After experiencing an array of job titles within the past four years, I have come to a sudden halt as I was recently let go from a job for the first time in my professional career. At first, I felt like a complete failure. I had absolutely no clue as to what my next move would be and in fact, I’m still figuring it out. But in this past month, I have truly gained insight towards the importance of staying productive and making sure that I don’t fall too far from where I was or lose track of where I want to be. So, here are 7 ways to learn and stay productive when you’re in-between jobs.

Ways to Learn in Between Jobs

1. Stay on top of the latest news.

Read books. Read trending articles. Watch TedTalks. Get updates via social media. Whatever you do, make sure that you don’t fall behind on what is going on within your field. Today’s news is extremely fast-paced and constantly evolving due to the convenient access of information online. It’s important to stay in the know so that you can be ready for whatever opportunity comes your way.

2. Go to industry events.

A great way to get in the live action of what is going on within your field is by physically attending industry events. It’s one thing to just stay active online, but showing up in person is a whole other experience. Not only is it a great way to meet new people, but it’s also inspiring and motivating to directly learn from professionals within your industry.

3. Consult with others.

Just because you no longer work at your past companies doesn’t mean you should lose touch with your former colleagues. Check in with them and catch up with the people in your network every once in a while. Your network is one of your strongest resources for potential jobs or making new connections to other opportunities.

4. Online learning.

The beauty of technology is that we are able to access knowledge in a way that we never have been able to in the past. Online learning opens doors to information on whichever concentrated skill you desire to learn. If you’re in between jobs or just considering a career change, online learning gives you the ability to pursue further education, like learning a new skill, from the comfort of your own computer.

5. Write your ideas down.

Try to keep a journal in order to log any ideas that may pop into your head. Writing is an excellent form of expression and can help you organize your thoughts when you are feeling lost and confused. Creating lists of your strengths and weakness or likes and dislikes in a job can help you get a better sense of direction before making your next move.

6. Freelance.

One thing that I have personally learned from freelancing is that it offers a variety of great opportunities including a source of additional income, flexible work hours, and exposure amongst potential employers or other work opportunities. Once you have mastered your craft, whether it be UX design, coding, or writing, freelancing is a great way to practice and refine your skill set which will ultimately benefit you in the long run as a professional.

7. Get back into the hobbies you love.

Time off doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. When I was let go, I was initially in a state of panic, but it eventually turned into relief. I learned that a break is like a rest period after completing a marathon. It takes time to decompress and recover. I also learned that during this time, it’s important to stay on top of your game both within the playing field as well as off of the playing field. Take the time to rediscover your hobbies and interests because you never know what it could lead to. The things you are passionate about can turn into a fulfilling career, leading you in a direction that you never expected. Embrace the journey and tweet me to tell me your great ideas for ways to learn and staying productive in-between jobs.

7 ways to learn in between jobs

Keep learning! Degreed is free forever, you can get credit for what you know, all the learning you’re currently doing, and find more ways to learn with over 1200 content providers. Click the “add to degreed” button below to get credit for this article and Check it out Degreed here. You can catch Lindsey on Twitter and Degreed.

T3JL9DM56G

Long-distance running is not an activity to be taken lightly. Running, in general, is the kind of sport that is truly humbling. You, and you alone, are the only person standing in the way of what you define as success. Up until 2013, I had never understood the weight of strength and difficulty that it took to run a half marathon or marathon. I had always considered myself a strong runner, as I was a very committed athlete throughout high school.

In the Spring of 2013, I signed up for a half marathon and marathon back-to-back, just on a whim. I had enough confidence and arrogance from my youth and assumed that it would carry me across the finish line. Little did I know, there was so much more to long distance running than just guts.

Training for a half-marathon or marathon, along with any other race of further distance, requires a great deal of commitment – you submit yourself to months of training yourself physically and mentally, rest, proper nutrition, hydration, sleep, and many other factors that come into play during the time leading up to the big race.

