When I first came back to Australia and started working in the corporate sector, two words stood out – ‘silly season’. If you are a recently arrived migrant working here, you will soon be hearing these words too.
What is the silly season?
It is the festive season which refers to the Christmas and New Year period. But actually, it starts in early November and ends after Australia day. All ‘normality’ returns from February onwards. Yes, the ‘silly season’ is where you can start to relax and have a bit of fun. But sadly, it can also end up as the ugly season if you are not careful.
Here are some tips to survive, and make the best use of, the ‘Silly Season’
Seek networking opportunities
View end-of-year company and client functions as a great way of networking. It could lead to your next big career move. Social events, such as client lunches, dinners and Christmas parties – are a great way of thanking clients and connecting socially but you can use them as an opportunity to extend your networks. Here’s how:
Office parties are a great way of catching up with both senior management and fellow colleagues . They can sometimes even led to career opportunities! This is where you can showcase yourself so that people are more aware of your skills and experience and the value you provide.
Always start chatting from a social point – look for that connection. Don’t start off talking about work and avoid speaking ill of a colleague or your manager, or monopolising the time of senior colleagues. Once you are back at work, it’s a good idea is to follow up with your new connections – they will appreciate that you took time to send that all-important email which will help you will stand out in their memory.
It is always important to be on your best behaviour at client functions as this is an extension of your work. This may be a lunch or an evening networking event. You may be the host or attending annual client functions. I always believe in arriving early. I have been to many functions where the hosts arrive late (often caught up with trying to finish that extra bit of work). Make sure you arrive on time and have enough business cards with you to distribute to your connections. Please remember to thank those who invited you. If you are the host, what about a follow-up note? Believe me, you will be remembered.
Moderate your alcohol
Drinking to excess at work parties could damage your career, so be mindful of how many alcoholic drinks you consume. Some migrants may not be used to alcohol in their culture. So be aware that waiters tend to fill up your glass regularly - the ever-full wine glass.
The normal rule of ‘one drink per hour’ is an easy way to manage your alcohol intake. If you want to drink alcohol, please keep drinking water as much as possible and keep track of drinks. Remember to eat before hand – don’t go to functions hungry as you may not always be fed before you start drinking alcohol.
And, remember, it’s okay to drink non-alcoholic drinks!
Avoid inappropriate behaviour
We are more aware of inappropriate behaviour now than ever with international press coverage and litigation suits globally. Many people have been held accountable for their inappropriate behaviour or sexual misconduct toward their colleagues at work parties, usually under the influence of alcohol. So remember to maintain a delicate balance between professional conduct and social behavior with your work colleagues.
In the current ‘selfie’ culture, avoid inappropriate poses in photos which could be posted on your or someone else’s social media. This could be damaging for your career – especially when you are trying hard to make a positive impression.
Reflect on your year
For me, the end of the year is a time for contemplation and reflection. I use the period between Christmas and New Year as my cleaning up period – reviewing the year, finishing outstanding matters and setting goals for the next year.
What about you? Here are some things to consider:
What about reflecting on your life in Australia?
How has your first year in Australia ending?
What changes are you going to make for a positive new year?
What about giving back to Australia – look at volunteering opportunities for 2020 to make a social impact to your new country.
- Soraya Raju, CEO and Founder of Migrate Success.
Cultural integration expert and creator of the LAB program©
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