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Is it wrong to enjoy the holiday season while unemployed?

I posted this article about a year ago and I think the advice is relevant again as the holiday season commences in Australia…

Is it wrong to enjoy the holiday season over Christmas and New Year while unemployed? Short answer? No!

However, many of us who have gone through job loss – and subsequent search – very often feel guilty if we are not searching for jobs 24/7 even over the ‘quieter’ Christmas and New Year period.

What makes it worse is that we tend to project by saying things like ‘If I don’t have a job by Christmas it may be March or April at the very earliest before I can start work!’ This can be very distracting and demotivating and it constantly plays on our minds even when we should be having some down time and enjoying this wonderful time of year.

My advice – as someone who has been in transition (unemployed) over 2 summer vacations – is to:

  1. Take a break and stop to ‘smell the roses‘ – It is holiday season after all. The sun is shining (well, some of the time) and the kids are on school holidays (again). When you get another job – and you will get another job – you may not have the luxury of such a break again. Therefore, enjoy the time for what it is…Time off.

  2. Do some networking – The summer break runs for around 6-8 weeks and during this time, people who are working are in and out of the office but usually don’t take more than 2-3 weeks leave in one period. People take leave and come back and then others go and return. Logically, most businesses are quieter over this time and in fact some even close down for a mandatory period. This means that if people are in the office they are generally more ‘available’ for networking meetings, are also more relaxed and are likely able to give you more time as well.

  3. Keep busy – Give yourself some projects around the home or things you can do with your family such as day trips or other economical activities. When you are busy, you achieve things (and it’s always nice to tick things off the proverbial list and to feel a sense of accomplishment).

By continuing to network over the summer break, you keep busy in job search and are building a platform for the new year when others who only focus on the visible job market (on-line ads and recruiters) are downing tools, thinking that ‘no jobs are available over Christmas and the New Year.’ You will start 2016 with considerable momentum in your job search and it will ultimately pay dividends.

The guilt aspect of enjoying some time off is ameliorated because you are still busy, albeit in different ways. Having to prepare for, conduct and follow up on networking meetings keeps you busy and on your game, not to mention potentially leading to an introduction or referral that could result in that next great role…

So, by all means enjoy the break and make the most of down time with friends and family, but also be sure to meet with, talk with, engage with…network with others. Wishing you all a safe and happy festive season and new year!

For any help with job search, see my website at or contact me directly by clicking here. You may also be interested in my book, ‘Fired to Hired, The Guide to Effective Job Search for the Over 40s’ which was recently published and is full of practical, no-nonsense job search tips for the over 40s. You can purchase the book from this link or directly from Amazon or Booktopia among others.

The Career Medic – Taking the worry out of job search for the over 40s

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