When was the last time you invested in your own professional development? We can all benefit from ongoing professional development, as can our teams and even our families. Professional development includes soft skills (previous blog: http://www.janakemp.com/workplace-soft-skills-a-necessity/ ), technical and how-to skills, subject-matter learning opportunities, and mentoring (see Greenbelt magazine blog-link: http://www.janakemp.com/seen-elsewhere-jana-in-greenbelt-magazine/ ).
On the job training: when we begin new jobs, much of professional development comes from being on the job and learning what to do. As we work in an industry or field over a period of years, new skills can be gained both on the job and in learning-specific environments at work. Asking peers and mentors for on the job support, coaching, and skill development support works too.
Job required professional development: Many organizations and agencies include professional development goals in a person’s annual work plan or performance assessment/appraisal process. Some also provide course catalogs of online, classroom, and virtual classes. If professional development is an annual requirement where you work, consider expanding your possibilities and learning something new – and useful too.
Stretch-skills: What skills do you have an interest in learning? These skills may or may not be critical to your daily work, yet by learning something new, your daily work can be enhanced. For instance, one person I know took a welding class to try something completely out of her desk-job realm. Another takes classes at the local library to learn how to use technology, crafting cutters, and even to make crafts to feed her creative self. Yet another person participates in Osher Institute classes (for people over 50 and available at many universities around the country). Book clubs, crafting circles, service organizations, and volunteerism can each provide stretches in our knowledge and skills. Taking a company-paid-for college class might be a timely stretch option to pursue.
Ongoing learning keeps us fresh, strong, insightful, relevant, and challenged. What’s on your professional development list? Schedule time to accomplish your development goals. And, keep learning!