In this infamously labeled selfie generation, the stigma that we are lazy is one of the biggest lies out there. I don’t think that everyone from Generation Y and Z is a slacker.
Maybe it’s social media that’s given rise to hyper-competitiveness, our need to indulge and try a little bit of everything, or the existence of accessible resources and opportunities that have produced multi-hyphenates.
But one thing is for sure, many of us fear a stagnant, singular 9-to-5 career track. The last thing we want is to settle for the stability, limits and safety of where we are and what we do.
The new gauge for flexibility and talent is your unique combination of skills and the ability to apply them in different environments. You’re not limited to what you can do for your job/position/occupation/craft/department.
If you’re looking for ways to do this, here are a couple things you could start to explore the possibilities:
“There’s a big difference between knowing something and taking action.”
1. Clearly identify your skills
What are you good and bad at? What do you think you can be better at?
Knowing what you don’t want can also help figure out what you do want.
Take some time to analyze yourself. Read Strengths Finder 2.0. Take those online personality quizzes. Check your Myers-Briggs personality type. Ask your bosses, colleagues, family and friends. Whatever it is that you think can help you.
Figure out what is possible and what is currently impossible to do or learn. Match your situation and your wants with the available time, information and resources you have.
By doing so you’ll waste less time unrealistically jumping into different things and end up making smarter risks because you at least have a hint about what kind of direction you want your path to go.
Take Pia* and Joshua* for example. Pia is a cultural project coordinator who works for an international embassy, and Joshua is a supply manager works for a well known multi-national company.
Both have previous experience as hosts and as student DJs in college, and they still find time on some weekends or time after work to host birthdays, corporate gatherings, parties and events.
Pia was able to get bookings by asking around and getting referrals, attending trade fairs by just mingling and giving out her calling card, and turned it into a side gig.
Aside from her P25,000 – P30,000 monthly income, she’s able to earn an additional P3,000 – P5,000 for every event.
Take note, there are times that you don’t have to build from scratch, and you might already have the skills that you need. You just need to look back and trace the dots and find out what still interests you up to this day.
2. Build your skill set and meet like-minded people
What is it you secretly wish you were doing? Or better yet, what do you do in your free time? Where does your attention really go?
Are you a frustrated painter? Wish you knew how to tinker with codes? Want to learn how invest in stocks? Think you have the heart for nation-building? Want to learn how to make people laugh? Need a crash course on building your own business? Do you feel the need to upgrade your knowledge of your chosen industry? Feel like you could give a tour while you travel?
Adam Smiley Poswolsky writes on fastcoexist.com: “Skills allow you to take your career in multiple directions, which is ever more important in an unstable job market.”
Jose*, an accounts manager for an advertising agency, found the time to turn his childhood frustration of painting into a hobby and creative outlet of his that helps him become more creative at his job.
Paul*, a project manager in an IT company, takes classes at the Philippine Stock Exchange to learn more about how to invest his money and make it grow to accommodate and build the lifestyle he wants.
Finding like-minded people who share the same frustrations and interests can be incredibly gratifying and rewarding. You can gain new friends, potential business partners, and project partners, and sometimes even travel buddies. Doing things with other people will get you further ahead than doing it on your own. As Amy Poehler said,
“Be open to collaboration. Other people and other people’s ideas are often better than your own. Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.”
Right now, there are ton of bloggers offering workshops, a lot of establishments offering and hosting talks and meet-ups and schools that offer short courses. There are even more communities, groups, collectives and organizations offering project involvement, collaborations, summits, and volunteer work.
Trade School Manila is one example of an independent community that fosters learning for free, using peer-to-peer learning.
Muni PH, on the other hand, is a good example of encouraging creative collaboration through meet-ups that help solve problems and build a greener and healthier world.
(If I could link and enumerate everything I would but it’s a long and exhaustive list. Feel free to shoot me an email at email@example.com or a tweet @shekbangsil if you’re looking for something specific. I might just be able to help)
More from Rappler’s Career section:
- 6 tips: Asking good questions at meetings, seminars
- Choose your career or travel? Why not both?
- The 5 unspoken rules to getting promoted
- At work, it’s okay to say no to your boss
- The 4 things you should stop doing at work
- Dealing with rejection at the workplace
Do you wish to make a little more money on the side doing something you like? Do you want to test if your business idea can work? Do you want to find out if you’re a good fit for the job you want to have?
Put yourself out there and do something about it. There’s a big difference between knowing something and taking action.
Sign up for that class. Volunteer for that project. Build your business model and start small. Attend trade fairs. Talk to people who are already doing what you want to do. Heck, even strangers or people you look up to aren’t so hard to reach anymore. Almost everyone right now is reachable just through a tweet or an e-mail.
There a lot of people with great ideas, talents and skills that never really get anywhere because all they do is think about it or daydream about it. You’ll never get anywhere with the potential you know you have if you don’t even bother to try.
The beauty of this experiment is that it is low-risk and high-reward. If your goal is to eventually transition and get employed or build around what you really want to do, then this is the perfect way for you to do it without dangerously risking too much.
Take a look at Charlie*, a marketing officer who works in government, she finds time to take up film editing workshops and design seminars in her free time as an exploratory tool to understand what it really entails to become part of the design industry before switching careers.
Antonio*, a manager who works for a multi-national company managed to put up his own events company and helps run a family friend’s flower shop. In it, he finds a healthy balance and love for all three.
Danah and Stacy, also known as the women behind The Plump Pinay, are bloggers who previously worked for Yahoo. They realized that their advocacy for body love was something that could sustain them that perfectly harmonized their work, passion and lifestyle.
Check out Karen, a programmer who successfully transitioned into a working as a designer even without going to design school.
Glen, a marketing professional turned his love and passion for music to start Ndfy.me, an online business that serves as an online discovery platform for independent (indie) Filipino music.
Create your own opportunities. It’s never too late! – Rappler.com
Shek Bangsil works in a gaming consultancy firm and is in the pursuit of business while she hones her discipline in the arts. Finding a way to harness her stubbornness and silliness to contribute to the betterment of society, she’s creating a path of her own as a social entrepreneur, filmmaker, writer, and designer. Feel free to email her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @shekbangsil for more of her daily monologues.
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