We have a very special guest for our December career story – Santa Claus!
What’s your current position and what do you do?
My position has different titles in different parts of the world, but I am effectively the CEO of a global gift manufacturing and distribution business. This job involves a huge variety of tasks including
- Reading lots of mail
- Checking who’s been naughty and nice
- Overseeing the manufacturing and packaging operations
- Managing a huge workforce who work long hours in freezing conditions
- Coordinating the other Santas who help out in my place leading up to Christmas
- Liaising with retail outlets and hospitality establishments worldwide
- Delivering toys personally using a unique form of transport
- Training and caring for a team of reindeer
In addition to these tasks, I am often called upon for guest appearances on television, in movies, on billboards and magazine covers, in parades and advertisements. I also occasionally find time to visit Christmas parties and hospitals.
What other activities are you involved in?
With the demands of my role, I have to pay close attention to my health and fitness. It’s rather tricky to maintain my rotund shape while still ensuring I can fit in the sleigh and down chimneys. Fortunately, the hard work before December 24 keeps me healthy while the generous amounts of milk, cookies, beer and fruitcake I consume on my rounds keep me ‘in shape’.
Can you tell us about a significant turning point in your career?
After the early years, when I was less well-known in English-speaking countries, the portraits of me by American cartoonist Thomas Nast in the second half of the 19th century were a significant turning point. My appearance as ‘Jolly Old Santa Claus’ in his drawings, like the one above, led to my greater popularity and the success I enjoy today.
Who has inspired you?
In the 3rd century, a monk – who eventually became St Nicholas – started the tradition of giving in secret. Here’s the story of how it started, from whychristmas.com:
“There was a poor man who had three daughters. He was so poor, he did not have enough money for a dowry, so his daughters couldn’t get married.One night, Nicholas secretly dropped a bag of gold down the chimney and into the house The bag fell into a stocking that had been hung by the fire to dry! This was repeated later with the second daughter. Finally, determined to discover the person who had given him the money, the father secretly hid by the fire every evening until he caught Nicholas dropping in a bag of gold. Nicholas begged the man to not tell anyone what he had done, because he did not want to bring attention to himself. But soon the news got out and when anyone received a secret gift, it was thought that maybe it was from Nicholas.”
I am proud to be able to carry on his tradition!
Finally, what would you tell your younger self about work and careers?
You never know how long a job will last! I’ve been very lucky because anyone who brings joy and delight to the face of a child will always be in demand. If you are willing to give without the expectation of receiving anything in return, who can tell what sort of career may be ahead of you?