If you do the same job for a few years, you should be really good at it. So what happens if something changes? Maybe new policies are put in place, or your job description changes?
Photo by ollyy (Shutterstock).
Trent at the Simple Dollar suggests using any free time at work to prepare for these inevitable shifts by building up your "skill muscles".
The problem comes when something changes at work and they're suddenly required to use a new "skill muscle." Often, that muscle is very weak, indeed. Not only does it take some time to get that skill up to speed, you're also in danger of straining it -- in other words, essentially refusing to learn new skills under stress. I have personally witnessed this many times.
Unfortunately, most of us settle into habits at work that don't really expose us to different skills or techniques. Trent argues that the best way to keep these muscles in shape is to freelance, or work on your own side project. Ideally, this project will involve some of the skills you use in your day job, but also incorporate others that you might not have as much experience in. Even if you never end up using these particular skills at your regular job, the act of pushing your boundaries will make it much easier to cope with any changes that come along.
Building A Skill Set That Employers Want [The Simple Dollar]