What Can I Learn?

Photo by Philippe Bout on Unsplash

Back in the day when I would look for a new position within Microsoft, one of my guiding questions was “what can I learn?” It was one of several criteria I used to evaluate opportunities. Rather than move to a new position doing the same thing, I preferred to find roles where I could both contribute and learn something new.

There wasn’t a plan, really; I wasn’t looking for something specific. I would just look at a job opportunity and see if there was something interesting for me to pick up. I think my career, both during, and post-Microsoft has benefited as a result.

It comes to mind because that approach feels like a huge opportunity in these “interesting” times.

People are suddenly finding themselves with time on their hands. For some, like me, perhaps it’s only a little. Others, however, are facing more dramatic change resulting in what we could even call an “excess” of free time. It could be due to any number of reasons from a job going away completely as a result of the current pandemic, to the nature of their work changing in some fundamental and significantly, albeit temporarily reduced way.

The common thread, however, is that we’re all supposed to stay at home. And many have some amount of additional time. (I know that for some others the opposite is true: many working parents are struggling to find enough time to meet the demands of both their jobs and their suddenly home-schooled children.)

For those with time, however, it seems a significant opportunity.

Particularly if you factor in the immense amount of knowledge available to anyone with an internet connection.

It could be something as simple as learning to repair an appliance yourself because repair people are expensive and your budget just disappeared. It could be as complex as learning a skill for your job — the one you’ll be returning to, or the new one you’ll need to find.

It could even be an opportunity to pick up skills for a complete career change, if you’ve a mind to.

Of course it could also be completely unrelated to anything. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to learn to play an instrument, or draw, or  learn more about history, poetry, stoic philosophy, or something else.

It doesn’t really matter. Time is life’s most valuable and irreplaceable resource. This is an opportunity to invest it, rather than just spend it.

As for me? As a work-at-home solo entrepreneur my day-to-day hasn’t changed much, other than perhaps I’m running fewer errands. Regardless, I’m trying to focus my attention on growth over the omnipresent and looming anxiety.

I play with technology, of course.

The biggest endeavor so far has been live video. I see it as both as a technology to become more adept at, and as a way to reach out to those feeling isolated and in need of connection.

There’s much we can’t control about our present situation, but we do still own how we spend, or invest, our time.

Now is an opportunity to invest wisely. What can you learn?

3 thoughts on “What Can I Learn?”

  1. Regarding time, your “This is an opportunity to invest it, rather than just spend it” observation is astute. What a potential loss to do otherwise when the time is there to be invested! One of mine is practice making video candy recipes. I’m a chocolate fiend, so the first video is how to easily and successfully melt chocolate in an oven, the very semi-sweet chocolate available at regular grocery stores (for dipping or whatever). The video was for my practice and for others who may be climbing the walls for something to do. Great feedback, so more coming 🙂

    So many opportunities.

    Any conscious and intentional experience can be a learning.


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