Unless you’ve been living under a rock (which might actually be a wise place to live right now) you’ve undoubtedly heard of the worldwide social distancing measures enforced in response to the spread of Coronavirus. Chances are, you’re living those social distancing measures.
As governments around the world encourage or demand citizens to stay inside, some people have lamented the impact it has on daily life – and that includes the ability to advance your career. But strange times call for strange courses of action. While it may have been fun to play video games in your underwear for the first few days of self-isolation, eventually the thrill wears thin.
Instead of waste this dedicated alone time, consider leveraging it as an opportunity to follow one of your passions. You don’t have to be militant about it (after all, self-care comes before careerism), but if you start viewing your isolation time as useful, it may help you reevaluate what you want from a career.
In this article, let’s look at a few common self-isolation pastimes, and how you can leverage them to kickstart your dream career.
Turn Your Love of Netflix Into a Career in Entertainment
If there’s one thing everyone’s doing a whole lot more of, it’s watching content. Robbed of the ability to socialize or interact, movies and television provide a much-needed lifeline to humanity. They show us human stories without us having to – you know – be in contact with other humans.
If you find yourself guessing future plot points in your favorite crime thriller or dreaming up alternate jokes in your favorite comedy; if you find yourself saying, “the director should have done this” or “the cinematographer should’ve done that” – congratulations, you’re thinking like a filmmaker. Don’t sit on that skill. Read up on film theory, keep dreaming up ideas, contact the Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation for future mentorships and be proactive about breaking into the entertainment industry.
If there’s one thing the pandemic has illustrated, it’s how essential entertainment can be.
Take Your Bread Baking a Step Further
Everybody’s baking bread. Some days, Instagram looks more like the website for a bakery than it does a social media site. Without the ability to eat at nice restaurants, and with a newfound abundance of free time, people have been funneling their energy into bread making. Which is fantastic.
If you find that your loaves are getting more pro by the day, and if you find the act of bread making calming and satisfying, ask yourself: why don’t you become a baker?
Put That Newfound Interest in Science to Good Use
A strange – but not unpredictable – byproduct of this pandemic is that more people are becoming science-literate. They are tracking numbers, learning about cellular activity and thinking critically about infectious diseases.
If you count yourself among the many people who’ve recently discovered an interest in science (albeit from an epidemiological standpoint), why not run with that interest? Download a free science text online or access Google Scholar’s vast library of scientific papers. You might find that you have exactly the right mind for a career in the sciences.
Turn Those Journal Entries into a Memoir
It’s natural, during worrying times, to require an outlet. When your thoughts multiply inside your head long enough, things can get awfully crowded – and anxious. Many have taken to journaling through their self-isolation, whether in a physical journal or on an online blog. It gets the creative juices flowing, takes your mind off the news and gives voice to the thoughts inside your head.
Who knows how many talented writers will come out of the woodwork when this is all over: writers who didn’t even know they were writers before. Start a journal, document your thoughts, hone your craft and who knows – you may find a future career in writing.
Read the News With Critically and Write Your Own
Another effect of the recent global pandemic is that more people are reading the news. Constantly. And, thankfully, it seems that more people are reading the news critically, parsing fact from fantasy and prioritizing the truth over sensationalism.
What no one news journalist will really tell you is that you don’t need a lot in order to write a piece. You need a reliable primary source – a government press release, a scientific study, a phone call interview with an expert, etc. – and a no-nonsense, truth-first delivery. Your prose needs to be direct, concise and clear. If you think you can handle that, perhaps you should follow a career in news journalism.
Learn a New Language for a Job in Government
Depending on where you live, a job in government may (will probably) require you to speak a new language. A lot of government work is public-facing or diplomatic, so they prefer it if people can engage with more than just native English speakers.
While it’s easier to learn a new language when you’re young, and the wires in your brain are still pliable, it’s never too late with enough practice and dedication. It’s also easier than ever to learn a language, with sites like Duolingo offering free, interactive practices.
Whatever Your Interests, There’s a YouTube Channel to Help You Learn
Finally, if there’s nothing up there that speaks to you, just use this self-isolation as free time to pursue whatever your passion may be (provided it doesn’t require large groups, of course). Learn about woodworking, sit in on a YouTube philosophy class, learn how to code or brush up on your trigonometry – there are no limits to what you can learn online these days!
The world may be shutting down temporarily, but it doesn’t mean you have to shut down too. View this free time as a rare opportunity to realign your priorities and invest time into your interest. At worst, you’ll learn something new. At best, you’ll kickstart an exciting career toward the job of your dreams. Stay safe and follow your passions!