What to Do When You "Don't Have Anything to Do"

What to Do When You "Don't Have Anything to Do"

By: Sonam Swarup
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Co-op is a great opportunity for one to gain practical skills and experience in the working world. However, there are times during your co-op term where all your tasks are done for the day, you have taken all your breaks, and as a last resort you are counting ceiling tiles.

I learned that sometimes it is what you do outside of your normal duties that get you noticed by your coworkers and managers.  If you are looking for a great reference, take advantage of the times that you finish your work early to go above and beyond your employer’s expectations. Here are 3 tips to help you keep you busy and also make your co-op experience even more fulfilling:

1. Spend time getting to know your co-workers/managers

We tend to get caught up with our tasks and spend little time getting to know the people we work with. Therefore, if you complete your tasks early, take the opportunity to connect with your fellow co-workers.  Ask them about their careers and what steps they took to get them where they are today -    it is always worth learning about different career paths.

Additionally, building relationships with your co-workers can benefit you in the long run: you may not think that having a simple chat with your cubicle neighbor is important, but it could be the professional contacts you make during co-op that lead you to your next position. There is always the opportunity for networking, be it a simple Monday morning greeting, or taking the opportunity to sit and have lunch with those you work with.

2. Read up on your company/ industry in the news

We live in a world with abundance of news at our fingertips. Industries are growing by the second and there are new discoveries each and every day. Therefore, when you have a second, it’s a good idea to do some research about your company and industry. Were they in the news this week? Did your company win an award? Or did they acquire another company? Keeping up to date with company headlines is important, as you will be more aware and adaptable when new tasks are thrown your way as a result of these changes.

3. Create your own project

Do you ever see a process or task that can be done more efficient or find an interesting opportunity that could be valuable to your company? If you have some spare time, you should create a project out of it. During your spare moments, take the opportunity to create a project proposal, and present it to your employer. This will definitely impress your employer as it shows that you are taking initiative and committed to bettering your company. That said; don’t let the new project take over your required tasks. 

Posted on May 01, 2014