If you have a deferred placement or have been benched at work, anxiety is perhaps your soul mate now. However, this is conceivably the best time when you could engage yourself in a whole lot of rewarding activities.
1) Take up part time jobs or work on short term projects
2) Give back to the society work for a social cause, take up volunteering
3) Nurture and leverage your network-they help in finding better opportunities
4) Learn new skills and prepare for competitive exams
5) Take a breather catch up with old friends and family, pursue a hobby.
Considering the precarious situation of the global economy, the news of those prized job offers obtained through college placements being deferred or of (particularly) fresh graduates being ‘benched’ at work, comes as no surprise. But as experts say, you can always make the most of whatever situation life has put you in. In this article we aim to give you pointers on how best you can utilize your free time:
A particularly long stretch of free time one’s hands opens up the chance of taking up a part time job. Colleges and coaching classes are frequently looking for temporary hires and teaching your subject of interest helps keep concepts fresh in the mind before steeping into the corporate world. A who took up a temporary teaching position in his alma mater right out of college. His decision to teach at VJTI was in some measure due to the fact that his campus offer from Wipro was staggered due to the economic recession. Faced with the fact of spending idle months waiting for the offer to materialize, he undertook a stint computer science at his alma mater. Little did he realized that he was taking up what would come to be called fun employment. It was a thoroughly enjoyable and enriching experience, one that would not have occurred if the economy had been on the right track. Working on short term freelance projects can be a very enriching experience indeed. Portals such as RentACoder and GetAFreelancer are well suited for such pursuits.
IK, whose joining date was deferred by about eight months, suggest that having such free time can also be a great opportunity to learn new skills. Major technology companies such as Microsoft, Cisco, Sun Microsystems, Red Hat etc offer a plethora of certification courses with a wide range of durations and complexity. Certifications from programs such as Microsoft Certified Professional, Cisco Career Certifications, Sun Certified Professional, Red Hat Certification Program etc are held in very high regard in the industry. This is also a great time to focus on studies leading up to exams like the CAT or the GRE.
Internships and Do-It-Your- self projects can also be great opportunities to learn new things. Smaller firms are usually quite keen to offer internships for short term projects as it saves them the cost of having to hire a full time employee whose skills might not be necessary further on. Websites such as Instructables and make magazine are excellent sources for intellectually stimulating projects. Academic also tends to have some excellent short term projects that require interns or volunteers. Your own professors are an excellent resource for guidance in these venues.
Such a long stretch of free time is seldom encountered during one’s working life particularly at the beginning of any career. This is also a good opportunity to rediscover old skills and hobbies and to pick up new ones. This is great time to sign up for guitar classes or to take those long awaited salsa lessons. Outstation monsoon treks and hiking trails are another great way of blowing off some stream. Backpacking is another increasingly popular (and affordable) endeavor
A very productive way of spending ones free time is to give to the community. NGOs are perpetually in need of volunteers and the work can be as challenging as one wishes it to be and yet exceptionally rewarding. Websites like Karma yoga and endeavors such as the Times of India’s ‘Teach India” campaigns are excellent places to begin. One can also volunteer in the government’s home guard and civil defense programs whereby one can pick up some very useful basic disaster management skills while serving the society at the same time.
One should also give due consideration to nurturing and leveraging their network to find better opportunities in such circumstances,. Creating an online profile on websites such as Linkedin can be very useful for this purpose, as can attending industry events and conferences. Barcamps and Un-conferences are also excellent networking points.
It is important to learn the lessons one can from the exceptional economic circumstances we are faced with, for such an opportunity comes but once in a lifetime if it does come at all. Somebody once said, you are not a manager if you have never been fired. This dry spell will make fine managers of many young people.