Downtime is upskill time

August 31, 2019
Downtime is upskill time

Downtime is upskill time!

Scuba diver

One of my acquaintances lost his engineering job in the late ’90s. After trying hard for a job in vain, he headed to the Andamans to train as a scuba diving instructor. In a couple of months, he was a certified scuba diving instructor. Later, he joined an outdoor sports company abroad and his entire life changed. At the appropriate time, he must have felt, ‘downtime is upskill time!’

You can reimagine a new future. Know how!

Currently, I know of at least a dozen senior professionals who are between jobs. While I am sure they are trying everything possible to land a job, I am not sure if they are using this downtime to upskill themselves. It is quite possible that they consider themselves in the midst of such a large problem that nothing medium-term to long-term strikes them. Not their fault, though!

Downtime can be productive

If you are without a job, the more senior you are, the longer the wait.

However, in today’s world, if you have updated your LinkedIn profile, established contact with headhunters and other references and have already floated your resume to them, apart from waiting, you can do precious little.

However, you could use this waiting time quite productively. If you have identified any skill gaps of yours, this is the right time to upskill yourself. Apart from adding value to yourself, this learning process can be a useful distraction. You regain your focus and preserve your self-confidence. It helps your self-esteem too.

For some of these very senior friends of mine, I have helped them find ad-hoc opportunities in the social sector. Your skills are welcome in this new context. Who knows? You could even find an opportunity for a career switch.

My downtime

In my case, my downtime is very different. It happens between client assignments. Some of this downtime is needed to step back, tweak my strategy, develop training materials and exercises. I have a long list of pending items that occupy my downtime. Working on creating new content, I develop new promotions to direct traffic to my website.

By the way, I love my downtime!

‘Parallel downtime’

At this stage, I would like to coin a new phrase  – ‘parallel downtime’. ‘Parallel downtime’ is the time we deliberately scoop out for ourselves during the course of our busy lives. It is meant to fuel our professional career.

‘Parallel downtime’ could take the form of deliberate self-study, optimizing your LinkedIn profile, attending seminars, enrolling into on-line courses, researching about future trends and their impact on the current role, adding new skills, seeking external coaching and working on projects that provide a test-ride experience. It could take the form of volunteering in the social sector in your free time to develop broad-based leadership skills. Obviously, these activities would further embellish your resume.

Since it is an investment for your own life, it is best not to depend on your current employer. It would be ideal to set aside a certain number of hours and a percentage of your earnings in a year to be dedicated to ‘parallel downtime’.

Who knows when your ‘parallel downtime’ could create a parallel opportunity?

Now that you know the power of ‘parallel downtime’, why don’t you just dive in?

Downtime is upskill time! And I am there to support you.


Currently, I am helping many professionals leverage their LinkedIn profile. It is surprising how many professionals have completely neglected the power of LinkedIn. They are probably not aware that their LinkedIn profile is a free marketing platform. It beats me. Why wouldn’t you fully leverage a marketing platform dedicated to your success?

Are you interested in effectively leveraging your LinkedIn profile? Write to me at [email protected]

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