So many business professionals are focused on the top that they forget they need to stay current on the job they already have. We forget that we need to be able to do our job to the best of our ability before we can begin to climb the ladder. If we’re set on promotion, we also need to stay current and be thought leaders for where we are now. This is where Lifelong Learning comes into play.
Lifelong learners already know what’s going on in their field. They’re the ones who have subscriptions to professional journals, and they’re the ones who announce to the office the latest in technologies. Human Resources departments love them, and so they’re the ones who get the promotions.
Learning isn’t like riding a bicycle. Most people can do it, but those who are actively engaged in learning new ideas will be able to take on new challenges at work since they’re prepared to study and read up on it. If you haven’t read a book in ten years, don’t expect to be able to learn new ideas immediately.
Reading keeps your mind open, which is essential for training and moving up in a company. Showing complacence with your skill set isn’t what helps you get promoted.
Lifelong learners tend to love what they do, or they at least find some aspect of it to love. And they love the challenge, if nothing else. It’s the learners who are the innovators and the shakers.
Learn Your Passion
There is no great secret to lifelong learning. Start reading blogs from the top professionals in your field. Know what they think, and more importantly, know how they think. If you’re in public relations, subscribe to Seth Godin’s blog. Ask questions on Twitter, and look for responses from professionals. Become engaged in the conversation that is flowing around your field. Even if it’s as basic as data entry, you can start conversations on why it’s important to still have the human touch or maybe why it’s important to start training programs to do certain tasks.
You should also always follow the technological news. Technology affects everyone, no matter what your job title is. Knowing the latest software or the latest hardware will let you be the one who gives out the recommendations in the office. Many smaller companies don’t have anyone in charge of technological development. If you can become that person by default because you’re learning about them, you’re going to be in a good place for a promotion.
And Find a New One
What will get you even further than brushing up on your current career is learning a new skill. Don’t be afraid to take an online education course. Learning a new skill will help you diversify what you’re capable of, which can make you more attractive for open positions that are a blend of skills. Most jobs these days don’t require just one skill set, so it’s good to have a little flexibility on your résumé.
If you’ve been at the same company for some time and didn’t have computing classes in high school, you might want to consider taking an IT class or a web design course. You’ll want to tailor it to your interests and your job, but if you can find a class that wasn’t around when you were in college, take it. It’s going to keep you relevant and current in your job, and hopefully help you find a new one.
Lifelong learning isn’t a golden ticket to the CEO’s desk. But it is a way to make sure that your skill set matches your ambition. Going back to school or diving into learning a new skill is going to take time and dedication, but it’s well worth it.
How do you pursue lifelong learning?
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