One of the reasons my column runs in more than 200 newspapers is that I send out one blog post a week to about 1000 editors. I have to do the list manually because, big surprise, most editors at most papers do not subscribe to blogs.

Today I was besieged by out of the office responses. Of course, everyone is out of the office. Very little news happens between Christmas and New Year's that you can't predict and write beforehand.

The time between Christmas and New Year's is a great time for you to take things into your own hands. During this time, almost all of senior management is completely checked out in most industries. After all, this is what senior is all about — getting to go where you want to at the end of December. So you might find that there are opportunities to get a big break.

For example, two years ago, my investment banking brother was sitting around in December and a big merger came up. He got to do high-level work on the deal because no one wanted to interrupt their vacation. And here's another example: I know that what's going on in Israel is not cheery news, but there is a bunch of western journalists getting their first chance to report on a big story because the big-story journalists want to be with family and friends the last week of December.

So much of career advice is about finding someone to mentor you and taking jobs with people who will create opportunities for you. But that's not enough. You also have to take responsibility for yourself.

So use this time to make your own big break. Keep alert for something big that might need doing, and, in the meantime, if there's not something big, here are five ideas for what else you can do at work between Christmas and New Year's.