CAREER DEVELOPMENT / JUL. 08, 2014
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How Flexible Working Hours Can Boost Career Momentum

With the current tough economic times and massive unemployment worldwide, many careerists have resulted to freelancing. We’ve also got careerists who work in shifts and foreign students who do part-time jobs to make ends meet. These are just but a few examples of pre-occupations that come with flexible working hours. And unlike their 9 to 5 counterparts, they usually have some ample free time to themselves every day. This time-frame presents the perfect window of opportunity for them to boost their career competitive edge through the pursuit of tasks and opportunities meant to propel their career momentum towards long term career goals. With this in mind, we should ask ourselves: How do flexible working hours boost career momentum?

#1 Present the Perfect Opportunity for Career Innovation and Multi-tasking
We’ve all heard of careerists who ’flip burgers by day and Dj by night’. This must be as a result of divergent academic credentials that cannot be harmonised into a single pre-occupation. For instance, this particular careerist might have a diploma in food and beverage management and another in music and sound equipment so to speak. Therefore, flexible working hours help the careerist maximize on both diplomas at the same time. Plus, despite the fact that the academic credentials can’t be harmonised, ideas learnt from both jobs can still be harmonised. For instance, exposure to customer needs as a Dj can give the careerist ideas as to how to keep cafe clientele entertained. Such an innovative mindset consequently makes the careerist indispensable and sets him/her up for future promotions, thus boosting career momentum.

#2 Give Ample Time for Travel and Exploration of Potential and Untapped Market Niches
Freelancers in particular can relate to this. Because unlike full-time employees, freelancers don’t really have designated career roles and working hours. They’re usually left to complete their tasks at the disposal of their creativity and the convenience of their time. This creativity and flexibility pushes the freelancer to constantly try out tasks differently and as a result, neglected market niches with untapped potential get discovered. In addition, the freelancer has ample time to travel locally and abroad especially if clientele is multi-national thus giving a careerist exposure to different market trends. Such regular shift in adaptation to varying market mechanisms make the careerist more exceptional and efficient thus boosting career momentum.

#3 Best Opportunity to try out Entrepreneurial Ventures
Many careerists have the passion for entrepreneurship. However, the problem comes with financing such entrepreneurial ventures. In addition, banks may not really have faith in their financial credibility and thus they work hard to finance themselves. The few that have flexible working hours are presented with the perfect opportunity for them to not only venture into entrepreneurship, but to also personally manage their ventures efficiently as they strategise on additional sources of funding. Moreover, in case of industry shake-ups or sudden job loss, they’ll always have a contingency measure in place and thus their career momentum won’t be compromised.

#4 Provide Ample time to Boost Academic Credentials
We all have our own unique challenges when it comes to achievement of relevant academic credentials. While some of us have stagnated academically, there are careerists who go the extra mile to squeeze out some time for one or two vocational courses. However, unlike their full-time counterparts, careerists with flexible working hours don’t have to sacrifice any time except for their free time to attend lectures. Full-time careerists however have been known to encroach into family time so as to attend lectures. And at times, they get overwhelmed with work and have to skip lectures on several occasions. However, with flexible working hours, one can even do two or three vocational courses efficiently without affecting their career momentum.

#5 Provide sufficient time to meet and interact with Career Mentors and Key Industry Players
Most successful and influential careerists have a military mentality when it comes to sticking to their schedules and thus it would require for them to move mountains to reschedule your meetings with them. However, with flexible working hours, you can adjust your schedule to meet the demands of your career mentors and industry players. Plus, you’ll maximise on such valuable interactions and you won’t be in a hurry to get back to work since it’s your schedule is flexible anyway.

#6 Help prevent Career Stagnation through Exploration of Better Job Opportunities
Some jobs with flexible working hours aren’t that desirable and many careerists do them just to make ends meet. Therefore, during their off-hours, they’ll have the time they need to visit websites like FindEmployment.com and peruse newspaper ads and looking for better job opportunities as they carefully assess the advantages and disadvantages of clinching certain jobs. In addition, they’ll comfortably attend interviews, career seminars and workshops as they meet with job-connecting acquaintances without necessarily calling off during working hours. Ultimately, this serves as an immunisation mechanism against career stagnation which is likely to happen to you if you’re employed full-time in an undesirable job.

#7 Give Ample Time for Daily Re-assessment of Tasks Thus Better Job Performance
Full-time jobs tend to come with fatigue at the end of the day. This means that when you get home, it’s like escaping from a gruelling exam and thus you’re least likely to think about ways of improving work performance. However, with flexible working hours, your mind is accustomed to a sufficient window of relaxation and thus, you’re likely to think about your work performance and weigh it against your career journey and career goals. That way you’ll re-assess your weak areas and strategise on different approaches thus shifting gears for higher career momentum.

In my personal interaction with key industry players, they always tell me that time is their most important resource. Because unlike money, you can’t increase a day through extension of hours. You can only create time by pinching out some minutes from other activities of the day. It’s thus essential for you to perceive your flexible working schedule as a privilege and a blessing in disguise and for you to preoccupy yourself with meaningful activities lest your precious resource wastes away into oblivion.

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