Recently, I was asked to provide some tips for people who work in the veterinary industry for how to stay positive during the holidays, with one big challenge in mind: Veterinary team members often have to work when the rest of us are home for the holidays. While it's true that having to give an alpaca an enema isn't a great holiday gig (to my mind at least), it's also true that other folks working other jobs have to work when the rest of the world gets to play. So, here are some ideas for staying positive at work when everyone else is at play. (You can read the original version at the My Exceptional Veterinary Team website)
Think about who will be working this holiday season while you're spending time with your family, stuffing yourself with chocolate, cookies, turkey, or latkes. Cops, ambulance drivers and EMTs responding to accidents. Restaurant servers, sales clerks, flight attendants, and call center and hotline workers trying to help customers. Utilities repairpersons, snowplow operators, and road crews cleaning up after someone crashed into a migrating moose and knocked down a powerline. Medical examiners performing autopsies. Firefighters battling smoke and flames. Executives and IT sercurity specialists scrambling to get programs back online. Furnace repairpersons climbing out of their warm trucks into cold houses. Doctors and nurses delivering babies and sewing limbs back on. Plumbers snaking the clog out of your toilet. If you're one of these workers, you know that it's tough not only because you have to miss out on all that stuff, but when you are working, your customers aren't always in the best moods (or even alive!).
First, it goes without saying - which is why I'll say it - that those of us who have jobs this holiday season are fortunate already. My thoughts are with those who are struggling to find work right now. Unfortunately, appreciating this blessing isn't always enough to make the season easy (in fact, it usually makes me feel kind of guilty), so let's look at some other strategies.
Here are some ways to make the best of it:
Those of you who've read my blog posts before may recall that I do a lot of research and consulting around the topic of meaningful work. From this experience, I think that most of the people who are asked to work over the holidays are in a really good position to have work experiences that really matter, and build lives worth living. Work doesn't have to be something that just sucks your time away from the other things you'd rather be doing. We've identified a number of components of meaningful work, and being able to see that your work really helps some greater good is a big part of the picture. So, my last tip is:
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