After that length of time throughout a marathon training period, one earns knowledge and ability. Becoming stronger in their movements and in-tune with their capabilities. After such an intense training period could one be considered an expert?

Merriam-Webster defines an expert as “having or showing special skill or knowledge because of what you have been taught or what you have experienced”

What makes a person an expert in any given field is the amount of time and work that it took for that person to arrive at where they are; to be able to speak confidently, act, and react with their abilities to handle a given situation.

Marathon training is all about time and effort. The time that it takes to prepare, the time that it takes to recover, and the time that it takes to finish the race. Marathon training is a long game, made up of concentrated efforts that built up over time to create the endurance needed to accomplish a goal.

It may take more time for some individuals to do any of the things required to successfully prepare for a marathon, but that doesn’t discount their level of expertise in relation to knowing what it takes to complete a race of that distance.

A full marathon is 26.2 miles. 26.2 miles worth of mistakes. 26.2 miles worth of pain and joy. 26.2 miles of focus and dedication- just like the journey to expertise.

The average global time it takes for an individual to finish a marathon is 4 hours and 21 minutes.  That’s a lot of time that could be used to accomplish a thousand other things, yet, instead you’re running.

Behind the final race time is weeks and months, sometimes years of preparation. Marathon training teaches us about expertise because it teaches us about time and hard work, the very things that are essential to learning, practicing, and perfecting any skill. The very things that make people into experts.

Advancing in a career is an endless process of moves and countermoves. We often seek out our purpose in life through our careers and then use our career towards defining ourselves as people. One of the first questions that someone may ask upon meeting you is, “What do you do for a living?” You, then, proceed to introducing your profession, company, and possibly even provide the responsibilities that are required of you in that role.

For those of us who have been in a specific industry for many years, it may become routine to have an automatic reply when it comes to describing exactly what we do for a living. Although there are many people who are content with where they are in their career, there are many young, aspiring professionals who have not yet reached that stage. Even those who are seasoned professionals may still want more out of their career. After all, contentment never allots for growth.

7-Techniques-For-Career-Plateau

Often times, we reach a career plateau when we are just not exactly where we want to be at a certain point of our lives. It is difficult to stay motivated and not get discouraged during these times. Understanding that hard work, consistency, and persistence are key elements to growth is essential towards taking that next leap into a new job or different field. It is important to keep a positive mental attitude when seeking to advance in your career. Keep in mind that it IS a process. Use these seven techniques to stay motivated when you have reached a career plateau :

 

1.) Put 100% into what you are currently doing, even if you don’t like doing it
Just because you aren’t fully enjoying what you are currently doing doesn’t mean you should produce less quality work. It is important to be cognizant of your professional image and still retain the integrity of what you do. The amount of effort you put into something is a reflection of yourself. Don’t let your work suffer because you are unmotivated.

 

2.) Seek outside opportunities for learning
Knowledge is power. There are an endless amount of resources at our disposal for us to gain further education such as books, e-books, informational seminars, and online courses and MOOCS. You can find tons of learning content on any subject in Degreed. It is never too late to learn. Enhancing your knowledge and skills is a great resume builder and it makes you a more appealing candidate.

 

3.) Do the research
Learn more about what you are seeking to accomplish within your career. Find out the necessary requirements for your ideal role and what you have to do in order to fulfill those requirements. Research background information on the internal processes for whichever field you are interested in and research the kind of company that you would like to work for.

 

4.) Learn from other professionals who are models of success
They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery. We want to get to those positions which we deem as successful. We examine the lifestyle and routine of those who are models of success in order to understand how they’ve reached that point which we someday hope to reach. Find you favorite career idol and see if they’ve published advice for productivity, progression, and creating successful careers. Even better, get a mentor in your ideal position that can be available to help share their knowledge and expertise.

