7 ways a holiday hater can show empathy in the festive season
“Bah Humbug!” This year the holiday hater has to show empathy
OK. We get it. You hate the holidays. But many think of the festive season as wonderful professional down time not dead time. A quiet interlude to catch up, go to some parties and take a few days vacation or even a staycation. They want to relax and spend time with their families and friends, kick back and enjoy the festivities. But this year things are a bit different for them.
If you are a holiday hater for you this period is normally a nightmare. The thought fills you with dread. You are very much in the Macawber camp of “Bah! Humbug” You might have a different cultural background. Office parties are the worst The commercialism disappoints you. For you it is a period of endurance which seems never-ending. Every Christmas cookie, mince-pie, or bite of stollen is a small piece of agony. There is even a spot for the holiday hater in the Urban Dictionary.
2020 is different
But this year things have changed. Everyone is having to scale back and we are all caught up in social distancing protocols so complex not even world-leading code-breakers like Alan Turing could decipher them. Tiers and cuddle bubbles are now part of our daily vocabulary, along with masks and hand sanitizer. No one can travel at top seasonal prices and get caught up in all the delays, shopping crowds and the brouhaha. Cookies and champagne will be shared with a very small group of family or friends in a tier or a bubble. The office party will be on Zoom or outside. For those that love the holidays they are filled with sadness and regret. Many can’t see close family because of travel restrictions or health regulations. Some made plans and then had to change them with even more layers of disappointment and frustration.
So what can the holiday hater do?
#1 Change your mindset
The festive season might not be your thing, but you can help people who could use support. This year you have to change your mindset. A colleague looking for cover, an additional pair of hands to meet a deadline, especially if they have been doing home schooling or a client who needs a favour. Be generous. You will feel great! Pay it forward and walk in their shoes. See the point about empathy.
#2 Attend the online festivities
Yep! Go right out and do it! Probably a huge number of parties will have shifted online. Identify those that will be strategically useful. You don’t have to accept all invitations. Log in graciously, take advantage of them, work the Zoom room and network. Show some empathy, and that you understand many people are struggling. Some may have lost family members. Then leave early. You are at home so you don’t have to over indulge. While everyone is having one too many in their homes and crying into their eggnog, you can make useful professional contacts.
While the seasonal spirit passes you by, you can still use it as an opportunity to reconnect with colleagues past and present and wish them well for the upcoming year, whatever it might hold. Everyone likes the New Year right?
#4 Show appreciation
Now is the time to look back on the year and show appreciation to friends and colleagues. It has been a pretty poor year for most people. A LinkedIn endorsement or recommendation, or even a note of thanks will show recognition. This is a year when morale is at an all time low. Make a contribution to improving that will make everyone feel good.
#5 Send good wishes
It’s a good time to send a greeting to your network. It can be professionally and seasonally neutral, but tap into the good will and bonhomie of the time which people are looking for to escape the never ending bad news. Your message can even be hand written. Who knows, someone might reciprocate!
Many organisations look for volunteers to support food shelters, cheer up the elderly or make hospital visits within current social distancing protocols. Check out what is possible in your location. This year your efforts will count more than ever and you never know who you might meet. This year volunteers are also being asked to support phone banks and phone trees to reach out to people who are isolated and away from their families. This could be your “calling.”
#7 Arrange networking meetings for January
Be proactive. The holiday period quite often means that people are swamped with invitations and obligations even in semi-lockdown situations they may have been moved online. Some are happy to defer and after the excesses of December it’s something to look forward to in the New Year. In 2021 many are anticipating even tighter restrictions. This is a good time for positive forward thinking! And heaven knows we need it. Hopefully as vaccines are rolled out, quarantine will be a thing of the past.
You might be holiday hater but for those who love this time of the year it will be especially tough. Think of them.
If you want to take advantage of the holidays season for job search get in touch!
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