Career and Life Lessons From “A Christmas Carol”

by savanna in Career Management 26/12/2015

There is something about the christmas season that brings out the best in some people. Generosity, happiness and positivity are amongst the expressive feelings that this festive season brings out. In light of my festive spirit, I decided to watch Patrick Stewart´s adaptation of “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens. As I watch this classic, I began seeing it from a different perspective. Perhaps my new perspective stems from the significant changes I have most recently experienced in my life, but nonetheless I feel an exhilarated desire to share it with you all.

Engrossed in watching “A Christmas Carol,” I realised 5 major career and even life lessons from this classic.

1. Reflection of the past, to assess the present, in order to live a better future

Looking at our past can help us analyse our present. Reflection is a great way to reignite your motivations and goals. It can humble us and re-establish our appreciation of the efforts we have gone through to get to where we are now. We always hear about the importance of forward thinking, but it is by looking at the past we see the reasons why. Our present can make us lose touch of why it is we are doing what we are doing. Looking back into our past can give us clarity, to alter our present and create a better future.

2. Dealing with difficult people

The stem of why Ebenezer Scrooge turned into a bitter and reclusive man, is seen in his past. As a child he often felt unwanted by his family and experienced bullying from the other children in his boarding school. He was sent away to boarding school and was often left behind to spend christmas on his own.

‘Yes!’ said the child, brimful of glee. ‘Home, for good and all. Home, for ever and ever. Father is so much kinder than he used to be, that home’s like Heaven! He spoke so gently to me one dear night when I was going to bed, that I was not afraid to ask him once more if you might come home; and he said Yes, you should; and sent me in a coach to bring you. And you’re to be a man!’ said the child, opening her eyes,’and are never to come back here; but first, we’re to be together all the Christmas long, and have the merriest time in all the world.’

This passage spoken by Ebenezer Scrooge´s sister Fan, provides an insight into Scrooge´s situation. It can be assumed in her dialogue that Scrooge grew up in home with a cruel father and although not literally mentioned, it can be assumed that Scrooge´s mother is dead.

Dealing with difficult people at work or in life is not the best of situations. At times it can create a negative energy and frustration. In dealing with negative attitudes, it is important to incorporate a level of empathy, not necessarily in a detailed sense, but with a consideration that this person may be going  through or has gone through a tough time in their life. There may be other reasons for their attitude and it is important to not let their behaviour get to you. It is also vital not to take their attitude personally and hold a grudge, doing so could worsen the relationship further. Try to create a comfortable and supportive environment, even if they do not want to tell their situation, you can in the least, create an atmosphere where they feel they have a positive outlet.

Likewise, if you are the person who has been or is going through a tough time, it is important to communicate these feelings. Your communication does not have to be detail, but say enough to ensure that people are aware and have an understanding of your situation. Releasing your feeling could also help you react to other people better.

3. Don’t let your ambitions be your whole life

Part of Scrooge´s bitterness stems the rejection he felt when his fiancee, Belle, broke off their engagement. During this time Scrooge´s fear of poverty fuelled his greed and desire succeed. His main focus was to succeed and everything else in took a back seat.

“There is nothing on which is so hard as poverty; and there is nothing it professes to condemn with such severity as the pursuit of wealth!” – Scrooge´s view

“You fear the world too much,” she answered, gently. “All your other hopes have merged into the hope of being beyond the chance of its sordid reproach. I have seen your nobler aspirations fall off one by one, until the master-passion, Gain, engrosses you. Have I not?” – Belle´s response

Belle´s response of “ I have seen your nobler aspirations fall off one by one,” can be understood as Scrooge losing sight of his main goals.  Hiss fears have consumed him to forget other importances in life.

It is important that we see our ambitions as a part of us and not all of us. If we let our occupational or monetary achievement define us, we run the risk of neglecting other factors of life that can make even happier. We run the risk of losing sight of who or why we are doing it in the first place.

4. Effective Management style

“He has the power to render us happy or unhappy, to make our service light or burdensome, a pleasure or a toil. Say that his power lies in words and looks, in things so slight and insignificant that it is impossible to count ‘em up; what then? The happiness he gives us is quite as great as if it cost a fortune.” – In this passage Ebenezer Scrooge refers to his old mentor Mr. Fezziwig. On his journey through his pass, he was able to reflect back to see the happiness and motivation he felt whilst working for Mr. Fezziwig.

5. It is never too late to change

I often hear people saying that “This is how I have always been” or “I can´t change the way I am now.” “A Christmas Carol” presents the perfect lesson, that everyone is capable of changing, no matter what stage of your life you are at. It only requires the willingness to want to change for the better.

It can be considered that one of the major reasons why people believe that they cannot change, is because they fear the actual process of change. Scrooge, he had to face hard truths about his life and the negative perceptions that people had about him. In a way Scrooge had it easy because he was forced to these realizations by the three christmas ghosts. We unfortunately need force ourselves to take the initiative to change and this in itself can be a major deterrent from change.

Perhaps I am stating the obvious, however, it don´t suppose it would hurts to remind those who may have forgotten.

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