A Thanksgiving Day Recipe for Career Success

The table could be filled with great connections!

By Tracy Tillapaugh and Kim Brown

Family, food, football. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year.

Are you planning to spend some time at home this year during Thanksgiving break? Make sure you whip up a recipe for success, career-style.

–          1 – 50 relatives
–          1 – 30 awkward high school mini-reunions at your hometown hangouts
–          Water, as needed (stay hydrated!)
–          Confidence in your future goals, interests, likes, values

Prep time The more time you put in, the more success you’ll have!

First: preheat the oven.

When you sit down to dinner on Thanksgiving Day, or run into friends when you shop at your local stores, don’t dread the question, “So, what are your plans for after you graduate in __________ (December? May? Next year?)” Or “What are your plans for the summer?”

Don’t answer with a blank stare. Take a moment and think about what you want to do.

Next: Stir the ingredients.


Who knows where Aunt Josie works? Who knows what your cousin Dan’s best friend does? You probably don’t know these things and the more you tell your family what you’re interested in, the more likely you’ll actually find out they know someone already doing it! Keep the conversation flowing and ask them questions, such as, “do you know anyone who works _____ (at Google, for the Mayor’s office, in Boston)?” or “Do you know someone who does _______ (marketing, travel writing, sculpture)?”

Turn your Thanksgiving Day into a thanks-for-helping-me-with-my-job-search Day! Practice this conversation over and over with all the people you encounter. And if you don’t know yet what you’d like to do? It’s okay to tell them that too. Maybe they have some great ideas or are a good sounding board for discussion. Maybe a different perspective will help you to figure out your next steps.


Once your conversation is over, don’t forget to focus on what the day is all about: ThanksGIVING.  Give everyone who has offered assistance, advice, or a connection a huge thank you.

Enjoy your food and your football – and make the most out of those conversations with your family members and friends!