It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Although as travelers, the holidays may bring some extra stress. While some of us may be home with our loved ones, others might be working far away from family. Some may have to work on holidays. If you find yourself on the road, here are some tips for the holiday season.
Review Your Contract
Things can be a bit different during the holiday season than during the rest of the year. If you have guaranteed hours in your contract, they may be void during the week of a holiday. You may or not get paid extra holiday pay for working on a holiday.
Review your contract in advance and know what to expect this holiday season. Plan ahead if needed financially.
Ask For Time Off Written In Your Contract
Along with reviewing your contract for holiday pay and hours stipulations, you want to get any time off during this season approved before you start. Any days off that you take should be written into your contract. Also, when you get to your unit, alert your manager about your contracted time off. Time off does not always get communicated from the person who hired you to your unit manager.
Please know that jobs can get competitive around the holiday season and hiring preference may be given to travelers who do not request extensive time off.
Beware Of January Starts
One of the unique benefits of being a traveler is that you can choose when you work and you can take time off. Many travelers like to take time off around the holidays to spend it with family and friends. While this is undoubtedly a joy of being a traveler, it can come with hardship.
Finding a contract that begins in January is especially hard. For starters, the job market tends to be flooded with travelers who are looking for January 1st starts because many travelers take the holiday season off of work. Second, hiring managers tend to need the budget and HR approval to hire and that can get stalled at the beginning of the year.
Here are some prof tips about navigating New Year starts from Melissa Knybel, RN who is Vice President of Clinical Services, Compliance, and Quality Management at Randstad Healthcare.
- Book January assignments early. Early November is ideal
- Be very flexible to shift types and locations for January assignments
- There is often heavy utilization in the warm states to cover the massive increase in the census from the “snowbirds” so locations in Florida, Arizona, Texas, etc tend to be good options
- Hospitals managing their own travel staff many also offer options not available to traditional travel agencies (e.g.Banner and Yuma).
Connect With Other Travelers
If you are on assignment and away from family and friends this season, try to connect with other travelers and create a traveler potluck or meet up. Search your hospital, favorite online forums, or social media for other travelers in your area.
Make Your Own Traditions
As travelers, we can create a life that is different from the norm. You don’t have to go with the flow, you can create your own traditions. For example, if you cannot take time off of work the week of Thanksgiving, you can ask for time off the next week and go to visit family then. You can create new traditions with family and friends that may not be the norm, but they work for you. Maybe your family can come to visit you on an assignment, or you meet somewhere in-between to celebrate. You could even fly to the Caribbean for the holidays! Traveling can open up a world of opportunities that you may not have as a permanent staff member.
From the TravCon family to yours, we wish you the happiest of holidays this holiday season!
Date Published: 11/30/19
Julia Kuhn, MS CCC-SLP. Julia is a traveling speech-language pathologist who is the social media and media outreach coordinator for The TravCon. You can find her personal work at www.thetravelingtraveler.com.