Odd Jobs and Creative Ends

It’s still tough times for the young and unemployed. Even those who are lucky and find employment often end up in stop-gap jobs, work that pays the bills until an opportunity opens up in their preferred field. Yet with such stiff competition in the employment market, it’s harder and harder to stand out from the crowd and get noticed. Some graduates are entering the workforce only to find themselves rethinking their plans and the kinds of work they’re willing to do. With so many young people in need of jobs, it’s the truly resourceful ones who manage to find them—often in unusual places.

Considering the dire circumstances for youth unemployment in Canada—circumstances that are worse still in other parts of the world—it’s no surprise that unorthodox methods are being used to find equally unorthodox jobs. One may note, for example, the interesting surge in young people entering farming and agriculture in Canada’s heartland. The long-term trend toward more factory farming and fewer traditional family-style farms continues, but young people are beginning to buck the trend. The Globe and Mail recently published an exposé detailing the lives of twenty-somethings who have forgone the expected shift to urban living that so many of their peers make, opting instead to stay put and work the land as their parents and grandparents did.

Such work is still hard, but not the tedious, backbreaking labour of Canada’s past, and it offers a wealth of opportunity to use modern job skills. The injection of young minds brings fresh and bold ideas, and many are applying higher education to the art of agriculture, bringing degrees and other training in fields such as biology, ecology and business management into the mix to improve both productivity and profit.

The creativity many young people are putting to use in their job hunt also extends into the burgeoning world of social media. By using various networking sites as springboards, more job seekers than ever are making contacts and landing interviews with the companies they covet. The ability to reach out easily and stay in touch with prospective employers, as well as covertly explore and research a company or contact, gives them a strong advantage over older or less tech-savvy job hunters. Furthermore, tech knowledge and the ability to use and manipulate new information and networking systems are increasingly in-demand skills, and can often give an edge during the hiring process. Some companies even hire “social media staff”—avid tweeters sometimes wind up getting paid to do just that!

Although a lot of the odd and unusual jobs young people are finding for themselves may appear the product of luck or just desperation driving creativity, there is method to the madness. Creativity is a skill like any other; employers value resourcefulness and adaptability, people who can think outside the box or generate unconventional ideas. The originality of finding a place for yourself often works in your favour. The determination to make a living against all odds shows tenacity and other attributes that easily enhance a person’s career prospects in the future.

The employment situation is likely to stay stagnant for quite some time. The numbers remain bleak, it’s difficult to plan ahead, and long-term economic prospects aren’t rosy. In light of this, imaginative and intelligent approaches to finding a job are more critical than ever. So, to all the unemployed and frustrated young job hunters out there: dare to be clever, imaginative and bold. Life rewards risk-takers, and the willingness to step out of your comfort zone in an attempt to move up in the world can open up an array of opportunities and experiences. Be willing to set yourself apart from the crowd and try something new. You never know: you may end up landing a dream job you never knew you wanted.

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