It’s natural to get comfortable in your job role once you have been employed by a company for a certain amount of time. You have learned the ins and outs of your role and responsibilities and mastered your niche in the company. Most of us seem to be happiest when we have found this comfort zone at work, when our confidence is high and we have a strong sense of control over the things around us. However, this can also mean that you have stopped growing professionally. If your career growth remains stagnant too long you may see your peers and your profession pass you by.
In today’s market place it is critical to always be looking ahead at what might be expected of you for your next assignment. Without professional development you may not be marketable in the near future. The idea of having to re-invent yourself is intimidating to most people, but may be necessary more than once for continued growth and a successful career. This can best be achieved by creating your own professional development strategy and setting your own goals.
The best way to approach professional development is to take charge of it yourself. After all you are doing this for you. More often than not professional development activities can cost the company money, but prove beneficial in the long run. By taking the initiative and providing a detailed and well thought out plan to strengthen the company by cultivating talent you give yourself the best chance at the best opportunities.
There are many ways to achieve your goals of professional development. Start by addressing and improving your personal weaknesses. It’s a good idea to improve your organizational skills, be more effective at meeting deadlines, or learn to prioritize more efficiently. Improving these skills will increase your value and make you more marketable regardless of your field.
Next, try to find someone within your company who’s not only willing, but also interested in helping you by offering guidance and advice. Having a more experienced senior co-worker to run ideas by can help making the right decisions much easier. Taking a course related to your job or what you would like your job to be in the future is simplified in this day and age. Most schools now offer on-line courses that can be taken at your convenience and around your schedule. If you can’t take a course, conferences are not only great for learning but also for networking. Find the conferences that are most applicable to people who work in your industry and go. Not only will you learn about new techniques, skills, and industry standards within your profession, but you’ll also make new contacts with the same interests. New contacts within your field have the potential to be invaluable assets to your career growth. You never know where someone you know may end up in the future and what opportunities they may offer you as a result of your relationship with them.
Written By: Nate Roberge, Consultant II
ICQ Consultants, Corp.