event such as a lunch or family get together.
Even if you’re tempted to skip the festivities (you have a conflicting celebration, you are tired of the people you work with, you have a budget report due), don’t.
Whatever your boss thinks sounds fun..whether it’s a lovely catered lunch or a freezing cold sleighride…IS fun to you. You might think you have an airtight excuse but your manager and coworkers will notice if you are missing.
And if you’re there and they are serving alcohol? You know the drill. One or two glasses of wine max. Leave the red nose and reindeer games to Rudolph and his pals.
4) Blaming Your Lack of Holiday Prep on Your Job
Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukah or the “Festivus for the Rest of Us,” the date is the same every year. There’s no reason to feel like the big day came out of nowhere.
Be like the Fat Guy in the Red Suit and make your list and check it twice. Look at your monthly work and social obligations and just as you put those on your calendar, add in a block of time for decorating, shopping, card addressing, baking or whatever else is important to you.
And as always, break out the multitasking!
Even though I don’t advocate online shopping during work, there’s no reason you can’t knock out a few gifts on a lunch break. When I worked downtown, I would use the holiday season as an excuse to drive my car to work and park in a fabulous covered garage. Most of them validate your parking with a purchase, so I would buy a gift each day headed to my car after work, or during a quick break, and voila, each gift came with free parking!
Look at each holiday task as a bright spot in your normal work life, instead of one more thing on your to-do list, and your holiday spirit will grow exponentially.
Finally, remember that though the holidays can add some camaraderie and spirit to the office, you are still there to work. So, whether you love the holidays or tolerate them, think of your workplace as a respite from the craziness that comes from excess family, food and frivolity!
• • •
Series on Working Through the Holiday Season
- Part 1: Christmas Holiday Productivity: Five Ways to Make the Most of the “Wasted Week”
- Part 2: Gift Exchange at the Office: Avoid the Gift Gaffe
- Part 3: How the Grinch Stole the Holiday Spirit: Four Office Mistakes to Avoid During the Holiday Season
by Cathie Ericson