 

5.) Network with other professionals in that field
Building your professional network is one of your strongest allies in regards to landing your dream job or breaking into a new industry. Having connections is one of the most common ways people use to advance in a career. According to a report by ABC News, 80% of jobs are obtained through networking . As you trail further down your career path, you may notice that your network of professional connections begins to overlap into other areas. One connection can lead to a life-changing opportunity (this is where tip #4 can really come into play). Try attending events like conferences, or interacting on twitter with other professionals.

 

6.) Set goals for yourself
Create a timeline for how and when you want to get things accomplished. Use this timeline as a way to keep yourself on track and measure your progress. Sometimes, it’s better to have a physical list of goals to have as a visual. When we read and study this list, it is stored in our mind and we are able to mentally rehearse this information. In fact, you’re 42% more likely to accomplish a goal just by writing it down.  It is important to have a clear direction on where we are going so that we can prepare for what may be in store. Here’s the science on setting better goals.

 

7.) Never give up
Through all the moments of trials and tribulations, it is difficult to stay positive and not give up. Give yourself time to make progress, and don’t get too discouraged even when things are not going as you had hoped. Remember, you are more than just your job title. One day, you will look back and learn from those times of hardship and you will thank yourself for pushing forward and moving toward goals. Opportunities will come as long as you continue to actively work towards receiving them.

7-Techniques-For-Career-Plateau-2

You can find Lindsey on Twitter and LinkedIn

You may be familiar with American Psychologist, Abraham Maslow, who developed the theory of self-actualization. In Maslow’s studies, he identified the hierarchy of needs which include five fundamental elements needed in order to reach the stage of self-actualization. These five elements are physiological needs, safety needs, love and belonging needs, esteem needs, and self-actualization needs. Maslow argues that an individual cannot be fulfilled in life unless all five elements are met, working from the bottom to the top.

Throughout life, we work towards acquiring these elements so that we can live a comfortable life. We immerse ourselves in various every day activities. One of the activities that plays a large role in our lives is work. Similarly, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs can be directly translated into our needs within our careers. Although we all have varying work schedules, we dedicate a great deal of time towards our jobs and the responsibilities they require. This is how the hierarchy of needs applies to our growth and happiness within the workplace.

 

Maslows_HierachyofNeeds

 

 

  1. Physiological Needs –Air, food, drink, shelter, sleep

At work, your physiological needs include the factors that make up the work environment such as a clean working space, work supplies, technology, etc. In order to carry out tasks efficiently, you first need to have the essential tools and assets readily available. A lack of physical comfort at work can result in distraction or failure to produce work that meets the expected standards.

 

  1. Safety Needs –Protection from elements, security, order, law, stability, freedom from fear

Making sure you feel safe from any harm, whether it is mental or physical, is a significant aspect in the quality of life at work. There are various factors that play part in ensuring safety in the workforce. These factors include a reasonable income, medical/dental insurance, accommodating benefits, and proper rules and regulations implemented by Human Resources. A lack of safety or a culture of fear can lead to work-related stress which can impose major consequences both inside and outside of work.

 

  1. Love and Belonging Needs –Friendship, intimacy, affection and love, – from work group, family, friends, romantic relationships

One of the needs that could make or break your path to self-actualization at work is feeling support and a sense of belonging with people you work with. Teamwork, mentorship, and a sense of acceptance from co-workers largely affect how employees feel about the company. It is important for you to feel like you are a valuable asset to the team, and to feel that you are making a contribution towards end goals. Without the support from fellow co-workers, one can feel insignificant, isolated, and alone.

 

  1. Esteem Needs –Achievement, mastery, independence, status, dominance, prestige, self-respect, respect from others

Esteem needs go hand in hand with love and belongingness needs. Feeling that your work matters and is recognized by others plays a large role in how you feel about yourself. Mastering concepts and becoming an expert at what you do builds esteem. In addition, the way you present yourself at work is imperative in gaining the trust and respect from your surrounding peers. It is also essential towards your own personal growth within a company.

