December is a great time for your career

I know you're thinking that the workplace is dead between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but actually, December is a great time for careers. Here are five reasons why:

1. Job hunting is great in December.
January is the biggest month for hiring, but December is the second-best month for a job hunt. This is because people have budget allocated for jobs on a yearly basis. And if they don't fill those jobs, they lose the position in the new budget. So all those hard-to-fill positions have to get filled no matter what this month. Also, people have money they did not spend in other areas that they can put toward a new hire. But they don't know if they have that money until the end of the year. This all makes for a hiring frenzy in December, and since most candidates don't realize this, the candidate pool is not as full in December either.

2. The path to a promotion is shortest in December.
It's true that everyone who has lots of power at your company is gone by the middle of December. And it's true that you will spend a lot of time wishing you did not have to work in December. But there are plenty perks from being at the office in December. And one of them is that if anything important flies through the door, the person who usually handles important stuff will be gone. This is an opportunity for you to step up. Keep an eye out for something big. Something too big for the people who are left in the office. And that's when you should volunteer to work late. Take on that job. You'll look like a great team player, and you'll get great experience to boot.

3. Jewish solidarity feels strongest in December.
In general, the Jews lay low. We don't like to draw attention to ourselves at work. And we don't like to bug people about being Jewish. We don't want you to become Jewish. We just want you to leave us alone when we need to do things like take off seven, random days in October for a slew of Jewish holidays that are not nearly as well marketed as Chanukah. This doesn't mean, though, that we are not annoyed with all the Christmas stuff. We are annoyed when you say “Happy Holidays” because we know it means “Merry Christmas to those of you who don't celebrate it.” In fact, we are annoyed by a lot in December. And it makes being Jewish feel a little bit better, in a Woody Allen kind of way.

4. Everyone has their kids home.
I spend most of my days going nuts trying to do homeschooling and work at the same time. It's pretty safe to say that my career has taken a hit and that I am going nuts trying to figure out how to do both. So I'm really looking forward to the two weeks that everyone has their kids out of school. Those two weeks I'll look like the queen of managing parenting and work while everyone else is more discombobulated than I am because they only do this two weeks out of the year.

5. Hookups!
It turns out that 40% of people have had hookups at holiday parties, according to Ruth Houston, an infidelity expert. And Trojan reports that most men are willing to have sex with someone they meet at the holiday party. (But then I wonder if Trojan ever did a poll to find out when men aren't willing to have sex with someone they meet?)

I told this to my brother and he pointed out that most people have been to ten holiday parties by the time they are thirty. So he thinks people are underreporting their hookups.

Whatever the true number, here's some advice.

Men: women who earn more money are accustomed to receiving more oral sex. So choose your target with your own capabilities in mind.

Women: If you are not the same age as the guy then let him make the first move. Statistically, the match is more likely to stick if you follow that advice. And here's some more advice about how to get the guy you work with.

Posted in Job hunt, Office politics
42 comments on “December is a great time for your career
  1. ResuMAYDAY says:

    Penelope – I am one of those who say “Happy Holidays”, but you’re SO wrong as to my intent! I say it because I honestly don’t know who celebrates what during December, so this is my way of being inclusive to everyone. It’s just a cheerful greeting – not a way to sneak Christmas into a conversation.

  2. Amy Parmenter says:

    I just like to pout thru december because my birthday is in december — which i think yours is too and so I feel perpetually ripped off.  I mean, what if i need a new sweater in the spring?  I do realize I’m off topic but I’m starting my rant early…

    Amy Parmenter
    The ParmFarm

    • junger says:

      Haha – great post Amy. I always felt bad for kids whose birthday was on Christmas … only one day of presents and not two separate present-receiving opportunities.

  3. a_grown-up says:

    I agree with Julie.  I say Happy Holiday because I don’t celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah.   Kwanzaa or any of the others.
    As for when people have most sex; who cares?  People who need to know details of the type of sex others are having or expecting need to have more sense of self and self confidence.
    Anyway – Happy holidays everyone!

  4. ReportingLife says:

    I don’t associate with any particular “religion”.   I’ve been exposed to so many in my life and have learned about all different beliefs, and I consider  myself really fortunate for that reason.  There are so many benefits to NOT being any religion in particular, number 1 being no holiday is annoying to me, and every holiday could be considered an inconvenience depending on your beliefs and your own personal experience.  I’m never offended by any remarks or prejudices because none of them apply to me.  I can’t relate to stereotypes of any kind because of where I grew up and how I was raised.  I’ve had a unique life experience which has shaped how I see the world.

