If you’ve been in the working world for a while, you know there is a lot more to life than what goes on between 8am – 5pm, Monday through Friday. You probably also know that filling your time outside of work can be difficult. Friend groups change, you may take a job across the city or the country, your company may require you to work after hours and the list goes on and on. So how exactly can a young professional get involved after work hours in something that is fun, meaningful and rewarding? Here are 6 ways to get involved outside of work.
1. Join a recreational sports league.
One of the easiest ways to get involved is to join a recreational sports league. No matter what your preference, there are numerous sports and activities offered with different competition levels, so there’s bound to be one that suits you. These leagues are also a great way to meet new people. I recently joined an ultimate Frisbee team with complete strangers and met some awesome people doing so.
If you’re in Milwaukee and you’re interested in joining a recreational league, check out Milwaukee Social Club to get your search started.
2. Take a class.
Class work isn’t work when you’re learning something new that interests you. Have you always wanted to learn more about Photoshop, how to make the perfect gnocchi or speak fluent Spanish? Many junior and technical colleges offer classes to help you learn and refine these skills all while being able to meet new people. These schools also offer classes at night and on weekends, perfect for a working professional.
3. Join a professional association.
Professional associations have grown in popularity in the past few years and are a great way to connect with other professionals in your industry, learn new skills and further your resume. From happy hours to lunch & learns, many associations plan their events to allow working professionals to attend their events and get involved with the group. You’ll be able to connect with other like-minded professionals and learn skills that will help you in your day job.
Volunteering is one of the most rewarding ways to get involved outside of work. With so many needs within a single community, the opportunities are endless. What I like best about volunteering is that I get to meet many different people, whether they’re volunteers or the people I’m helping out. Not quite sure where to get involved? Check out Volunteer Match to get started.
5. Stay in touch with old colleagues.
Another way to get involved outside of work is to stay connected with old colleagues. Hopefully, if you left a job, you left on good terms and still have relationships with people you worked with. If so, reach out to those people and stay connected. Ask them out to coffee or lunch and encourage conversation. Since you never know where your next opportunity may come, it’s always good to continue to foster those professional and personal relationships whenever possible.
6. Create your own group!
At a loss as to which group you should join, or can’t find a group to join? Start your own group! Exercise your leadership skills by organizing an event that other people can attend to get involved outside of work. One of the best groups I’ve ever joined was a group of people who all had a similar interest that decided to meet every other week. Once you decide what kind of group you want to create and when/where you’ll meet, promote it on Facebook or Eventbrite.
Which of these easy ways to get involved outside of work are you going to try next? Are you involved in something we didn’t mention? Let us know in the comments below!