Don’t Take the Holidays Off

It seems like every year about this time, I begin to hear the same false myth that is very common with job seekers. I am not sure if it is due to the colder weather or the holiday commercials. (By the way, I am so glad that we are exchanging the ubiquitous campaign ads for holiday commercials. Especially the Belks commercial that really brings back memories.) But I get the same comment whether they are out of work or seeking a new position. “I can take the holidays off because no one hires during the holidays.”

As I mentioned, this is TERRIBLE advice to go by. Please see the attached link for some GOOD advice about how the holidays may be the PERFECT time for you to advance your job search. (Get Hired During The Holiday Season? Yes, You Can!)

I think that there are two big reasons why you should use the holidays to seek that next position. The holidays, through family get-togethers, company parties, or other get-togethers, allow you to run into people that you may otherwise not meet. Prepare yourself for these opportunities. Compose and practice your elevator speech and prepare a personal business card that has your name, contact information (I would advise your email address), and title or profession, but does not promote your company. This is for you, not your employer, especially if you do not have one or if you are exploring changing careers.

The second reason is to just keep your momentum up. Application processes can take a long time, don’t lift of the gas. Making contacts with people who can help network you into that company you desire can take time and are often done when you are not expecting.

Distinctive Documents mentions a third reason. That is you may face less competition during the holidays. Use that to your benefit. The holidays are when many people lose their focus when it comes to careers. Being prepared and having a plan can help you use the hustle and bustle of the holidays to your advantage.

Now I do think there is a reason in favor of taking the holidays off. It is if you are just burned out. Seeking a job, jumping through hoops, and riding the ups and downs can take a lot of physical and emotional energy. The holidays can be a great time to enjoy the season and time with the family. A time to recharge your batteries. But I would advise that this would be an exception.

I hope you have a great holiday season. (No it is never too early to talk about the holidays.) Use it to your advantage and maybe a new career will be what you find under the tree this year.

Election Day

Today is Election Day in the US. We have been through several months or even years of hotly divisive rhetoric from both sides. To hear them talk, a victory for the other side will be the undoing of America, of families and freedom, of everything that is good. Yet, we were able to go to work and/or school without fear of riots or burnings. We are led to believe that we will lose rights and our future social security (It seems both sides make these same charges), yet we are not experiencing runs on our banks or people refusing to go to work.

Our elections can bring change, but Americans are able to go through these in peace. We have seen the blood lost and deaths this year in the Arab Springs uprisings that effected many countries. Our elections seem to defuse some of the pressures that our society experience, it is a time when we are able to speak and vote our minds.

The fathers of ourcountry made our government to move like a glacier. Sometimes it is so slow it seems Washington isn’t doing anything. There are no sudden changes or hairpin turns. This is often a source of frustration when we feel that we must change something. Yet it also prevents us from going through many knee jerk changes of opinion that would be a waste of energy and resources and may lead to even more vulnerabilities.

Whichever president gets into office, they will still have to work with a divided Congress and still have to make unpopular decisions with uncertain results. Yet we will see America experience a prosperous time again because the underlying premise of America, freedom and equality, works. That is what we stand for, republican, democrat, libertarian, green; tomorrow we will all be Americans.

Room to Grow

I had the great privilege of leading a workshop at the Pelham Road library this past week. Two of the ladies had recently moved to the area; one from India and one from Germany. It was nice to hear what they liked about Greenville and how welcomed they felt. One of the discussions we had was about how less crowded Greenville is compared to where they are from. The lady from Germany first mentioned it, just to be trumped by Miss India.

This led me to do some research. I went to worldatlas.com. Of course I went to the internet, but not Wikipedia. Wikipedia is good to get information but not facts that you would want to quote. (Disclaimer: Do not hold me to this next week.) Two of the countries listed had population densities of over 1000 people per square mile, but they are very small in land mass. With 873.4 people per square mile, Japan was 17th. India was 18th with 851.0. The United Kingdom was 32nd and Germany was 33rd with 598. China was 53 with 352.5, two and a half times that of the US. The United States was 142nd with 79.55. Canada, our neighbor to the north, has 9 people per square mile. Talking about elbow room.

Comparing European nations with US is not really fair. So I looked at the state’s population density according to worldatlas.com. New Jersey was the most populous with 1170.64 per square mile. Rhode Island was second but who cares. I mean, it’s Rhode Island. Florida was eighth with 340. Our neighboring states, North Carolina was 15th with 189 and Georgia was 18th with 167. Major cities can really affect the numbers when you look to all the land in the mountains of both states. South Carolina was the 20th most populous state with 149.

When you look at the counties in South Carolina, Greenville was the most populous county according to the 2010 census. With 571, Greenville ranks just below Germany if we were comparing her to an European country. Richland is second at 508, Charleston is third at 381, and Spartanburg is fifth at 351. Anderson at 260.6, comes in eighth in the state.

This reminded me of something I read in a golf magazine.(Yes, you can learn things in all sort of places). I believe it was an article by David Feherty, who has a lot of wit with a good dose of insight, who wrote about traveling from Augusta to Texas. He said looking out of the plane; there were vast areas where you could see beautiful undeveloped land that is unheard of in England. That, unlike in England, land will not be a limiting factor to our growth for a long time.

This makes for a very interesting conversation, especially as we and our neighboring states begin to lay claim to the limited resources at our disposal.

One of the benefits to having a more populous area is that we are able to get more varied goods. Each of these ladies mentioned the difficulty of getting spices and food from their home countries in many areas of where they live unless there is a population of expats big enough to have the supplies. They mentioned that Greenville was surprising that for its size, it has a better variety than they had expected.

I have two closing thoughts. First, we all moved here from somewhere. Many, if not most of us, within the last four generations. Even the Indians took land from other tribes. Second, the world is becoming smaller and more mobile. It is better to embrace that than try to fight it. Who knows, at some point that new person could have been your grandmother.