Ten things to learn from your Christmas casual job
By Alex Hargreaves
With many stores currently recruiting for Christmas Casuals, it’s a good idea to stop and think about how seasonal holiday work can be a major boost for your career. Although Christmas casual work can often entail standing on your feet for endless hours while customer after customer asks you the same question and beads of stress form on your brow at the thought of meeting your sales targets, joining the work force over the Christmas period can teach you many valuable things about yourself, and can help you prepare for your future career.
If you have never had a job before, the Christmas recruitment season is the ideal time to look for one. Over the summer period, Australia will see a 170% increase in casual positions available, and 87% of those jobs are created by the retail industry. Experience gained from Christmas casual work can set you up for an on going position with the company that employed you and can arm you with transferable skills that you can apply to virtually any career you embark on after. Here are 10 things you can learn from your Christmas casual role that will serve you years later.
#1 Smiling under stress
Christmas can be an extremely stressful time for retail workers. Dealing with impatient customers and demanding floor managers all day can make you want to lose it. Performing well in a Christmas casual role means remaining jolly and keeping a smile on your face no matter how badly you want to throw the customers items at their head instead of into their shopping bag. Unfortunately, all jobs are stressful and dealing politely with people under pressure is a skill that will serve you well when dealing with difficult clients in future roles.
#2 Coping with rejection
Christmas casual jobs are VERY competitive. Everyone needs money to spend on their loved ones at Christmas time, and Christmas casual jobs provide an opportunity for long hours and overtime rates. Unless you get lucky, it is likely you will have to apply for a few organizations before you find one that offers you a job. This can be a good opportunity to learn how to deal with feelings of rejection and reflect on how you can improve next time you go for an interview or submit your resume.
#3 Showing up at work, even when you don’t want to
‘Tis the season to be jolly, unless you are working for most of it. With so many parties and celebrations happening through the Christmas period, working means that you won’t be able to attend them all. It’s hard putting on your name tag when everyone else is popping champagne, but it is sadly not an unusual occurrence when you have a Christmas casual job. Likewise, when you work full time later in the future, there will be times where you will wake up in the morning and the sun will be shining and you will wish you were doing anything else except heading off to work. It’s better to learn to push through earlier rather than later.
#4 Having amazing customer service
Christmas casual work is usually 100% customer service focused. During your time as a casual, you will be assisting customers all sorts of wild requests and doing so with enthusiasm and accuracy. Customer service is a skill that is beneficial no matter what job you eventually end up in. Whether you are serving customers, assisting clients or trying to attract new business, having great customer service skills is a necessity to succeed.
#5 Representing a brand
When you begin working on a new organization, it’s expected that you will take on the cultural values of the brand and demonstrate this to external clients. For example, Apple’s current slogan is ‘Think Different’. Employers at Apple demonstrate that they fit the idea of ‘Think Different’ by thinking outside of the box and finding creative ways to solve their customers problems and create products that fit their needs. As a Christmas casual, you will learn to adapt to the culture of the shop that you are working in and reflect those organizational values when serving customers.
#6 Gift wrapping
This one is a bit random, but it’s almost guaranteed that you will become a pro gift wrapper working a Christmas casual job. Your friends will appreciate their shop quality gift wrapped presents in the future.
#7 Asking for help
Christmas shoppers are crazy and sometimes you wont be able to deal with their incessant requests all by yourself. It’s in these moments that you will need to call on your colleagues for support. At times, it can be difficult to ask for help as it can feel like you are bothering people. However, in order to efficiently get the job done, sometimes it takes two to tango. Learning to step out of your comfort zone and ask for a hand is an important step for growth in any role.
#8 Being there for your colleagues
Likewise, you must also learn to be available to support your colleagues when they need you. It may be a really busy time, but if you can see the new guy is struggling, a little support goes a long way. If you learn to identify when your colleagues are in trouble and be there for them, there is a good chance that they will be there for you when you need them too.
#9 Diffusing heated situations
Maybe you just sold the last GHD Gold Platinum and that’s exactly what Bethany was coming in to get for her best friend for Christmas. Let’s say, Bethany absolutely loses it and can’t believe the store would be out of such an important and in demand product at Christmas time. There is swearing. There is throwing of products. In a high pressure situation like this, you can learn to control your temper and refrain from cussing and/or attacking Bethany. As a Christmas casual, situations like this most likely will arise and all you can do is stay calm and try to offer other alternatives. The better you get at diffusing situations like this, the more prepared you will be for disagreements and conflict that may arise in future roles.
#10 Learning to have work/life balance
When you work full time, it’s very important to make time for the things that you love. As a Christmas casual, your hours will be all over the place and sometimes you may long for the days that you could relax in the pool, read good book, play your favorite video game or go out for drinks with friends without having to worry about waking up early the next day. You are forced to learn to be organized enough to mark out time to do the things you love and still be able to make all of your shifts. If it’s all work no play, you won’t make it through the day.
Many companies are hiring for Christmas casual roles NOW, and you can search for holiday work on Careerboard. Happy hunting!