When I was a little kid I got so excited when Christmas was coming. I would lay in the middle of the living room floor flipping through every page of the Sears catalog circling all the things that I wanted and then I’d faithfully transcribe each item into a letter to Santa. Some years, my parents would take me to the mall to visit Santa and I'd whisper in his ear the one big thing I really wanted. I’d skip away from his majestic presence, candy cane in hand, confident that he was going to hook me up. In those tender early years of childhood, I fervently believed that the fat guy in the red suit would land on my roof with his reindeer, creep into our house and leave me everything my little heart desired.
Of course, as time went on I figured out there wasn’t a Santa, but I still faked it for a while because I was also afraid that if I let on, Santa would stop coming. In those “faking it” years, I realized that it was probably no use in asking for the kid-sized Barbie Corvette and scaled down my requests to more practical things. There were no more “shoot for the moon” appeals for presents like a real appaloosa pony. Though I still had the keen anticipation of what would be under the tree on Christmas morning, it was a little less magical – there just wasn’t the feeling of endless possibility there had been when I was 5 or 6.
When it comes to our careers, many of us have become like a jaded 10-year-old who knows there’s no Santa...
When it comes to our careers, many of us have become like the jaded 10-year-old who knows there’s no Santa and doesn’t want to wish for anything too big because she’s afraid of disappointment. We may still secretly hope that the last package under the tree is the Nintendo game system we really want, but find it actually contains a matching sweater and sock set that Grandma knitted.
So, as we move towards the time when Santa makes his rounds, a question I pose to you is what would you like from the Career Santa this year? Have you even made a list? Do you want more responsibility, a promotion, a raise, a transfer, a new job? Are you brave enough to delve into the recesses of your heart to peek at what you REALLY want, or are you sticking with the safe and practical? Have you told anyone what you want? Do you really want those hand-knitted socks? They will keep you warm but is that what really floats your boat? How does your excitement level for opening a box of socks compare to how you'd feel if you opened a box containing the keys to a new car or plane tickets to a tropical island?
What would you like from the Career Santa this year? Have you even made a list?
Now think about your career, are you excited and challenged? Are you making as much money as you’d like and you’re capable of making? Do you love what you do and who you work with? Is this career what you imagined it would be when you got started? Or have you outgrown it in the way that kids do when they move from tricycles to two-wheelers? Are you still riding the trike even though you’re ready for the two-wheeler? Have you asked Career Santa for the BMX bike you really want, or do you think that he won’t bring it to you?
I challenge you to sit down and write a letter to Career Santa asking for what you REALLY want this year. If it’s the Barbie Corvette or fancy BMX bike of jobs, write it down. If your true desire is just a couple extra pairs of socks that’s okay too, but be honest about what you’d like from your career. After all, you spend a LOT of time and effort at your job and you deserve to enjoy it and to feel satisfied.
What would it be like waking up on Christmas morning and seeing a real live Appaloosa pony tied up by your front door?
Now I’d like to let you in on a little secret – you may want to sit down for this… Are you sitting down yet? Okay, here goes... there is no Career Santa. I realize that may be a little shocking and I’m sorry to disappoint you. I’ll give you a moment…
Now the good news, YOU are your own Career Santa. Take a look at the letter that you wrote about what you want from your career. Are you on a path to get there? Do you believe that it’s possible? How would you feel if at this time next year, you were there? Would it be like waking up on Christmas morning and seeing a real live appaloosa pony tied up by your front door? Why not let yourself go there? Why not let yourself truly believe that it’s possible? Go ahead, you have permission to believe. And if you believe hard enough, you can start making your dream happen. And if you need help, there are Career Elves (aka Career Coaches) out here who can help.
Merry Career-mas and Happy New Year!