COVID-19 has drastically changed daily life in this country. Like many Americans and others around the world, you may be stuck at home for a while before things get back to normal. Working from home and having nowhere to go in the evenings or on weekends, due to imposed social distancing, can be tough. But there’s still a lot you can do from home (or without going too far) to pass the time and be productive.
In-person conferences and meet-ups are out in this time of social distancing, but there are other ways to advance your career and get ahead:
- IEEE-USA E-Books
If you haven’t already, check out the over 150 IEEE-USA e-books and audiobooks on topics like careers, soft skills, public policy, plus some just for fun. And we’re pleased to announce that the entire catalog is now available for free to IEEE members for the very first time!
- IEEE-USA InSight
IEEE-USA’s flagship online publication features new articles every week. You’ll find leadership tips, find updates on research & development, learn how to brush up on your communications skills, and more. Don’t miss Jeff Greene’s new article on privacy and security for virtual meetings – advice we could all use right now!
- IEEE-USA Webinars
As always, we offer webinars as a free service for IEEE members, and we’ve added more new topics in the coming weeks, including “Jump-Start Your Job Search and Maintain Your Career Development During this Crisis,” from Elizabeth Lions; “Discover Yourself and Your Unique Brand,” from Sreekar Gadde; and more. Sign up today to participate live, or check out our archive of over 225 recordings on demand!
- IEEE Learning Network
If you’ve never checked out ILN, there is no better time than now. Covered topics include career development, emerging technologies, computing, transportation, telecommunications, standards, and more! Fourteen modules available from IEEE-USA, with more coming soon!
- Keynote Presentations
When you can’t travel to a conference, let us bring the conference to you, with insightful recorded talks from last year’s EVO19 conference and past Future Leaders Forums on our YouTube channel.
In uncertain times, it’s more important than ever to make use of all available tools to support your career. We’ve got your back with helpful resources, including the following:
- IEEE-USA Salary Service
Find out what you’re worth by benchmarking your salary and benefits against engineers nationwide. Of course, we prepare this survey with the help of members like you, and the 2020 survey is available now! Check your inbox for your personal survey invitation – fill it out, and receive 10 free uses of the Salary Calculator (a $130 value). If you’re unemployed right now, we want to help – reach out to us, and we will give you five free uses right away.
- IEEE-USA Consultant Finder
If you’re seeking consulting gigs, make it easy for companies and clients to find you. Upload your profile, and make it visible to organizations seeking your expertise.
- IEEE-USA Resource Page for Unemployed or At-Risk Members
We’ve collected a whole set of assets specifically for members who find themselves without work, or in danger of becoming so. And don’t forget, unemployed members can request a 50% reduction in membership dues, under the special circumstances policy. Please contact IEEE Member Services at 1-800-678-IEEE for details.
- U.S. Small Business Administration Guidance and Loan Resources
If you’re a small business owner, the SBA also has resources to help, including an Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program offering low-interest loans to small businesses and non-profits affected by COVID-19.
News and Information
Stay up to date on the latest in the tech and engineering world, or even just connect with colleagues:
Have you subscribed to the IEEE-USA SmartBrief newsletter? This free, curated weekly digest will keep you up to date on the latest news in the engineering world.
- IEEE Collabratec
Join technical communities, network and collaborate with your engineering colleagues in a virtual workspace.
- IEEE.tv Programming
Take a look at the latest videos from IEEE.tv, including Q&A’s, emerging technologies, tech history, how-tos (such as how to use Zoom to record a presentation) and more.
Fun and Hobbies
After your workday is done, take some time to unwind and maybe even enrich your life. Here are a few of our top tips to get the most out of the rest of your day:
- Learn a language
Apps like Duolingo make it fun and easy to learn a language, whether you’re into popular options like Spanish, German, or Chinese, or want to give High Valyrian or Klingon a try (yes, we’re serious). And best of all, it’s absolutely free.
- Read a book
Most physical stores and libraries nationwide may be closed, but digital resources are always available. Local public libraries usually have collections of e-books, e-audiobooks, e-magazines and more to borrow for free! Don’t have a library card? Your local library may allow you to apply for one online. If yours doesn’t offer that option, then give The Internet Archive a try. Their collection numbers in the millions – mostly older works whose copyrights have expired, but are available to everyone absolutely free. There’s a lot of content there, so use the search and subject filters at the left side of the screen.
