Over the next few days, the pendulum will swing from spending more time at work to spending more time with family and friends. This does not mean you should give up thinking about a new gig for 2014. You just have to focus on different things.
Listen for the cues: when you are sharing eggnog with friends, listen for words and phrases related to new projects, org changes, colleagues leaving and that sort of thing. Make a note in your phone to follow up on January 4th to see if there is something interesting you should know about.
Be positive: When someone asks you how things are at work, say something good. “Same old, same old” is the lazy response and basically gives a crappy impression of you and your work. Think of a positive response like “I am working on some really cool projects” or “My new boss is working out well”. These kind of answers work well because people can nod and go back to sipping chardonnay or they can ask a follow up question which could be the start of an interesting conversation.
Ditch your title: When someone asks you what you do, don’t know just spit out your job title. People outside your organization have no idea what titles mean. Be descriptive and clear. Talk about the purpose of your work and the problems you solve every day.
Troll LinkedIn: Use this time to connect with former colleagues, friends from school and the people you met at the hockey tournament yesterday. You never know when that connection might come in handy.
All the best for a wonderful holiday.