Professional Development

What Santa Claus can teach you about your career 

Written by Eric Titner

Many of us look towards role models when figuring out how we want to live our lives, and having a professional role model is no exception. When choosing a person to help us shape our own career paths, we often look to mentors or successful individuals in our chosen fields, celebrities, or even famous athletes. But since it’s the holiday season, why not turn to someone iconic and accomplished in his field—have you ever thought about looking at Santa Claus?

It’s not a joke—Santa may be a fictional character who rarely gets discussed until wintertime rolls around each year, but perhaps thinking about how he handles his job can teach us all a valuable lesson about how we can best handle our own.

We’re not alone here—others agree that we can learn a lot from the work ethic of Santa Claus: “The Santa Claus work ethic has also conquered time. He, the reindeer and them elves are going at 10X levels all year long in preparation for one single night.  If you can duplicate the work ethic of Santa Claus you too can create a success that will go down in history.”

Let’s take a closer look at some of the best-known work habits of jolly old St. Nick and what they can teach you about your career and professional journey.

Santa is a great manager.

Think about it, every year Santa is able to motivate and inspire the loyal elves, reindeer, and all the other employees at the North Pole to rally together and do the impossible—deliver gifts to all the good children in the entire world in just one night. If you thought your job was stressful and driven by intense deadlines, think of the beehive of activity that occurs in Santa’s workshop each year! Yet despite it all, Santa is able to get his team to get the job done. If you find yourself in a position of leadership, overseeing a team on a challenging project and a tough deadline, just ask yourself “What would Santa do?” in order to get through it successfully.

Santa is task-focused.

Santa never wavers or strays from his important role on Christmas Eve, year after year. He doesn’t even let the pressure of being a celebrity deter him from his critical responsibilities. He stays focused, goal-oriented, and on task—and so should you with every project that you are a part of in your career journey.

Santa puts others first.

Do we ever hear a bad word about Santa losing his cool, or griping about his job, or having an insane list of demands that must be met before he gets to work each year? Nope, and perhaps that’s part of what makes him so successful. Santa puts the needs of all the good children of the world before his own. That’s both an inspiring attribute to have at work and a good way to not get derailed from your professional responsibilities—regardless of what field you’re in.

Santa has a great attitude at work.

Despite long hours, brutal weather, and a seemingly impossible schedule, Santa always manages to stay jolly—and who among us wouldn’t like the idea of working alongside him? His great attitude helps keep his staff motivated and the proof is in the pudding—do you ever hear about high levels of staff turnover amongst the elves and reindeers on Santa’s payroll? No, they stick around year after year for a good reason. Try being the person with the great attitude at work—no matter how tough or stressful or exhausting things are—and you may be surprised at how far it can take you.

Santa has unparalleled dedication.

Do you ever hear about Santa showing up late, or being a few days behind on his appointed rounds, or taking a year off? You don’t, and chances are you never will because his dedication to his job is second to none. The truth is, people who remain dedicated to their jobs often find career success and best position themselves to achieve their professional goals.

Santa does his homework.

Think about all the research and preparation Santa has to do each year to determine who was naughty and who was nice among all of the children in the entire world, figure out which child wants which gift, and then make sure his inventory and delivery strategy will keep him on schedule. After thinking about what’s on Santa’s work plate, maybe your job doesn’t seem as harrowing as it did before. Whenever you’re working on a project, approach it like Santa would: do your homework, research carefully, and plan diligently. Santa’s secret for project success can work for anyone.

There you have it—some of the reasons why Santa is a great boss who’s happy and successful at his job year after year. Consider adopting some of his best work habits and you’ll be setting yourself up for success in whatever career path you set your sights on.

About the author

Eric Titner

Eric is a NYC-based editor and writer, with years of experience in career-focused content development across a wide range of industries.