We all know that holiday season can be stressful. Financial concerns over gift-giving, travel costs, or hosting events/parties are ever-present. Anyone that’s been in an airport during the week of Christmas is likely to suffer mild PTSD; even those of us trying to travel by car/bus/train can get caught out by traffic or unexpected Winter storms. And let’s not forget the family gatherings..
As tough as all of that can be, it’s much more difficult when you’ve lost your job.
How to tell your family that you can’t afford the plane ticket home? Or stressing out about buying gifts for family and friends when your unemployment just ran out? Declining yet another invitation to a holiday dinner out because you can’t afford it?
Making things worse is that available job opportunities often start drying up around December 10th and don’t return until early-mid January. Many companies go through fiscal year-end in December which often includes a freeze on hiring until the new fiscal year starts. A lot of hiring managers take the last two weeks of the year off, meaning interview loops don’t happen and hiring decisions aren’t made.
Know someone out of work this holiday season? Here are a few possible gifts to give them:
- Read a book that really helped you in your career search? Buy them a copy.
- Going to a holiday or NYE party? Invite them along. These events are great ways to meet people and network. I made two networking connections at a party I attended last night.
- Give them a gift card to Starbucks… If they are managing their job search well, a job seeker will likely be spending a fair amount of each week meeting people for coffee. That cost can add up.
- …or to a decent department store. Someone who is looking for a job may end up going to the same company multiple times for interviews, and hence need multiple outfits; but if they’ve been out of work for awhile they aren’t likely to spend money on new clothes. A new shirt, sweater, or blouse doesn’t have to be expensive–but it can be both a great addition to their professional wardrobe as well as a nice boost of confidence.
- Take them to do something you know they enjoy but aren’t doing due to the cost. Go tour the new art museum exhibit and get lunch–your treat. Get a massage or mani/pedis; take them to see a football or soccer game. Go see a holiday concert or show together.
- Get them out of the house. It’s easy to self-isolate this time of year when it seems like doing things with friends always = spending $ you don’t have. It doesn’t necessarily have to be that way, though. How much does it cost to walk through a neighborhood that has great holiday light displays? Or (in many communities) to watch the holiday ships parade past? To go to a church and listen to a holiday music program? Or even just invite them over to watch a classic holiday movie with a big bowl of popcorn and some ‘adult’ hot cocoa?
Tis the season for giving. A little bit of thought on your part will be viewed with immense gratitude and appreciation by your out of work friend. Even more when they get a great new job thanks to your help.