The article orignally appeared in Fleet Management Weekly.
Recently, we changed the clocks to standard time, and with the change came shorter days, colder temps and fewer hours outside. I’m an early riser, so some of my winter dread was reduced by the sunny skies that came before 6 a.m. The early sunrise gave me time for my early workouts and kept me on schedule for my new routine of daily Team meetings and conference calls. However, eight months into the shutdown, combined with a looming Chicago winter, my outlook was turning gloomy.
Knowing that I was going to have some additional time to fill this winter, I started to look for projects that would fill my weekends. I found some great books, investigated new podcasts, and even attended a few free online classes. As they say, you can never get enough Excel training! My list of self-improvement projects felt good and gave me a sense that I was going to invest my time wisely over the next five to six months.
The following week, I was busy with my daily routine when I received an email from my alma mater asking if I would be willing to join their mentor program. My immediate reaction was, “I’m too busy. How could I take on a mentorship during the pandemic?”
I deleted the email.
A few days later, I received a second email that explained the program in more detail and provided some wonderful first-hand testimonials from students who had benefited.
I was hooked.
The program’s goal is to help kids navigate the corporate world by helping them develop interviewing, resume writing and networking skills. Most of the kids in the program don’t know anyone working in a corporate environment. And in some cases, they’re the first person in their family to attend college. They’ve done well getting through classes, but getting a job is daunting especially during the pandemic. I signed up for the program last week, and I’m currently going through the interview process to find a suitable match.
So far, the experience has been far more exciting than researching my other self-improvement projects. I realize the excitement is about potentially helping someone else and getting out of my bubble by trying something new.
Many of you already volunteer and have found the excitement of service. For those of you like me who have not been as active, maybe now’s the perfect time to get out of your comfort zone, too. It’s going to be a long time before we reset the clock again and a lot of people could benefit from your skills.
If you have questions on the type of volunteer or self-improvement courses you can take to help others, send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.