This piece is actually a continuation of my previous article about alternative methods of job hunting “Stop whining, get working”. We all know how easy it is to fall into that unproductive state especially when you’re jobless and have way too much time on your hands. It’s contradictory but studies show that the more time you have, the less productive you can be. So when you do have those extra few minutes per day, jobless or not, why not use it to learn something new, upgrade your existing knowledge or simply read a book?
My recent experience has shown me that the more I get involved, the closer I get to reaching my career and personal goals. How I did that? It’s the beauty of internet. Surfing online I discovered an employment support group, found everything I needed to know about crowdfunding and even got a free-of-charge consultation to learn about it, I enrolled onto a number of online classes about developing personal skills and online marketing strategies, I found a co-working organisation and rented a share-space office and lastly I registered my project to a entrepreneurial contest with a 10,000 euro prize. Now let me share a few secrets of how to gain new learning experience – easy and wallet friendly – that lead towards new fruitful opportunities.
Nothing in life is free, except if you know where to look for it. And with knowledge especially, these days it’s hard to find anyone who would share their tricks of the trade. That’s why I was over the moon when I found Creative Live. An online classroom where you can RSVP to free live classes from areas of photo & video, art & design, music & audio, craft and money & life. Just in the next few days I managed to enroll in five different classes, ranging from online marketing to improving personal skills. Check out their website for schedules on classes, sign up and get new knowledge for free. The catch is you need to tune in live to get a free class, and for anytime access you can purchase the class for about $100. It’s way worth it to stay awake during the live broadcast, just make sure put down some notes.
Another great online learning experience comes from Skillshare. It works similar to Creative live, you can sign up for free or purchase an unlimited access to any class for as little as $20. Enroll in a Calligraphy class, learn about animation, how to use different software, get lessons on starting your own business, improve your knowledge of interior styling or even learn to cook like a pro. There’s a ton of great classes thought by experienced professionals, that all run successful businesses for themselves. You can learn a bunch of useful skills that aren’t so widely popular and will make you stand out from the crowd. To make sure you pick the right one for you, just read the comments on experience from previous students.
Did you always want to learn a foreign language and never really got to it due to a number of excuses? Well, there’s no better time to start then today. Online language classes are easy accessible and much less expensive than the usual class. You can even find some free of charge beginners classes such as Duolingo or Open Culture where you can download audio lessons and learn up to 40 different languages. Audio lessons are especially practical if you spend a lot of time in your car, riding a bike or walking to work or Uni. Get the most of your time and pop that audio lesson in your ear. If you spend most of the time glued to your iPhone, why not use it in a productive way? There’s a number of apps that will teach a new language. Try out Memrise, Babbel or Living Language courses. Buen aprendizaje suerte!
Have you thought about going back to school? Too expensive and time consuming? Not in 2014. In my county we have a special university for adults who want to learn new skills and languages. My mom is visiting a painting class for a few years now and I even considered signing up for a French class myself. Many of courses are free, subsidized by government and some have a tuition of a few tens of pounds per year. When I was searching for similar programs abroad I found University of the People, a tuition free online university that offers quality, online, degree-granting educational programs to qualified students. Currently, University of the People offers the following four undergraduate degrees: Associate and Bachelor degrees in Business Administration and Associate and Bachelor degrees in Computer Science. For a less formal learning experience there’s also Arts & Science courses that are instrumental to realizing institutional learning goals. You can master the basic tenets of a liberal arts education, focus on learning critical thinking, analysis, communication skills, quantitative and scientific literacy, and understanding of ethical dimensions of behavior.
Employment agencies might not be so helpful with finding you work but they do have great programs that offer free learning experience. You might be able to learn new skills that will help you get work, for instance how to write an effective resume, or even use the opportunity to complete or continue your formal education. When checking out the website of Department of Employment and Learning I discovered there are numerous opportunities available: full-time or part-time courses, vocational, recreational and degree level education. These programs are especially useful if you want to upgrade your level of education or switch to a new profession due to an increased labor force in your field. Saying no to a free learning experience would be like saying no to your future.
When virtual doesn’t cut it anymore, it’s time to put all the learning into use and make a personal contact. There are plenty ways of doing this, one of the best for young prospective people is definitely coworking. It saves you money of renting your own place, connects you to minds that think alike and it’s FUN. The concept of coworking is quite new, one of the positive outcomes from the ongoing economic crisis, but you can find spaces literally in every town. In London alone there’s about 50 co-working spaces you can check out. The best thing about sharing your office space with other creatives is all the events and opportunities that arise from collaborating together. You never know where you’ll meet a potential client or even a business partner. What does this have to do with learning? Plenty! With so many ideas in one place, it would be almost impossible not to get affected.
Are you one of those people who have plenty ideas but don’t know how to realise them? There have never been so many startup companies ever before, which also means there have never been so many opportunities to learn business skills and get the insights of how to get your company of the ground. Aside from online courses such as Creative live and Skillshare where you can learn bits and pieces about starting and running your own business, there’s various organizations that will lead you step by step towards starting up. Ask about business curses at your local employment office, check your faculty classes or sign up for free consultations at a number of services for startups. If you prefer getting all your information online, then check out Under 30 CEO website, where you can enroll in a number of courses.
The oldschool method
When you drained all other options, there’s still the oldest method of learning – reading books. Sign up at your local library and make a pact to visit at least once per month, browse on Amazon or BookDepository for topics and titles that interest you. Books are still one of the biggest source of information. You can learn new skills, improve your knowledge of foreign languages or simply enrich your vocabulary. Whether you read to gain new knowledge or to disconnect from everyday worries, it will bring new perspectives into your life and force you to spend some quality time by yourself. Maybe you even get your next big idea while doing it.