A Job for the Holidays? How About a Career for Life?
Unless you’ve been living underground, you know it’s the holiday season (even if you do live in a cave, you probably have some festive lights strung up). December is when we want to be with family and loved ones most, exchanging gifts and all kinds of wonderfully unhealthy desserts.
But how are you going to pay for all that stuff? One solution to scrounging is to take a seasonal job. Unfortunately, chasing after seasonal jobs and a bit of cash distracts you from focusing on your long-term goals, like a better career and a higher salary (not a higher hourly wage).
Big retailers, like Wal-Mart and Target, need lots of temporary employees to deal with the big increase in shoppers during this time of year. Let’s not make this a depressing blog all about how awful holiday jobs can be. It’s true that if you need some quick cash, a holiday job can be a legitimate solution to your problem. You might even meet some interesting people in a similar position as you.
But are you going to do this every year? Or every time you get low on funds? Improving your future starts now, and it takes a great education.
Make a 5-Year Plan, Not a 5-Week One
In a society where you can access the Internet at any time, shop 24 hours a day and eat pretty much anything at any time, investing in the long term can be a tough sell compared to instant results. Investing in yourself, though, is one of the wisest decisions you can make. How so?
In a word: Growth. After the holidays end, the chance your temporary job becomes a full-time one is very small. Most likely, you will have no lasting improvements to show for all your hard work. Next year, you’ll be in the same situation as this one.
Education, especially one aimed at a specific goal, opens new opportunities. For example, training for a position as an accountant, as we talked about last week, is a great way to improve your career. The accounting industry is growing and salaries are on the rise. Maybe you can’t get a job as an accountant RIGHT NOW, but by earning your degree in accounting, you will have grown into someone new, and these changes don’t go away.
You can build on these changes, build on your education, so that next year, you can enjoy a vacation and not an extra job.
And this doesn’t only apply to accounting!
Find something you’re interested in, find out how to be successful at it, and start working towards your goals.
What’s So Bad About a Holiday Job?
Sorry to be such a downer, but as a temporary, entry-level employee, you are going to be doing the work no one else wants to and are going to be paid the least amount of money possible for doing it. Holiday jobs are generally minimum wage and with no benefits or job security.
Plus, think of it this way: The holidays are stressful all by themselves, right? Well, the temporary retail jobs you can get aren’t exactly a day spa. The whole point of hiring new help at these stores is to deal with the large numbers of people shopping. Have you ever seen the news after Black Friday? The crowds at some stores look more like a riot or stampede with stressed-out shoppers fighting over sale items.
If you happen to work at a store with big holiday sales (i.e., every store during the holiday season), you’ll be right in the middle of these mobs. When you get home after a busy shift, you might not feel very full of the holiday spirit or energy.
Considering the fact that most people take on holiday jobs as an addition to their existing income, you probably have another job to wake up early for tomorrow. Getting over-worked and stressed out by your seasonal position may cause your performance to suffer in your other job.
Cheer Up and Have a Fantastic Holiday Season!
There’s nothing wrong with a little hard work, just make sure your goal is the one you want. Treat yourself to an education and thank yourself forever.