What We Can Learn From Santa About Looking for Work

In 1986 Robert Fulghum published the number one best seller, “All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten.” I recall how the book “spoke to me” at a time when my life had recently been turned up-side-down and I was having to deal with things that were totally unfamiliar to me. I found that if I could relate the unknown to something for which I had experience (something that turned out positive) it was easier to cope, and learn, and accomplish my goals.

Looking for employment and finding my way in a world full of professionals who seemed to have some secret guidebook on how to successfully manage their careers, was one of those unfamiliar things that was thrust upon me. As with Fulghum’s book, I found familiar life experiences – for example, child rearing, planning a trip, or dating to be somewhat analogous to my tasks at hand. And as I found employment and began molding my career, I discovered that I could help others do the same by connecting them to analogies in their own life that would help dispel some of the mystery – and anxiety – about job search and career management.

In that regard, I am creating this book review to tell you about two delightful children’s books I discovered a few years ago, which were written by Stephen Krensky: “How Santa Got His Job” and “How Santa Lost His Job.”  This has been an extremely trying year for professionals. Many have lost their jobs and many have spent an unprecedented amount of time (28.5 weeks, on average) trying to find new employment. When faced with the unfamiliar (and somewhat scary) reality of the job market, why not turn to something/someone more familiar for guidance. And who is better known than Santa Claus?

I gleaned from Krensky’s books 10 valuable, yet simple, lessons about finding employment and a satisfying career taught by a jolly old fat man in a red suit:

  1. Identify your interests, abilities and values
  2. Sample different jobs
  3. Recognize when something is not a good fit
  4. Accept that some people will not like you or the way you work
  5. Keep your eyes open for new opportunities
  6. Don’t internalize failure – learn from it
  7. Build and nurture a strong professional network
  8. Don’t go it alone – work and problem solve as a team
  9. Leverage your strengths and work on improving your weaknesses
  10. Remember that no job is perfect – always be prepared with the right tools and resources