Advice from One of Santa’s Helpers

In the festive spirit of the holidays, I thought I might try something a little different: a discussion of one of my favorite Christmas movies, “Elf.”

Now, I know what you’re thinking: this has nothing to do with Career Services!

Ah, but that, my friends, is where you are wrong. A large portion of the movie actually takes place on the job, from Macy’s to Santa’s Workshop to the sketchy mail-room in the basement, and involves characters working… or in Buddy’s case, attempting to do so. “Elf” provides us with a wealth of knowledge about what to do and what never to do, under any circumstances, at work.


It often pays to do go above and beyond the call of duty, especially if it’s unexpected. No one knew that Buddy planned to create a Winter Wonderland for the arrival of “Santa,” yet he defied expectations and decorated all night, stringing lights, making hundreds of paper snowflakes, and even using Lite-Brites to spell “Welcome Santa!” An employee willing to put in the extra effort is a gold mine to employers.

Play Nice With Your Coworkers, Even If They’re Not Santa


Obviously, Buddy could’ve used some digression in dealing with the fake Santa. Even if you and your coworkers don’t see eye-to-eye, don’t use harsh criticism (or tackle them) to change the situation. Instead, try to encourage them kindly, or discuss the situation in a reasonable manner. Plus, teamwork gets the job done faster.

Optimism is Optimal


Buddy may take the optimism thing a bit too far at times, but it’s true–a good attitude makes everyone in the workplace more productive, including yourself. Employers also like to see that their employees are happy to be on the job. This includes self-confidence, too–never tell yourself that you’re a “cotton-headed ninny-muggins.” A gloomy outlook can make customers think twice about investing in your company or shopping at your store, whatever the case may be. Enthusiasm is a good quality to have!

Treat Customers Professionally


When speaking to customers, it’s important to act appropriately. Though friendliness is appreciated, your job needs to be your priority. You can’t simply launch into an interrogation about how many cats someone owns or, like Buddy, discuss your favorite colors–your clients expect you do be doing your job, not goofing off. Be a professional, even when answering the phone.

Don’t Overreact


Though your “Christmas feels” can be overwhelming, especially in the face of Santa, make sure you don’t go overboard. Yes, Old Saint Nick may be on his way, but there’s no need to scream so loudly that you terrify everyone within a five-mile radius. Keep your cool. (This applies to workplace crises as well. Don’t panic, and calmly try to resolve the issue without any melodramatic outbursts.)

Stay Focused

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As much as anyone would love to run around in a revolving door all day or break dance on their shift, it’s probably best if you avoid these courses of action. (Of course, Buddy’s behavior in the mail-room was… induced by other means, if you catch my drift. Don’t do that at work either.) Nothing will get done if you party on the job. Keeping your mind focused on the task at hand will help you complete it faster, and you’ll earn your coworkers’ and boss’s respect, too. That door will always be there for you to spin around in some other time, and maybe you can show off your sweet moves later, too.

And on a non-career-related, final note, if you haven’t seen this movie yet, I highly recommend it. I usually don’t love Will Ferrell movies, but Buddy the Elf is such a spastic character that you can’t help but enjoy his antics. Plus, I can totally relate to his bordering-on-obsession love of pasta and sweets (though I haven’t tried them together… yet).


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