 

  1. Self-Actualization Needs –Realizing personal potential, self-fulfillment, seeking personal growth and peak experiences

Realizing your full potential by seeing your path and where it can lead you is the ultimate goal in any work experience. Learning how and where you can apply your skills and knowledge greatly impacts the future you see yourself having. Self-Actualization within your career can result in peak experiences that make you a better employee and member of society.

 

All work experiences are a significant learning experience towards the person that you want to become and where you want to succeed. Once we achieve the fifth level of Self-Actualization, our needs are met to enable us to pursue the career of your dreams. Where are you now? How can you push yourself to reach the next level?

 

Tweet us your thoughts on how Maslow’s hierarchy of needs applies to your career at @degreed. You just learned about psychology and personal development, track what you learned on your Degreed profile.

 

You can find Lindsey on Twitter and LinkedIn

Each year, Colleges and Universities from all over the globe graduate thousands upon thousands of students who are eager to share their newly acquired knowledge and skills with the world. After years of digesting curriculum that has been outlined for them by their respective schools, graduates take what they have learned and relentlessly search for careers in which they can showcase these abilities.

While the class of 2015 may be facing the best job climate in over a decade, demand for entry-level positions in specific sought-after fields creates a great deal of competition and high levels of anxiety for those who are vying for a particular job. Many post-graduates find that they don’t have the necessary experience or hard-skills to beat the competition in landing their dream jobs. When left in the dust, these new graduates may take whatever position they can find which closely resembles their ideal career.

Of the 52% of college students who actually graduate, about 40% of them will face mal-employment , which means they are employed but not with the use of their degree. When this happens, it paves the way for a path that these individuals may not have planned for. Once on that path, many find it hard to veer off and eventually feel stuck and lost. Working in jobs that we may not enjoy or even care about can lead to feeling unmotivated and insignificant.

That fire which we carried on a first job interview dims into a flickering flame that we no longer feel compelled to reignite. The passion felt when stepping into a favorite class has faded as we enter into a somewhat monotonous routine of waking up, going to work, going home, and doing it all over again.

Further contributing to young employees losing their passion for work is that many companies may fail to inquire about the person behind the emails. The person who dedicates their time and energy 40+ hours per week is more than what they do at their desk . It can be easy for companies to overlook strong skill sets that their employees possess outside of their job requirements.

But how would they even know? Do employers care to ask? Do they value growth and developing passions beyond what’s required to complete their daily tasks? Both employers and employees have the power to put these skills and additional knowledge to use.

EC50CC8658
Utilizing technology, we have ways to pursue passions and skills further, and communicate to our employer strong traits and skills we possess that may not come up in the minutia of day-to-day work. As individuals, we all have a way to measure and capture all we know and love to learn about, inside and outside of our formal education. We have the privilege and capability to step outside of the box and fulfill the dream jobs we strive to obtain . Options like additional online learning, passion projects, freelance work, or speaking up to your manager about what you really love to do are all available. We can advance our skills and knowledge in many ways even though we are no longer in the classroom. The beauty of innovations within technology in the past few decades is that it has provided us with endless opportunities to make something great out of nothing.

The person behind the emails has endless resources to progress and learn. Humans are made up of multiple facets – Their educational background, life experiences, work experiences, hobbies & interests, social network, etc. When all those pieces can come together in one job, it creates a recipe for true fulfillment. If, on the other hand, an individual doesn’t feel their abilities are being properly leveraged to their full potential, then they may flee to pursue outside opportunities where they can grow.

Employers, specifically direct managers, can help by valuing learning and skill development, and recognizing ways to talk about the passions and skills that employees have outside of their job titles, including what they want to learn more about.

For employees, it’s time to recognize and take control of continued growth and being more than just our job titles. Every individual is an essential asset to the world and to areas that may have not yet been discovered. This is how ideas are created. This is how entrepreneurs are born. This is how history is made. Strive to reach your full potential, speak up about your skills, and never settle for being just a person behind an email.

 

Check out degreed.com for more information on measuring and validating all your learning and skills.

You can find Lindsey on Twitter at @LindseyRuns

Menu