Job Search Strategies: Holiday parties

Aurora Donnelly is a solo practitioner always looking forward to the next exciting transition.

For the past month or so, most businesses, law firms included, have been hosting holiday parties.  From the simple potluck meal in the lunchroom to the black tie gala at a sumptuous venue, most people participate in some social gathering at work to celebrate the holidays.

You either look forward to these occasions or you try desperately to find a reason not to attend.  Most of us feel somewhere in between: it can be an obligation of working life but we are still a little excited to be able to connect with fellow workers without a work reason.

Offices have become highly impersonal.  Having the occasion to participate in a social gathering, even if attendance is mandatory, helps restore human connection and may create camaraderie.  In a way, a good holiday party is an amenity for employees who may otherwise never be able to attend a certain venue.  Some organizations sponsor trips to exotic locations or cruises for employees during the holidays,although this practice has become rare in the current economic climate.

Some parties become interesting memories, in particular those that involve drinking and inappropriate behavior and turn into Madmen-type mayhem.  I.e., someone decides this is the right time to drink oneself brave and to become close with a lucky co-worker.  Or a competitive individual finds this to be the right forum to challenge a rival.

Usually, these events stay at the party and are not trotted out for examination after the new year.  Though I have had people remind me of a memorable Christmas gala at the New York Public Library which I would rather had been lost in oblivion.  If you have been working for a few years, you probably have your own cache of holiday party memories that you trot out to chuckle at once a year.

For some of us, there is no work holiday party because we are not currently associated with a firm or a company.  But even two can make a party and there are always people from prior jobs whose celebrations you can attach yourself to.  You probably belong to some hobby group, or have music buddies or fellow wine lovers that you party with and will have as much or more fun as at the holiday work party.

The point is to congregate, enjoy seeing people, maybe get a little crazy and definitely don’t think about a job search til next year, it will come soon enough.

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