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It’s official. India’s job growth has slowed down and people are starting to worry. If you’re like me, when you found that one thing that you could do well you kept doing it for a number of years, without considering what else you could do. Maybe now is a good time to start exploring options.

Thoughts create things. So here are a couple of thoughts on creating more job options:

Pay attention to your ‘taken-for-granted’ skills and strengths: It is part of your standard introduction to state your designation and a list of five things you do every day as part of your job. But, in focusing on the big picture (and to make what you do easily understood by everyone else) you may have slotted yourself and overlooked other things you use to do your job well – your cognitive skills and soft skills. I worked in Human Resources (HR) for eleven years and found out: that though I liked HR, I liked processes and operations better; that I had the ability to connect the big picture to finer details; that I could problem-solve, anticipate bottlenecks and view an issue from all sides; and that I had organizational skills, and written and verbal communication skills. I’m no longer in HR and these skills that I discovered are now front and centre on the assignments I work on.

To discover your ‘taken-for-granted’ skills pay attention to the ‘little help’ that people come to you for. As you go about your day, are there parts of your job that you call ‘smaller tasks’ that put you in the zone and make you forget the rest of the world? Explore them further by finding more uses for those skills – either at your current job or as a side hustle.

Learn to work with your hands: I haven’t done it myself … yet, but I see merits in this. Most of us work at our desks for long hours. It does not leave us time to create with our hands. But think about this – chefs, bakers, artists, seamstresses, hairstylists, etc. are always in demand. So are skilled mechanics (just ask vintage-bike collectors), carpenters and electricians. There is a ‘je ne sais quoi’ uniqueness to their jobs that cannot be replicated. That’s why you agonize over who to hire when your car has to be repaired or your house needs new concealed wiring.

If like me, you don’t think you can create anything with your hands, please go back to the part where I said, “thoughts create things”. If you have ever relished a good creamy pastry or admired a unique piece of furniture, know that working with your hands is an alternative you can explore. I know… you’re thinking that the only thing you can do is fold paper. Then take a look at what origami artist Ross Symons does for a living. It’s true it takes time to learn a skill, maybe years, but isn’t it worth it to have an option B for a career?

Having a bigger basket of skills – either by recognizing every skill you have or by learning new ones – is the best way to increase your chances of finding the work you deserve.

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