As they sing in Jingle Bell Rock …. “What a bright time, it’s the right time, to rock the night away.” That’s how most of us feel about December, jammed conveniently between the long Thanksgiving Weekend on one side – and Christmas and New Year’s on the other. Conventional wisdom would tell us it’s not only a bright and right time, it’s also a very slow time at the office – and that goes double for the corner office.
But conventional wisdom would be wrong.
Or at least, it would be deceiving.
Why - because December is actually a pretty busy time for most companies and a particularly interesting time for the careers of managers and executives. Since 12/31 is the last day of the fiscal year for most companies, it’s a time of budget-making and decision-making about strategy for the year ahead. Even if your company is on a different fiscal year basis, it’s still the end of the calendar year and that usually means performance reviews and bonus deliberations.
And with all of that, frequently comes decisions about company leadership, which inevitably trickles down and across to executives and managers throughout the affected company.
It happened at GM, it’s happening at Bank of America and it’s happening right now at my company too. Other companies will consider status changes at this time of year via merger, consolidation or acquisition (see GE’s deal with Comcastannounced exactly one week after Thanksgiving on December 3.)
Here’s the point.
If you’re gainfully employed and focused on managing your career, don’t take your eye off the ball right now. Within your company and at your primary competitors, opportunity may abound, but not if you’re asleep at the switch. (In other words, this might not be the best time to arrive late or leave early or take overly long lunch breaks.) And if you’re among the one in eight managers and execs who are currently unemployed, don’t shrug off the month of December because of a perceived lack of activity. Granted, you won’t make any progress on a job search after December 22, but you’ve still got a good two weeks to buy an old friend a mug of grog or slip in for an informational meeting with a new contact. And if you can’t get through before the holidays, keep calling and emailing because then you can hit the ground running on January 4.
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Erik Sorenson is CEO of Vault, the Web’s most comprehensive resource for career management and job search intelligence. Vault provides top talent with the insider information they need to make critical career decisions. An Emmy award-winning media industry veteran, Erik served as president of the MSNBC cable news channel through 2004. His experience spans radio, local and network broadcast television, cable and syndicated TV, and the Web.
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