Career Growth – Who’s in Charge?

Think about when you took the job you have now. Did you have a vision of where this job would take you? Has the job lived up to your expectations? Whether you’re close to being in the position you envisioned, or not, you can still get there. Your vision can be realized if you have the commitment to learn. The more you know, the more you are respected. The more you expand your boundaries, the more valuable you are to those around you. You can even widen your career opportunities.

Think back over the last 5-10 years and realize how your job has changed. It’s amazing, isn’t it? The skills you’ve acquired, the technology you’ve come to appreciate, the resources available to you – all of these factors are good reminders of just how important continual learning is. Change, as they say, is constant. If you feel stuck in your present position or if your career is not expanding as rapidly as you would like, you have to find ways to get additional learning.

How do you find ways to learn when you’re already feeling overwhelmed? First off, you have technology on your side. And secondly, realize that learning can be done quickly – you don’t need that big block of time anymore. Lastly, use all available resources. Here are some fairly painless ways to learn on your own time.

  1. Go online. There are courses you can sign up for. Research you can have access to. Blog articles abound – follow your favorite blogger. And then there’s YouTube – what CAN’T you learn through this site!
  2. Schedule something special for your break! Take the time to view a video or listen to a podcast. Devote a few hours every week and pick up some new knowledge!
  3. Schedule a brown bag session. Sharing courses or topics benefits all and saves money.
  4. Get wiser about your commute. Whether you’re in a carpool, on the metro or driving yourself, there’s a way to get informed. Turn on a podcast or pop in a CD from your local library. Download it to your iphone for the metro or carpool. You can even add video – as long as you’re not driving!
  5. Find an hour on the weekend Plan to watch a video, do some online research or browse the library. Chances are, once you get started the time will fly by.
  6. Take a walk. With today’s technology, get your exercise and expand your career at the same time by downloading a bit of professional training to your mobile phone.
  7. Learn as you watch your kids practice. Are you a soccer mom? Do you drive your kids to the basketball game? Instead of being bored watching practice, consider plugging into an online learning opportunity.
  8. Exercise your rights to learn at the gym! Listening to a CD, podcast or video will not only increase your knowledge, but make the exercise routine less boring.

Make it a Plan. The idea here is that one year from now, your knowledge, skills and experience should be greater than it is today. Write out your plan to get there and review it monthly.