When the Christmas Stocking plan went wrong

Don’t let setbacks set you back in your job search

Things don’t go as planned. As the line in Robert Burns poem goes, “the best laid plans of mice and men, often go awry.” We think we have it all planned out and then something happens and messes it up.

When the Christmas Stocking plan went awry

Last year (2012) one of my adult sons looked at the stockings hung by the fireplace and said, “so no stocking stuffers this year?” He was 25 at the time and his brother was 26.

In an effort this year, to honor traditions but still stay with our very practical Christmas, I decided to stuff the stockings. Both of my sons now are on their own so I was thinking of things they would need.

When my husband and I shopped at Sam’s Club for groceries and holiday gifts, I saw a pack of Febreze spray with our favorite scent. I picked up the package to share.

When we installed the new fireplace mantels, we decided not to put hooks in the wood. The stockings are hung on stocking hooks that are part of a decorative set. They work well for empty stockings but not so well for stuffed ones.

I wanted to create a memory

Mid afternoon on Christmas Eve, I put a can of Febreze into each Christmas stocking. I soon realized that the stockings couldn’t have much more in them or they would fall down. I added a handful of festively wrapped chocolate kisses to each stocking and went about the rest of my Christmas prep.

After dinner, we assembled around the tree in my office and opened our gifts.

  • At the end of the gift opening, I told my sons to check out the stockings hung by the gas fireplace (see photo above).
  • They reached into the long white Christmas stockings and instead of the delight I had planned, each pulled out melted chocolate.
  • They were dressed for the 7pm church service and it was 6:15pm. As they pulled out the Febreze, there was chocolate stuck to the cans.

The consequences of a bad decision

  1. One of my sons got chocolate on his sweater and opted to run home and change sweaters.
  2. I realized quickly that melted chocolate was just one of the potential problems I didn’t think about.
  3. Fortunately, we opted to do the stockings right after gifts.
  4. The cans of Febreze were already hot and a little longer might have induced an explosion. I didn’t think the fireplace got that hot in one place, but apparently it does.

How does this relate to your job search?

Things will go wrong.

  • You may miss an opportunity because you didn’t plan well enough to meet the deadline.
  • You may submit a poorly written resume and be eliminated.
  • You may fail to use your network and rely only on an online application when the chosen candidate had strategically connected with the decision makers early on and plead his case.
  • You may answer an interview question incorrectly when the other candidate scores more points and moves on in the process.

You can learn from these experiences and do better the next time. I certainly won’t forget the Christmas stocking incident any time soon. You too can work on doing it better. If you need help, I have helped thousands of clients find new roles that better fit their skills and compensate them better than their earlier roles.

To get your career or job search launched with an outstanding resume, creatively written cover letter, cutting-edge LinkedIn Profile and innovative career marketing strategies, simply click here!

Photo Credit: Andrew Plath

When the Christmas Stocking plan went wrong

About Julie Walraven

You quickly see why my unique interactive coaching and strategic resume writing process isn't a cookie-cutter solution. You and I create your personalized job search strategy and define your value and showcase your accomplishments in your resume, LinkedIn profile, cover letters, and so much more.