    I do celebrate Christmas with my family and friends because it’s a reason to get together and show some outward signs of love.  Pick any holidy in any religion, and that’s what it’s all about.  Community, sharing, and an opportunity to show each other some love in whatever way we choose.

    Exchanging gifts is universal.  So is commercialism, Penelope.   We all spread the wealth in different ways.  One way is no better than the other.

  5. Kelly@HealthyFinanceNews says:

    Wow, this was a really enlightening article for me. I wasn’t aware of the quota of employees needed during the month of December, or the idea that it can be a great time for people in lower standing to step up to the plate on an issue that should be handled by someone who is probably out of the office during that time. As someone who will be new to the workplace after graduating in May, I will definitely keep this advice in mind as the next year comes to a close. Thanks for shedding light on these tips.

  6. Khalid says:

    Penelope is just awesome in general. That is all.

  7. Khalid says:

    Penelope is just awesome in general. That is all.

  8. susie soda says:

    I work remotely (from Panama!), so it’s kind of the reverse for me. Spring/Summer is good because everybody is away, working from the cottage, going to conferences..more people are working like me. In December, it’s all about being there in person. 

    Christmas seems to be the only holiday people feel obliged to tie into a greeting. Why do we have to say anything?! Nobody wishes people Happy Easter, Happy Halloween, Rad Ramadan. 

  9. Cassie says:

    How about a reminder that Thanksgiving-New Year’s is a perfect time for networking? Sending holiday cards is the perfect excuse to catch up with business contacts, whether they’re people you’ve worked with in the past, or contact you’ve met who might be helpful in the future. Set yourself apart and send an actual card, not a mass-BCC’d email.

    • Rebecca says:

      Absolutely! All those holiday parties … time to reconnect and rub elbows with the important people. I am a big believer in attending all the parties and sending out tons of cards. Both have worked well. 

    • Deborah Hymes says:

      Adding to the refrain here! December is a fab time for meeting all sorts of people you wouldn’t normally run into, as well as for reconnecting with folks you don’t see on a regular basis throughout the year. I’ve personally had great success with this, and I have two friends who have connected with terrific job opportunities at holiday parties in years past. Go for it!

    • Deborah Hymes says:

      Adding to the refrain here! December is a fab time for meeting all sorts of people you wouldn’t normally run into, as well as for reconnecting with folks you don’t see on a regular basis throughout the year. I’ve personally had great success with this, and I have two friends who have connected with terrific job opportunities at holiday parties in years past. Go for it!

  10. Bill says:

    Wow. I should really start going to some of your parties!

  11. Dianek says:

    Wow what a fresh way of looking at December. I usually see it as a dead end month- time to stick my feet up and eat bon bons and watch all the repeats on TV. Thanks!

  12. Beth says:

    Oh gosh!  I would never want to hook up with any of the bald, sweaty, socially awkward, married-but-think-that-they’re-tricking-you-into-thinking-they’re not LAME-O’s at any of my corporate jobs!  All of them are a bunch of desperate losers who vastly overrate their sexual appeal.  You know, Penelope, not everyone works with attractive men!  And even if we all did, who wants to hook up with some office sleaze bag at a party?  He’s probably married, which makes him a pig who should be out hiring a hooker rather than scamming on the few single women in the office to whom he has absolutely nothing to offer except his desire for self-graticiation.  If he’s not married he is certainly sleazy and has low standards for being willing to hook up after a few cocktails at an office party!  The drunken office party hook up:  It’s the same, tired, sleazy-old story year after year!

  13. Beth says:

    Oh gosh!  I would never want to hook up with any of the bald, sweaty, socially awkward, married-but-think-that-they’re-tricking-you-into-thinking-they’re not LAME-O’s at any of my corporate jobs!  All of them are a bunch of desperate losers who vastly overrate their sexual appeal.  You know, Penelope, not everyone works with attractive men!  And even if we all did, who wants to hook up with some office sleaze bag at a party?  He’s probably married, which makes him a pig who should be out hiring a hooker rather than scamming on the few single women in the office to whom he has absolutely nothing to offer except his desire for self-graticiation.  If he’s not married he is certainly sleazy and has low standards for being willing to hook up after a few cocktails at an office party!  The drunken office party hook up:  It’s the same, tired, sleazy-old story year after year!

