Career Key

Author: Career Key's President and CEO, Juliet Wehr Jones, GCDF, J.D.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

5 Ideas for "Off the Clock" Activities that Help Your Career

Time to give your career some help. Whether you are a victim of job dissatisfaction, unemployed, or discouraged that your career is not as fulfilling as you'd like, you can still improve your career choice "off the clock" or "off duty." Why not enjoy yourself and improve your career prospects at the same time?

Here are my top 4 ideas for making your "off the clock" time enjoyable and helpful to your career:
  1. Learn more about yourself to find the activities you enjoy doing and skills you enjoy using.
  2. Learn how Holland's Theory of Career Choice applies to you, both at work and at leisure. If needed, make some new career goals to bring positive, forward looking direction to your life.
  3. Identify new skills you'd like to have and your future career goal requires.
  4. Find activities that teach and use these skills. You may have little extra time, but even the right volunteer position can be limited in time-commitment - once a month, once every few months...
  5. Play with the Internet - but focus on your career interests, not your Facebook page. What is going on with your account on "LinkedIn"? Are you signed up for Google News Alerts related to your career interests? What's new with any professional organizations you belong to? Use the Internet to find ideas for local activities and projects to get involved in.
For example:
You're a Social personality type, working as a social worker but feeling overwhelmed, underpaid, and unsure whether you're making a difference. You use the phrase "burned out" a lot. Your second and third highest Holland personality types are Investigative and Enterprising. You've thought of trying to get into management so there is less face to face contact with clients, but more control over strategic direction. A higher salary would be great!

You enjoy helping people and have great communications skills, are good at earning people's trust and developing rapport, and have a lot of experience in navigating bureaucracy.

You might be interested in a second job or volunteer project that involves:

- helping write a grant proposal;
- a project where you supervise other volunteers or staff;
- mentoring or serving as a Big Brother or Big Sister;
- providing support to a local university social science department doing a study on a social issue of interest to you; or
- other activities with a clear, positive outcome that involve helping people, managing others or investigating a social problem.

If you have enough money or a tuition reimbursement program at work (lucky you), are there classes in business management, grantwriting, or social sciences that help advance your career, teach new skills, and/or keep you updated in your field of interest? You can learn more about choosing a training and educational program at The Career Key website.

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