December 21 2011

5 Things to Do On Your Holiday Time Off

by Liz Seasholtz

The Wall Street Journal reports that 64 percent of employees work between Christmas and New Year’s. If you’re like me, you’re not one of them. In fact, I’ve got a nice mix of vacation days and paid time off coming my way in the next two weeks. And, if you’re even more like me, you have zero plans except being merry, spending time with family, and eating a lot of cookies.

Not that I’m complaining. I’m practically an expert at killing time. Hulu marathons, surfing Twitter, organizing and re-organizing shelves and closets—you name it, I probably do it. But there’s probably better ways I could be spending my time off from work, especially around the holidays. And I’m sure there are things I could do to help out my career.

If you have time, below are five ideas of some things to do on your time off—whether you’re a student or professional—both for your career and for fun.

1. Take a mini-vacation with your friends.
How often are you and your friends off from work at the same time? Not often. Plan an overnight trip somewhere fun. My friend has a tradition of going to Atlantic City, NJ for a night with all his high school friends every year. It’s the one chance they all are together and can catch up (not to mention let loose and have tons of fun).

2. Update your online presence.
If you’ve been meaning to update your LinkedIn profile, build a personal website, or even clear out and delete your old Webshots albums from 2004 (remember those?), now is the time.

3. Work out (or start).
You can usually get a pretty good deal for a gym membership in late December, since the resolution-maker doesn’t hit until January. Plus, it typically takes two weeks to form a habit, so your late-December downtime is the perfect opportunity to start a gym regimen—not to mention work off those Christmas cookies.

4. Build your network.
Take advantage of opportunities to make new connections at your holiday parties, when you’re out with friends, or any time you’re meeting new people. Ask about what they do, and take the opportunity to practice delivering your elevator pitch in return. Just make sure not to talk too much shop—nobody likes discussing work when they’re trying to enjoy a social outing.

What else are you doing (or should you be doing) on your time off from work? If you’re a student, this winter break checklist might help you make some career-centered plans.

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