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Avoid this minefield: Drive Your Bus

Posted Dec 08 2009 9:03am

This month’s Career Collective topic is: Specific tips to help job seekers ramp up their efforts for the holiday season and the new year. At the end of this post, check out the collective wisdom of the career bloggers in the collective.


Are you living with chronic illness and looking at the holiday season with dread rather than excitement?

Do you find yourself wondering if you could just skip this somehow?

What’s this about?  Here’s what I think.

First, living with a chronic illness  means that no day is  truly a “holiday”.   We’re never off the clock.  Illness doesn’t respect holidays.

Plus,  the  long  holiday season means more demands on our already “stretched to the max”  physical resources.  People expect we’ll show up  — and we do, too.

We dig in our heals, put nose to grindstone and do what we HAVE to do.  Which is how we forget about a basic human need:  the need to relax and turn “it” off. We’re too busy riding the bus, rather than driving it.

I know because  I’ve fallen into this trap.  In the first few years of building my business,, my laptop went on  “vacation” with me.  I  told myself  that I was making up for lost time – - all those sick years when I “fell behind” in growing a career.  I told myself that I loved what I did so it was okay to do it most of my waking hours.

Then it hit me.  In my desire to prove that work is good for me and to make up for any lost sick time, I wasn’t take charge of my life.  I’d given up driving my bus and was reacting rather than planning.

And I’m not alone.  I hear similar stories from many living with illness.

But don’t we  need  “vacation time” as much as the next guy/gal, healthy or not?  If you’re unsure,  a real vacation can simply mean time away from the  routine to do activities you enjoy.  (Read my  post: “Do you take vacations if you’re working with chronic illness?” )

So here’s my question for you. What can you do to drive your bus?

  • Are you thinking that you don’t have the money, so why bother? Sure a trip to the Caribbean or a Greek island would be nice.   But, I’ve found that staying put, shutting down the computer, not scheduling my time and doing what moves me  rather than what has to be done  is time well spent, too. It rejuvenates the mind and the body.  Are there ways to vacation on your budget?
  • Are you  worried that your employer is already so angry that you’ve missed work because of  illness? That can be a real concern in some cases. But think of this.  Most company benefits (when companies used to offer them!) separate time for health issues from vacation time for a good reason.  They’re not the same.  Yes,  business demands  have to be met and your absence might have put a strain on others.  But planned vacation isn’t the same as unpredictable short term disability.  What discussion can you have with your supervisor that would allow you to take vacation without fearing it will hurt you?
  • Are you job hunting  or running your own business and fearful that you’ll lose valuable time if you “take a break”? It’s easy to let fear consume us.  But ask yourself, “Am I running on empty?”  If  holidays put more pressure on your personal life, can you   can you prioritize? Are there  choices that allow you to show up where you want and need to be and still take care of yourself?

Today is the best day to take charge of driving your bus rather than being a passenger and getting stuck in minefields.

Looking for more self care ideas?  My guidebooks, Career Thrive Series are chock full with concrete ideas that motivate and inspire.

I’d love to hear from you.  What do you to take care of yourself in the holiday season?

December 2009 Topic: Specific tips to help job seekers really ramp up their efforts for the holiday season and the new year. What should they do with their resumes? To improve their networking? Etc. … What ideas do we have to help our readers make the most of what some think is a “slow” season for hiring?

How did members of the Career Collective respond? Follow us on Twitter with our hashtag #careercollective and read these posts:

@MartinBuckland, Elite Resumes, Season’s Greetings and your Job Search”

@GayleHoward, The Executive Brand, It’s Christmas: And a ho-ho-ho-hum?”

@KCCareerCoach, Career Chaos, 

@resumeservice, Resume Writing Blog,Holiday Resume Sparkle: Outshine the New Year Job-Search Mob

@heathermundell, life@work, “Have a Holly Jolly Job Search”

@sweetcareers,Sweet Careers, “Holiday Job Search Tips for College Students 2009?

@careersherpa, Hannah Morgan: Career Sherpa, “Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Kwanzaa Cheers”

@careerealism,, “Holiday Tip for Job Seekers: 4 Ways to Impress Others with Your Professionalism”

@heatherhuhman,, “4 Tips for Making the Most of Holiday Job Hunting”

@LaurieBerenson, Sterling Career Concepts,  Three Resolutions to Take It Up a Notch”

@KatCareerGal, Quintessential Resumes and Cover Letters Tips Blog,   “Avoiding the Holiday Blues in Your Job Search”

@DawnBugni, “The Write Solution Could that sound really be opportunity? During the Holidays?”

@andyinnaples, “Shift Your Focus to the Highest Impact Job Search Activities During the Holidays to Leverage Your Time”

@erinkennedycprw, Professional Resume Services, How to keep up the Job Hunt during the Holidays”

@keppie_careers, Keppie Careers, “Four tips for effective networking follow-up for the holidays and the rest of the year”

@ValueIntoWords, Career Trend, “Navigating the Mistle Toe of Job Search”

@GLHoffman, What Would Dad Say, “Merry Christmas! Can I Buy You Coffee to Talk About Me?”

@BarbaraSafani, Career Solvers, “Holiday Networking Can Facilitate New Year Opportunities”

@expatcoachmegan, Career By Choice Blog, “Expat Networking: Holidays Are a Great Time to Nurture and Grow Your Network”

@chandlee, The Emerging Professional Blog, “Footprints & Associations: Job Search Tips for the Holidays”

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