In these tough economic times, we need something to spur us on. Our own American exhortations -- Yankee ingenuity and "where there's a will there's a way" -- can be used to ignite the holiday heralding of the possibility of renewal. Renewal forces you to confront your own situation.
If you're just "making do" in a job, the best gift for yourself would be to change your luck. Here are some ways to get started:
1. Look at what is being done now at your job, and think of an improvement. Suggest the idea of working on it together with the management; don't try for solo credit.
2. Get involved in task forces and activities within your organization. Chose one that interests you or one where there are skills that you would like to learn. For example, if there is a productivity team, join in instead of just waiting around for better wages. You can find opportunities to learn new ideas and experiment with different skills, all of which will help you in the long run.
3. Build a strong relationship with your supervisor or managers. For the most part, workers pit themselves, against their bosses and lose out doubly. There are ways to start these relationships when they have been absent. Find the outside interest of your boss -- sports, gardening, entertaining -- and talk to them about it. Create and treasure these essential relationships.
4. Get smarter and better trained now. Go to school either in or outside of your company. Learn skills that will broaden your knowledge and make you a better employee. Besides the subject to be studied, community colleges and trade schools also provide a new opportunity to make friends and network.
5. If nothing in your own work appeals to you, think of something that does -- perhaps an interest not even related to it. Start to develop that on weekends to see where it leads. It just might emerge as a possibly business. If you like to barbecue ribs or bake cakes, consider selling them to a neighborhood grocer or restaurant. If you collect from flea markets, think about opening your own thrift store. If you can organize desks and closets, try to get a starter client.
All this is possible -- if you think it is. America is built on inventiveness combined with the "can-do" belief and support from people who care. In between eggnog and gift giving, dream out loud with your family and friends. Inspire each other to think and act more like a team -- pulling together to build a dream to which everyone can contribute ideas and provide support. It's a gift that can change your life.
Make your luck happen.