    • SweatyBaldMan says:

      A little sore at men ehh?? It’s funny, men are so simple, men want sex, that’s about it. Last time I checked, wanting 1 thing over a few hundred thousand is pretty dang sweet. Women want a few hundred thousand things, new shoes, new china, new drama, new minks, new cars, new blah, blah, blah. Quit bitchin’ bout men and get-a-life-quick-Lame-O.

      • S_smith789 says:

        It’s amazing how many women call expecting expensive gifts and financial support in return for sex a relationship but a man wanting sex is a a shallow pig. It’s even more hypocritical when a woman looks down her nose at a hooker yet withholds sex from her husband or boyfriend when he doesn’t buy her the tennis bracelet or new car. Neither gender should deceive to get what they want, but there is a double standard.

        Beth, this isn’t aimed at you, I’m a woman and have had to fend off my share of sweaty married sleaze bags and know what you mean about what can show up at the office party looking for action. But I had to reply to SweatyBaldMan because it is frustrating that a few gold diggers give women like you and me, who work, have careers, and buy our own goodies whether we are single or married, a bad name!

        • Irving Podolsky says:

          Dear S,

          I’m impressed with your non-biased reply. You’ve obviously thought a lot about morality and how it can be shaped by societies, and personally within people’s minds. I wrote a post about this exact subject a few weeks ago on my own blog and Google+. It got a many hits. You may wish to check it out. http://www.irvingsjourney.com/2011/11/sex-prostitution-marriage-morality-are-you-bad/

          Have a “happy holiday” Ms. Smith. I’m glad you pointed out the double standard.

          Irv

          • S_smith789 says:

            Dear Irv,
            Thank you for referring me to your post, read it and loved it. I have long lamented the hypocrisy around this subject and it was refreshing to see that someone else has shared these thoughts at a profound level. I’m not opposed to whatever two adults consent to engage in provided that there are no victims, either in the pairing or outside (fraud against others etc.). What is utterly obnoxious are the lies, and BS that surround it.

            Happy holidays to you too!
            SS

      • Beth says:

        You haven’t seen the men at my office!  The man versus woman thing is old and tired too I read your post and thought, “meh, fair enough, but who really cares?” I give myself kudos for being willing to go out on a limb and call the creepy office party men exactly what they are, creepy office party men!

        Did this post hit a little to close to home with you?  Do you struggle with misogyny?  Just wondering…

        • WellEndowedGQ says:

          Ur funny…yaaawwwn… the problem is, your whole ramble is completely pointless. You say you went out on a limb. That’s just Penelope-smash-the-lamp-thingy-against-my-head-dumb. Think about it, you rambled about a point everyone knows and nobody cares about so I’m confused about the “limb” you went out on, OOoooohhhhhh, Ohhhhhhhhhh, Ahhhhhhhhhh, the limb, the woman went on a limb, hip hip hooray!!!….. Ummmm no, no limb, your limb would be like me stating that the sun comes up every morning…. And?? So?? What about it?? Do I need kudos for stating the absolute obvious?? Uuuuhhhhhh, no, fraid’ not. Men hit on women in filthy, uni-sex bathrooms in Europe, what about it??
          “The drunken office party hook up:  It’s the same, tired, sleazy-old story year after year” I’m confused as to why you even wasted your time on this obvious truth?? Avoid the men at your corporate party, wow, that was easy.

          Misogyny?? Nah. I tried it out for a few years until my ex-wife corrected me.
          We got into a fight one day about her going to a corporate holiday party and I threw a fit. She said “Oh, a real big man you are, your just a pig headed, filthy muggle, misogynist! Your damn right I declared!! I hate this marriage and your all your fancy shoes, jewelry, china, designer jeans and 47 shiny, big, small, sparkly, leathery purses!! I’m through you hag!! Wait a sec!! So you hate women?? What are you talking about!?! You agreed that you were a misogynist. Damn right, you better know it Beth-Ann. But you didn’t describe a misogynist, she exclaimed. Nope, I’m a misogynist, you better believe it, HA, the truth hurts!!! The cats outta the bag!!! Been wanting to say it for YEARS!!! Hope your happy!!!! As she brushed past me out the door for the holiday party, she said “you socially awkward, pig, your a misogamist, not a misogynist you sleazebag.” As the door closed behind her I yelled over and over Misogynist!!
          After a few minutes of trying to cool down, I drove to Hooters for some wings and then found a hooker to take my frustration out on, Damn!! that was some good sex!! It was a pretty sweet night. I got a hooker and left my over-bearing wife. Haven’t regretted it for a second!!
          Believe it or not, her lawyer was a guy she met at the party.

