‘Silly Season’ has arrived

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:

Internal networking

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.

External networking

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.

If you would like to read more, please go to http://migratesuccess.com/blogs/

The Race that stops a nation

New migrants to Australia? – what is this horse race that stops everything in Australia for a short few minutes. It’s called ‘Melbourne Cup”.

What is Melbourne Cup?
This is Australia’s most important horse race, held at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne. The first Melbourne Cup race started in 1861 and is a holiday in Melbourne.

What happens on Melbourne Cup day?
There is a party atmosphere at Racecourses around the country, specially at Flemington where thousands of racegoers attend wearing the latest fashion and hats. Some people wear amusing costumes for the fun of it. Women wear hats and there is even competition for best hats and dresses. Companies have marquees and there are office parties.

What else happens on Melbourne Cup day?
Many people gamble on Melbourne Cup day, even those who don’t normally gamble. People bet on a particular horse or enter a sweep at work (for a few dollars) where they are given a random horse number. There are normally Melbourne Cup Day lunches where the women wear fancy hats and watch the great race on television at 3:00 pm (Eastern Standard Time).
As the advertising reminds us: Remember to gamble responsibly.

Get into the fun of Melbourne Cup day and enjoy yourselves.

Your first Christmas in Australia

Is this your first Australian Christmas? Is it different from what you thought Christmas is celebrated?
Does it seem different from what you thought it would be?
Many migrants perceive Christmas as a holy day or as a time to enjoy Father Christmas and unwrapping presents.

What is Christmas in religious terms?
Some see it as the day when Jesus Christ was born and celebrate Christmas on 25 December.

Why do Australians celebrate differently?
Australia, being in the Southern Hemisphere, usually experiences a very hot summer around Christmas – unlike the Northern Hemisphere which is often blanketed in snow and freezing temperatures.
Australians celebrate in a unique style which is suited to our weather.

Family Christmas Day – This is a gathering of family, and sometimes friends, where the day is spent eating lots of food – often seafood, salads, fruit and drinks. In Sydney, the fish market operates for 24 hours leading right up to Christmas Day. It’s a huge rush where people go to buy the freshest seafood, especially prawns and oysters.
Other people enjoy having a barbeque, a swim in the backyard pool or just a relaxing time with the family. Presents are usually opened on this day and lunches tend to be held later in the afternoon.

Of course, there are many people who stick to past traditions and celebrate Christmas lunch or dinner with roast turkey, glazed ham and Christmas pudding (with a coin in it!). Many people enjoy pulling Christmas crackers to reveal what’s inside – usually a paper hat, a toy and a joke (which must be shared with the other guests!).

Orphans’ Christmas – Some migrants and Australians who do not have family around at this time of the year tend to celebrate with ‘Orphans’ Christmas’. This is where people take picnic baskets to parks or beaches and meet new found friends who are doing the same thing.

Kris Kringle – This is a tradition that occurs in some offices where staff buy fun gifts for other staff with a monetary limit of say $10 – a small gesture which is meant to spread the Christmas spirit and not to cause offence.

Why not do some volunteer work?
Many Australians also spend their day doing volunteer work. The Wayside Chapel in Kings Cross, Sydney, offers food and a day of entertainment for the homeless and disadvantaged. This year, I will spend my day volunteering my time at Wayside Chapel. Find out how you can volunteer on Christmas Day in your suburb or city.

Christmas Lights –This is a tradition where houses or whole streets decorate their homes with amazing decorations and lights. It’s great to take your families for a night walk to see this incredible sight. Click on the links below to see the best Sydney streets Christmas lights in 2018.
Why not Google what’s happening in your own city.
• Christmas lights around suburbs – Sydney
• Christmas lights -Sydney

Have you heard the unique customised Aussie Christmas Carols?
Watch on u-tube some of my favourites.
• The Three Drovers – The Three Drovers
• Aussie Jingle Bells – Aussie Jingle Bells
• Six White boomers – Six White Boomers

What happens after Christmas Day?
This is the day following Christmas Day. It tends to be quieter – a time to rest from indulging in too much food and drink. Many Australians choose this day to go to the foreshore to watch the start of the Sydney to Hobart boat race. It’s also time for cricket fans to watch the Aussies play cricket on their TV or go to the match (if it’s held in their city.)

Are you looking for jobs?
Many Australians tend to take their annual leave around this time to be with their family. All businesses tend to come to life after Australia Day on 26 January. Start looking for jobs after this date.

A time to look forward –Christmas has a universal appeal (both religious and social) so at the end of the year, it’s a time to relax. For me, Christmas time is also about Hope, Love, Joy and Faith – a time to reflect on the last 12 months and to look forward to the new year ahead.

Enjoy your Christmas!