For many, the winter holiday season is a time of reflection and contemplation. Regardless of which individual holidays you celebrate, there is a common theme of togetherness and gratitude that make it easy to get into this contemplative mindset.

As a result, many put together New Year’s resolutions of goals to accomplish or things to change about themselves, and these resolutions are often work-related. Maybe taking an extended time away from the day-to-day of your job provides a different viewpoint when the holidays end. Maybe talking to family and friends during gatherings gives you new ideas or allows you to refocus on what’s important in your life.

Whatever the reason, holidays are a perfect time to take stock of your life. Because of this, many find themselves looking for a career change. Searching for a new career during the holidays can already be a difficult but rewarding challenge, as we discussed recently. Yet in this post-pandemic world, more individuals are reassessing their careers than ever before, and the holidays can actually be a smart time to start working on a career change.

A desire to change careers is normal

Planning a career change can be scary no matter what time of year it takes place, but know what you’re not the only one considering it. According to Washington Post’s Heather Long and Scott Clement, almost one-third of workers under 40 considered a career change during the pandemic.

“Many people told The Post that the pandemic altered how they think about what is important in life and their careers. It has given them a heightened understanding that life is short and that now is the time to make the changes they have long dreamed of. The result is a great reassessment of work, as Americans fundamentally reimagine their relationships to their jobs.” -Heather Long and Scott Clement.

The pandemic forced many layoffs and career changes, and time away from the office made people reflect on the work itself according to Yale School of Management’s Amy Wrzesniewski (reported by MarketPlace.org’s Kristin Schwab).

“It shakes people up. It makes them really think about how they’re spending their time, who they’re spending it with, what they’re spending it doing. What seemed tolerable before may not seem tolerable anymore. It may seem very different.” -Amy Wrzesniewski

While the holiday season is a much different source of reflection, the downtime can lead to the same conclusions about one’s career. If your reflections do lead you to the idea of a career change, Northeastern University has a helpful list of signs it may be time to take that leap. They provide a detailed guide on how to assess your career situation and what changes can be made.

Meanwhile, hcareers.com’s Deb Ward recommends making a personal development plan this holiday season while providing additional questions to reflect on.

Why the holidays?

Maybe you’re thinking, “It IS time for a career change, but shouldn’t I wait until the new year?” In our previous holiday job search article, we suggested that while there are challenges to looking for a new job in late November and December, jobs are still out there, and there are a plethora of ways to take advantage of the holiday season.

The lack of competition is one of the mightiest boons of the holiday season, especially if you’re switching to a new industry. A common myth is no one is hiring during the holidays, which leads to a lack of applicants. This can be used to your advantage!

The holidays also provide perhaps more networking opportunities than any other time of the year. Professional and personal office parties provide a chance to mingle and gather information. Holiday cards are a great way to stay in touch with contacts in a personal manner.

Camden Kelly’s Carly Weiner offers even more advantages to a holiday job search. Companies oft have ‘use it or lose it’ budgets at the end of the year. For HR managers, the best way to make sure they don’t lose it is to hire someone before the new year. You may not start your position until January, but you’ll be in the books and ready to go.

It’s also easier to take some time off for any potential interviews if you’re still at your current job, Weiner writes. It’s common for employees to take more time off in December for holiday commitments, and that can make it easier to fit some searching and interviews into your routine.

Ultimately, if you’re set on a career change, there are zero reasons to put it off until January, writes Forbes’ Jack Kelly. Amid this time of uncertainty, many people search for a career to make them feel fulfilled but slow down during the holidays when they should be ramping up instead, Kelly believes.

“Since we are in a new type of world where everything seems possible, why not start on improving your work life right now? View today as the start of the new year and work life. It’s your chance to get ahead of the crowd, as most people put off their job searches during the holiday season and resume it again in the first few weeks of the new year.” -Jack Kelly

Wrap up

Take some time to really contemplate where you’re at in your professional life this holiday season. If you find that part of life wanting, know that you aren’t alone. More workers are considering career changes than ever before. The holiday season may not be the easiest time to find a new job, but it offers some perks no other time of year has. If you’re really invested in a career change, there’s no time like the present. ‘New Year, New Me’ your way into a new career by using this time to your advantage.

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