Tough Economy Changes the Face of Holiday Jobs

BlogHer Original Post

'Tis the season for holiday employment. November and December are typically months where people hankering for a few extra dollars can take on additional jobs created by the demand during the holidays. This year, however, the tough economy has made holiday jobs more lifeline than extra cash for many affected by long-term job loss.

The Bottom Line, MSNBC first shared this story "Tough Economy Makes Holiday Job a Gift for Many" just before Thanksgiving which takes a look at the fact that the economy has changed the face of what holiday jobs mean for many this year. Instead of a side gig, some are using seasonal work to land full-time jobs later (like Andrew Sullivan who turned a temporary job at UPS into a new career).

This holiday season thousands of seasonal workers will be taking on temporary work. Some will use their experience as fodder for their resumes; others will just be happy to get a few paychecks and go back on the job market after the holidays.

And then there are those like Sullivan, who could end up in new careers if they’re lucky enough to turn their temporary gigs into full-time positions with benefits.

Availability of seasonal jobs can be a glimmer of hope for many of the long-term unemployed.

NPR's recently reported on The State of the Long-Term Unemployed which is part of an ongoing series that has been profiling people who have been unemployed longer than a year. While the federal government counts people out of work for 27 weeks or more as long-term unemployed (5.7 million Americans), the NPR/Kaiser Family Foundation poll defined it as people out of work a year or more. Financial hardships for these people abound:

Of these long-term unemployed and underemployed, 51 percent said they've borrowed money from friends or family to get by. Close to half say they've had trouble paying for housing and food, and one-third say they've changed their living situation to save money, including moving in with relatives and friends. Additionally, 9 percent say they've lost their home to foreclosure.

Hopes of finding another job run low and blame (Washington, Wall Street, etc.) runs high.

As for their employment prospects, most are not optimistic, including Lin Daniel.

"If I put my hopes in finding another job, I'd just break my heart. To be honest, I've given up," she says.

A majority of those polled say they don't have much confidence they'll get a job with sufficient pay and benefits. Nearly 70 percent would like the government to offer more job training opportunities and placement services, but only about 1 in 10 believe that government efforts to deal with the poor economy have helped them.

For these folks, even holiday work can mean the difference between survival and not. Not since the Great Depression has the opportunity for seasonal work been so critical.

While many struggle with survival, companies are attempting to bring some return to normalcy (or at least the facade of normalcy). According to Business News Daily, holiday parties are still a go despite the economy.

Despite a down economy, new research shows the majority of companies still will be celebrating this holiday season. Conducted by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., the survey found that nearly 70 percent of companies still plan to hold holiday parties this year.

That number is about the same as last year, but remains well short of a pre-recession 2007, when about 90 percent of surveyed companies held holiday festivities, according to the study.

While there has always been a disparity between the unemployed and the highly successful, the new economy makes the gaps more noticable, if only because its more personal now (who doesn't know someone from each if not all of these groups?).

What has been your experience this year? This holiday season? How is it different (or the same) as the past? Would love to hear from you... the real voices of the state of career and business.

holiday work

Credit Image: Working Santas via Shutterstock


Paula Gregorowicz, The Intuitive Intelligence™ Coach
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