- Catch up on your favorite shows and movies
With all the streaming services out there including Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ and many more, there’s no shortage of content to watch. Many require a paid subscription, but free options exist as well, including Crackle, Popcornflix, PlutoTV, imdb TV and more.
- Listen to music
Again, the options are near limitless, with subscription streaming services like Spotify and Google Play Music offering huge catalogs. Here, as well, there are free options, like TuneIn, YouTube and the aforementioned Internet Archive, which offers tons of live music, including recordings of some entire concerts (Grateful Dead, anyone?), and old 78s. If that’s not enough, you can enjoy live and recorded works from the likes of Toronto’s Royal Conservatory of Music, New York’s Metropolitan Opera, Berlin’s Philharmonic Orchestra, and Vienna’s State Opera, all for free during this difficult situation.
- Check out some podcasts
If you prefer the spoken word, there are a ton of good podcasts out there, including 99% Invisible (covering design and architecture), Engineering IRL (exploring engineering in the real world), and more. You can also go to an aggregator like Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts (on an iOS device), or the aforementioned Internet Archive, which has not just a huge catalog of podcasts, but also some old-time radio shows, for something a little different.
- Get your game on
I’m sure if you have a game console or high-end gaming PC, you’ve already been giving it a workout during this social distancing. Services like Steam and GOG.com offer vast libraries of PC games that you can buy and play without leaving home. If you’re more of a casual gamer, you can check out options for your mobile device from the Google Play Store or Apple App Store. Or why not head back to The Internet Archive, and try some historic MS-DOS games like The Oregon Trail right in your browser?
- Go to a museum (virtually)
Social distancing may have closed museums around the world, but that doesn’t mean they’re all out of reach. You can tour the artwork of the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel, certain collections of Paris’ Louvre, hundreds of items from New York’s Guggenheim Museum, Amsterdam’s Vincent Van Gogh Museum, explore Yosemite National Park (in VR, complete with sound), the exhibits of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, and even check out live cams of the animals at the San Diego Zoo.
- Work out
When your gym is closed, it’s still important to stay active. Even if you don’t have any equipment at home, you can still go out for a walk or jog. If you’d prefer something a little more guided, check out some of the many exercise videos on YouTube – from yoga to HIIT and so much more, you’ll find some inspiration to keep fit while we’re all cooped up.
- Virtual Happy Hour
Even if you can’t meet with friends and colleagues in person, don’t forget to keep in touch. Reach out with a phone call, or even set up a virtual happy hour using software like Zoom, WebEx, Facebook Messenger or Google Hangouts Meet. It can be tremendously helpful for everyone to see some friendly faces and catch up!
Stuff for Kids
If you’re a parent, one of the most challenging things about staying at home during these trying times is keeping your kids engaged and entertained. Don’t worry, we’re in this together!
- IEEE-USA E-Books
We mentioned our e-books earlier in this article, but a few are perfect for kids, such as our first engineering superhero comic book, The Slate Twins: Caught in the Currents, the Engineering Coloring Book for Kids, and Engineering Crossword Puzzles for Students – all free for IEEE members!
- Make a Simple LED Flashlight
Explore STEM at home! Using parts commonly found around the home (or inexpensively purchased in stores or online), your child can build an LED flashlight and discover concepts of electricity.
- TryEngineering Lesson Plans
These fun activities allow your child to explore what it’s like to be an engineer with lessons available for kids of all ages.
- DiscoverE Activities
Your kids will love these cool projects and interactive experiments they can try at home, including bridge design, electric circuits, wind turbines, rubber band space rovers, sorting machines and more. With almost 200 to choose from, there’s something for all ages!
- Disney Imagineering in a Box
If your kids have ever been to a Disney Park and asked “How’d they do that?!” then this free series, developed in partnership with Khan Academy and Pixar, is for them. Imagineering in a Box features interactive lessons in theme park design and engineering, behind-the-scenes looks at Imagineering’s development process, interviews with actual Imagineers, real-world case studies and lots of interactive activities. Get started over at KhanAcademy.org today.
We hope you find these tips and tricks helpful. Let us know how you’re coping with these times of social isolation in the comments below. Remember, we’re in this together!
Corey Ruth is IEEE-USA’s media relations associate.