For some people, playing video games is merely a hobby. For others, it’s more of a way of life. In any case, when you’re in the middle of playing an intense video game, the last thing you want to think about is what you’re going to do with your career.
Nevertheless, gaming provides countless opportunities for small bits of idle time. When you’re waiting in a lobby to join a game, when you’re waiting on your game to load, when you pause the session to get a snack, and when you take a break to rest your eyes, you’ll have at least a few minutes, and upwards of an hour of time that is effectively worthless.
Many people don’t realize that these small intervals of time offer the perfect opportunity to learn new things and prepare yourself for a better career. Whether you’re young and thinking about picking up a full-time job for the first time, or you’re a seasoned professional just looking to transition to a new career, the breaks between your gaming sessions could be all you need to take the next step.
Careers With Approachable Onramps
Obviously, not all careers are going to be this accommodating. In some lines of work, you’ll be required to pick up a college degree or an advanced degree, and in other fields, you may be required to undergo an apprenticeship; neither of these areas can be explored in the few minutes you have between games.
However, there are plenty of careers that can be pursued a few minutes at a time, including:
- Real estate. Real estate investing or becoming a real estate agent can both be rewarding career paths. You can learn to invest in valuable properties for yourself, help other people find the properties they want, or both. When you’ve learned all the requisite information for getting started with real estate investing, you can get your official real estate license online – and start practicing immediately.
- Programming/software development. There are dozens of online channels offering programming lessons for free – you just have to spend the time necessary to use them. In as little as an hour a day, you can start writing scripts after a couple weeks – and be prepared to enter the market as a software engineer in a few months.
- Freelance writing. Writing isn’t hard. Writing well is a bit more challenging, but it’s still something anyone can do with enough time and practice. Learn from the best, write your own stuff, and get feedback – in time, you’ll be able to sell your work or create a blog capable of generating income all on its own.
- Information security. Just like with programming, it’s possible to learn the skills necessary to enter the field of information security in a matter of months – even if you only spend a few minutes at a time.
- Market research. Market research is the foundation on which most brands build their entire marketing and advertising strategies. It’s also not especially demanding to learn – though it may take years for you to gain enough experience to perfect it. Market research analysts also tend to make a lot of money – so if you’re looking for a lucrative career, this could be a great fit.
- Accounting. If you’ve always had an interest in finance, consider getting into accounting. The basics are relatively easy to master – and accountants and bookkeepers are always in demand.
- Translation. It takes a long time and a ton of practice to become fluent in another language. But it’s still a skill you can build incrementally, in sessions just a few minutes long.
Additional Career Preparation Strategies to Try
If none of those careers sounds interesting to you, don’t worry; there are other career preparation strategies you can follow while you have some spare time.
- Networking. Networking is useful for almost any conceivable career. Each new person in your network is a possible source of new job opportunities, referrals, information, or guidance. You also don’t have to spend much time to make networking effective; even if you only spend 15 minutes each day meeting new people, adding them to your social networks, and following up with other contacts, you can build a robust professional network in a matter of weeks.
- Skill acquisition and development. There are hundreds of skills and certifications you can master online in relatively short periods of time, and all of them have the power to pad and boost your resume. These include soft skills, like communication and adaptability.
- Volunteering. When most people think about volunteering, they think about it in a practical, real-life context; for example, you might picture picking up litter on the side of the highway or putting together a fundraising event. But there are plenty of virtual volunteering opportunities available as well. Volunteering always looks great on a resume – and it can be a valuable way to build your network as well.
Even if gaming is your primary focus, there’s no excuse for not spending at least some time developing yourself, your skills, and your future career potential. With so many options available and so much flexibility in the modern world, you can easily create a brighter future for yourself, a few minutes at a time.