        • WellEndowedGQ says:

          Ur funny…yaaawwwn… the problem is, your whole ramble is completely pointless. You say you went out on a limb. That’s just Penelope-smash-the-lamp-thingy-against-my-head-dumb. Think about it, you rambled about a point everyone knows and nobody cares about so I’m confused about the “limb” you went out on, OOoooohhhhhh, Ohhhhhhhhhh, Ahhhhhhhhhh, the limb, the woman went on a limb, hip hip hooray!!!….. Ummmm no, no limb, your limb would be like me stating that the sun comes up every morning…. And?? So?? What about it?? Do I need kudos for stating the absolute obvious?? Uuuuhhhhhh, no, fraid’ not. Men hit on women in filthy, uni-sex bathrooms in Europe, what about it??
          “The drunken office party hook up:  It’s the same, tired, sleazy-old story year after year” I’m confused as to why you even wasted your time on this obvious truth?? Avoid the men at your corporate party, wow, that was easy.

          Misogyny?? Nah. I tried it out for a few years until my ex-wife corrected me.
          We got into a fight one day about her going to a corporate holiday party and I threw a fit. She said “Oh, a real big man you are, your just a pig headed, filthy muggle, misogynist! Your damn right I declared!! I hate this marriage and your all your fancy shoes, jewelry, china, designer jeans and 47 shiny, big, small, sparkly, leathery purses!! I’m through you hag!! Wait a sec!! So you hate women?? What are you talking about!?! You agreed that you were a misogynist. Damn right, you better know it Beth-Ann. But you didn’t describe a misogynist, she exclaimed. Nope, I’m a misogynist, you better believe it, HA, the truth hurts!!! The cats outta the bag!!! Been wanting to say it for YEARS!!! Hope your happy!!!! As she brushed past me out the door for the holiday party, she said “you socially awkward, pig, your a misogamist, not a misogynist you sleazebag.” As the door closed behind her I yelled over and over Misogynist!!
          After a few minutes of trying to cool down, I drove to Hooters for some wings and then found a hooker to take my frustration out on, Damn!! that was some good sex!! It was a pretty sweet night. I got a hooker and left my over-bearing wife. Haven’t regretted it for a second!!
          Believe it or not, her lawyer was a guy she met at the party.

  14. MilkMan says:

    Christmas blows.

  15. Kathy Ver Eecke says:

    The work-lull between T-day and X-mas is also the perfect time to wave your OCD flag. Get your desk in order. Toss old files. Clean out your in box. Raid the supply closet. I know most cringe at all of this, and I truly, truly don’t mean to sound all Martha, but it makes January so nice when you come back to clean, organized office. Okay, maybe it’s more the OTD flag I’m waving (Obvious Total Dork). I know. Can’t help it. 

  16. Skweekah says:

    Boom, a kick-arse ending on the topic of cunnilingus. Maybe women who earn lots of money can pay for it. But for those of you who cant, dont despair, most men will be more than happy to break this myth.

  17. Irving Podolsky says:

    Whoa! Now let me get this straight.

    You’re saying that December is the best month to f**k your way to the top. But if you’re Jewish, working in an office full of “goyim,” you’d rather hookup away from the group, by yourself?

    Yep… Sounds right.  That’s how I got to where I am.

    WHERE am I?  Hummm…

    Happy Chanucka!

    Irv

  18. Niteowl says:

    I had a temp job in a US government office from October to New Year’s. Guess who was in charge of putting up the Christmas decorations? Me, the only Jew. And guess who was in charge of getting the best price on the ham and turkey for the office Christmas party? Yup, me, the kosher Jew. And who picked up the ham and turkey? Right again.. I didn’t mind all that so much, but why was all this going on in a government office? Loved your post!

  19. fred doe says:

    if i hookup with a woman at a christmas/holiday party and give her some head/go down will i be able to get a job? should i shit where you eat? 

  20. Annabel, Get In The Hot Spot says:

    Thanks for the motivation to keep my nose to the grindstone at the end of the year when time and energy is often flagging.

    I’m trying to end strong with my business this year rather than peter out. Hopefully people are trying to use up their marketing budgets too which will help me.

    I bet my husband would love a hookup at his work Xmas party. But he works with me and we aren’t having a party…. wait, maybe we should. Then we can end the year with a bang and a whimper…..

    Happy December everyone:)

  21. James K. says:

    So if I give a senior manager a blowjob at a holiday party am I more likely to get the job I interviewed for? I’d do just about anything to land a job in this economy.

  22. Marie says:

    Penelope,

    Where is the data/link about not making the first move if you aren’t the same age as the dude?! Inquiring single ladies need to know.

