Summer is the season of optimism and energy. Maybe it’s the longer days or the increased physical activity, but summer is often the perfect time to boost your career with opportunities that are outside your normal work routine.
Try a Short-Term Job Adventure
Backdoor Jobs is a source for finding what they call “short-term job adventures.” These are jobs, volunteer work and apprenticeships that have an element of adventure to them. They are off the grid and out of the norm, which may be exactly what you need if you are used to 9-to-5 corporate environments. Some summer jobs are strictly outdoors, others are in a completely different country and there are also opportunities to feed your soul. Short-term job adventures give you the chance to get outside your comfort zone, learn what you are really capable of and expand your perspective on life.
Volunteer at a Summer Camp
Summer camps are a great learning experience for kids, but they can be highly beneficial for the counselors as well. The wonder and excitement that kids have is infectious, and can be exactly what you need to reignite your passion for your profession. Working with kids is also a good way to learn the virtue of patience. A unique aspect of summer camps is that many are very highly specialized. You can find one that speaks to your own interests and experience so that it’s inspiring rather than draining.
If you are fresh out of college or transitioning into a new career field, a summer internship is invaluable. You’re gaining experience, but at the same time you are making connections that can open doors to new opportunities. Pick an internship that truly interests you with a company that shares your same values and allows you to learn critical skills. Capitalizing on this experience will completely negate the fact that there is typically very little pay involved.
During the summer many community organizations are taking advantage of the weather with 5Ks, barbecues, festivals and other special events. And organizations that work with kids are definitely in need of extra help during the summer months. You can turn community involvement into a career opportunity by focusing on organizations that need help with something you specialize in or would like to gain more experience doing. Need to build up a web design portfolio? Help a new organization launch their website. Want to get experience in event planning? Look for a group that is gearing up for a fall fundraiser. The sky really is the limit and the altruistic aspect of volunteering can make you a better employee.
Take a Volunteer-Based Vacation
Blake Mycoskie, the founder of TOMS Shoes, actually came up with the idea for his philanthropic business while on vacation in Argentina. He came across volunteers at a shoe drive, and it inspired his highly successful buy one give one business model. Beach getaways and camping trips are a relaxing way to spend your summer vacation, but it may be even more rewarding to join a missionary excursion for a few weeks or spend half the trip working on a volunteer project. You never know – your volunteer vacation could completely change your career path.
Want help planning a volunteer-based vacation? Organizations like Just Give and GlobeAware have national and international volunteer vacation programs that address today’s most pressing needs. Once you’re back at work share your inspiring summer volunteer stories with us on Facebook or Twitter.