Today like many other young Trinidadians my age, I lost my job after working for a Government Statutory Body. For the past year I’ve worked on 3 month contracts that were intermittently broken to ensure I had no ‘benefits’ i.e. gratuity. A couple months prior to today I had been given the heads up that the possibility existed that I would be on the chopping block and about 6 weeks ago the ‘big chop’ was confirmed.

Peoples’ responses varied, when I ‘broke the news’. Some expressed their worry and uncertainty for me now, reiterating the fact that it is ‘soo hard for young people now-a-days’. On the flip side some people are shocked to know that someone with qualifications and experience can be in such a position…. Most of these comments I would like to think are coming from a good place, but it did hit me that all their opinions were centred around one thing…….working for someone else…

I’m sorry that they see life one way, in that the only way to get stability is by working for someone else. Education has given me (and perhaps them) a false hope, and only shows that I am good at passing an exam or submitting an assignment, following rules or conforming to a system. I don’t think that’s a good measure or marker of a person’s ability to function in a real-life situation. I agree that working for someone can open your eyes to some of the realities that exist out there, but that time should be spent analysing your experience, proposing ideas for change and seeing how you can make a difference if you were the boss.

What about opening my own business?-Another train of thought wants me to believe that I need to have money to start a business…and I believe this is true for some businesses. However, I also believe that there are avenues to get noticed and share ideas that are completely free of charge. A lot of young people have made a livelihood from blogging and vlogging and if it is you feel yourself ‘wasting away’ while job hunting, I think starting a blog may be a good idea.

Before continuing, let me say that I genuinely enjoy writing and I didn’t get into blogging for views or to make money. In my limited time in the workplace I realised that I could lay claim to little-to-none of the tasks that I undertook…I didn’t own my work-the company did. Setting up a blog is free, and is a great way to share your ideas….you never know who you’ll impact or what opportunities may present itself from being discovered through your posts!

I’m not saying I’m going into blogging full-time or that I make money from it (which I don’t), but I’m pitching the idea that you can use your skills outside the workplace or to occupy your time in a meaningful way until you land that job!

If the following applies to you, perhaps you already have content for your blog:

  • Do you find yourself initiating conversations with your friends/family about ways in which a system, product or service can be improved?-I’m not just talking stating what’s wrong, but a balance of identifying an issue and proposing a solution.
  • Do you find yourself going home to do research about a particular product or service? Staying up late reading reviews or watching Youtube videos to aid in choosing between something you want to buy?-perhaps your experience varies once you’ve receive the product and you think you could have done a better job at reviewing it than those websites you went to…
  • Do you have a diary and like to document various life events, or even the content of your Instagram and Snapchat stories feature you commenting on issues that you can offer a solution to?

Here’s how I think blogging can benefit anyone who’s currently in between jobs:

  • Proving to any prospective employer that you are who you claim to be on your resume. It definitely proves that you are self motivated, committed, dynamic, knowledgeable and a quick learner…to add some context to those cliche descriptors that  may litter your resume…
  • An avenue to display  your research, writing and analytical capabilities-especially if it is you don’t have work experience yet.
  • Definitely a demonstration of your ability to apply concepts learnt from your schooling or perhaps your ability to teach yourself something totally new.

My biggest motivation for blogging is trying to lay claim to an idea before someone else does, I always feel as though the clock is ticking and someone else’s brain is working on the same exact idea as I am….I need to hurry up and post this!!!! This may or may not be true, but so far it’s working!

There are so many little areas of daily inspiration I get to write and now being free from a regular job gives me the ability to do just that. As it stands, I don’t have a large reader-ship, which is fine, I will continue to write even if no one reads my posts. I also know it doesn’t pay my bills, but I see it as opportunity to increase my chances of doing so, therefore it’s definitely a worthwhile expense of time.

Here are some blogging don’ts:

  • Never aim to damage anyone’s reputation. There are clever ways of expressing your emotions or opinions, but at no time should you do it such a way that causes harm.
  • Never infringe on anyone’s privacy. Do I really need to explain that?…
  • For every problem you identify in a product, service, system or experience always offer a solution. Your blog will quickly turn into a rant if you don’t propose a solution to issues you’ve identified. This is the gold ticket, and a true test of your ability to problem solve.
  • Don’t give everything away. Some of the solutions you come up with can be the beginnings of something you may want to claim intellectual property rights to. You’re not obligated to go into grave detail about fixing any problem that at some point someone else can easily lay claim to developing later on. Just aim to wet peoples’ appetites!
  • Don’t conform to conventional blogging topics…..there are enough food, travel, lifestyle and fashion bloggers out there….find your own niche and things that interest you. I think there aren’t enough Caribbean bloggers promoting our way of life via a blogging platform, examine what that means to you and go create something new!
  • Don’t blog for popularity. If it is that you create quality content, you will get recognised-not immediately, but you will eventually. By the time you grow in popularity you would have built a solid repertoire of work that will keep people coming back.

This is something that is totally left up to you to do, and without the (initial) monetary reward, it really is the true test of how passionate and dedicated you are about what you do. For that little piece of cyberspace that you control, you have all rights to lay claim to what you create and share. When those interview questions come about how have you been applying your skills or what you have done to develop your expertise, you now have solid proof of that.

Let’s see how this blog turns out!

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About Alina C. Dhanoolal

I have a genuine and deep seated interest in shared spaces, anything from hotels to food courts. I currently have a career in Occupational, Health and Safety and I’m exploring it’s relevance outside the workplace, and in my native Trinidad. The content for my posts are solely funded by me and bare no affiliation to the organisations described. All views and opinions expressed are therefore personal..and honest. My intention is not to discredit any company, brand or business, but rather to highlight things that may be overlooked with routine operations. I also hope that my thoughts will broaden the public interest in having their standards raised-for those that need to- and to credit those who are doing a good job.

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