If you’re like me or any of the many people who have gone through a coding bootcamp, you may be sitting in the limbo that is your job search. Maybe you’re still in a bootcamp or are just getting started and are trying to get some foresight into how to best plan for graduation. If any of these situations sound like you, read on.
So what does one do when they are out of the structure of an academic program, but don’t have the to-do-guidance that a job provides? Well, in two words: keep busy.
Over the last few weeks, since my own graduation from Flatiron School, I have learned a TON. In this new series of posts, I’ll discuss what I’ve been doing to keep busy during this time and share some valuable things I think you should know. Speaking especially as someone's who has had to deal with a lot of personal things in that time, I cannot understate the importance of scheduling and having a plan. There are a lot of things to accomplish and without a plan, it can be easy to either a) forget things, b) get caught up in all of the things, or c) not really do anything -- with all options leading to less productivity.
My recommendation to you, my dear new graduate, is to write out a schedule or game plan. And if you would like to do as I do, try the following:
I like to keep a running checklist on my phone of all of the things I need to do during the day. I even add the small things like showering or having coffee because checking them off gets me into a productive and positive state of mind!
Be realistic here. While you are in your non-job limbo, you can make your own hours. Sure, you may want to contact people during typical work hours, but if you know that you're more productive earlier or later in the day, use that to your advantage!
Wake up time? schedule it. Lunch time? schedule it. Quality time with your partner? schedule it. Now, I know it sounds a little cold and clinical, but know that you can be flexible. For me, scheduling out my non-work activities removes any possible feeling of burden when it comes to work-activities. Kind of like with the to-do list, if I'm doing my regular small activities and seeing that I'm sticking to my schedule, I feel like I'm accomplishing my goals!
Use this one sparingly! Like my last tip, knowing that I have a break coming helps me stay to not get distracted during "focus time." Don't be overly demanding of yourself. Again, while you're in this non-job limbo, you want to be as productively efficient as possible. You want your prospective employers to see high quality work and if you need the extra boost to make sure that you're delivering on all cylinders, do it!
When you're scheduling out your day, look at your to-do list. If you think you can get an entire task done in one, great! I'll be talking in a future post in this series about learning new skills. When it comes to educating yourself, you're not going to master a whole new coding language in a day. Be reasonable with yourself with how much you're going to accomplish in a day and, schedule accordingly. Having trouble with achieving a certain goal? Break it up. Put it into a few different places in your day. Fresh eyes may help you!
My friend, you're awesome. You're doing something awesome. Don't get down on yourself if you don't have a job offer right out of the gate. All great things take time and great things are going to happen for you. Check in on your to-do list and look at how much you've accomplished today. You've got this! And if you need the reminder, come back to this post and read this step again!
Hopefully, you'll find this new series helpful and it will help you along your path of lifelong learning! Thanks for reading and I'll see you next time!