Several years ago, during a Christmas now anything but a distant memory, my cousin Susan said something. It was one of those moments, when the words spoken meant little at the time, but ring so true now, several years later. Unable to recall her exact words, her train of thought headed in the direction of the fact that, "when your working, you'll only get two days off at Christmas". I ignored this comment, well maybe ignore is too strong an objection. I allowed the comment to drift above and beyond my apprehension. At the time I still had major mileage left in the old excuse for Christmas in the form of two weeks away from school. Then of course there was college and University. No need to think about Christmas holiday beyond those simple two words. A celebration of a birth and time away from teachers, books, PE and dreaded exams.
Now look where I find myself. This is my first official 'real world' Christmas experience. Lucky for me, being in the private sector and working for a generous enterprise, I do not have to return to work during the 'in between period' before the New Year. If you discount my experience on placement, which thankfully followed a similar pattern.
Christmas has changed. Nolonger can I reside in the knowledge that I am guaranteed a set number of days away from work. The real world waits for no man and for once I find myself eager to join the Rat Race. Maybe because now finally after hunting high and low, the dream job lands comfortably on my lap. Some people are lucky, they land the perfect position within a few weeks. For the rest of us it takes time, trials and many tribulations.
This discussion took me to along another train of thought. What does Christmas mean to business? Ultimate the work still has to be done, regardless of the time of year. The atmosphere around the office does change, although I have only had limited exposure to this. Colleagues, whom usually appear to be set in their grouchy ways, have an air of excitement even charisma about them. (Shame it only lasts three weeks before the holiday). Sending Christmas cards, an annual tradition which would appear at face value, to be the most simple of tasks. Yet it becomes a battle to see who can send the most elaborate or most expensive. Then we move onto the final element, the Christmas party. Hmmm. The less said about that the better. However, I would like to point out that my firm has taken a fresh approach of making this social event for employees only. Not sure if this from a financial or the ugly result of a feud during a round of office politics.
With the new year, days away I have a few wishes. That 2005 brings with it success and hope for the future. Life has changed but for good reason, so let us make this final transition as simple as possible. Allowing the focus instead to be on the job the lies ahead, full of challenges and uncertainty. All the best to you and yours as the final few hours of 2004 pass us by.