    Speaking of which, what did you think about this:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/…/all-the-single-ladies/8654/

    Thanks for the reminder that December can be amazing if we let it be.

  23. Sara Gallagher says:

    Recently on your homeschooling blog, you discussed the importance of becoming an “early adopter” of new ideas and technology. Because December is so slow, it is a great time to learn and experiment. This month, I launched a series of project management webinars for some of my coworkers who were recently thrust onto project teams with little prior experience. As a side benefit, delivering those webinars helped me get familiar with the technology my company (a career college) uses to deliver online education to students.

  24. Lea says:

    Hi everyone, I wanted to share a webinar that I thought others might find interesting. The webinar is about Advanced Interviewing Strategies and I found it very helpful as I prepared for interviews. It’s hosted by Ivy Exec, http://www.ivyexec.com, a career resource network for top tier professionals. The presenter, Sarah Stamboulie, is an experienced HR professional, formerly with Columbia Business School, Morgan Stanley, and Nortel. You can find the webinar here: http://bit.ly/vTP7GX.

  25. Cubicle Rebel says:

    Just reading the headline to this was encouraging, uplifting. I am in the doozy of a job search right now and hating every minute of it. There are highs and lows. Each interview is like Sally Field’s famous speech “They like me. They really, really like me.” Then they don’t hire me. Closing credits. Oy to the vay.

  26. JLynne Thompson says:

    Hey, it's true. I’m getting hired in December and start on January 2nd. No, I haven’t been formally offered the position yet. But I passed the initial test, and the interview went great. Just coming off my last and final weeks of unemployment benefits. By the world's standards, I procrastinated. No money by mid December. If I hadn't gotten rid of my television (it blew up), I would have shot myself by now. So here I am. Tits – €˜a sagging, gained a little weight studying pro se defense strategies against junk debt buyers. I now have a tiny grasp on world economics, not to mention quantum physics. Call me crazy. I just know. Enjoy your time; be grateful for hot water, food stamps, and the fact that your car is still going on the tires that look like matted cat hair. Give yourself time to overcome the PTSD from the last employer, or two. Do not listen to the voices of guilt and fear or anyone else's timing except your own. You know when and what and how. Ask. (Free will is in operation and due to rules we may not understand. You must ASK for what you want, or they can't help.) That's my pep talk. Happy New Year!

  27. cm says:

    I live in the UK. I am a white American who has never been a member of any religion. Yesterday when I was leaving a random urban supermarket, the checkout lady wished me “Merry Christmas” (which is actually not very common in the UK – they aren’t as big on greetings and friendliness to strangers as Americans are) and I automatically said, “You too,” then I noticed that she was wearing a burka with head covering and therefore probably (definitely?) was not a Christian, so I felt awkward that I said, “You too,” and hoped that I hadn’t offended her, but on the other hand, I’m not a Christian either but she assumed that I am, and basically we were both trying to be polite, and that’s what most people are doing when they say “Happy Holidays” or whatever.
    ===
    From the point of view of a 44 year old woman with an MBA who has social acquaintances of all ages and incomes and who is single, I would expect that “high-income women” may not get more oral sex than low-income women, because women who earn a high-income tend to be older, and older women (in the UK) are less likely to be expecting (or even wanting) oral sex in a casual encounter. It is my impression that, at least in the UK, the younger generation (30s and younger) is much more into having oral sex *in casual situations* than those who are older. I’ve lived in Europe for 15 years for stints starting when I was 20, and what I found interesting was Europeans and Brits were much more likely to have intercourse in a first encounter than Americans were, but were less likely to have oral sex in a first (or the first few subsequent) encounter because they considered it more intimate and exposing than intercourse. I talked to a lot of folks about this (informally) because at the time I was studying sex research academically and was curious.
    Maybe Penelope is talking about women of the same age (she probably aims her advice at those in their 20s and 30s?) who have higher or lower incomes. In that case, I can more see her point that women with higher incomes would be more willing to ask for what they want, more demanding, and better educated about sexual scenarios, but I still think that oral sex is so common these days and so many younger men are eager to engage in it with women (as compared to older men, who often are less enthusiastic) that the income thing doesn’t really matter.
    Anyway, 25% of British people 25 years old and younger are unemployed (and also not in studies, not in training, not in internships) and have no chance in the foreseeable future of getting any sort of income, so I expect that many of them are filling up their time with socializing and escaping into alcohol and hazy hook-ups, thus muddying the low and high income distinction still futher.

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