‘Tired of School’ asks:
When can a person quit taking classes and just do their job? The people where I work are constantly taking off for college classes, seminars, and online workshops. Why were they hired if they are still in the learning phase?
PayCheck ChaCha chatters:
They understand something that you’re ignoring: Organizations must get smarter to survive – those that don’t get smarter disappear. Organizational growth happens when the people in the organization grow – and smart organizations encourage and reward continued education. The question isn’t why did your organization hire people who are still taking classes? – it is why did they hire you if you’re no longer interested in learning?
To continue your knowledge growth and prepare for new opportunities, it’s wise to have a recent educational entry on your resumé – recent meaning within the past 12-to-18 months.
Original degrees and certifications need to be updated and validated by current learning achievements. An employer should see regular progress that demonstrates skill development and ambition. Every time you complete an educational activity, send an email to inform your immediate supervisor, department head, and human resources executive of courses or workshops you’ve completed, along with one or two practical applications to your current job for the material you’ve just learned.
If you haven’t added a transcript or continuing education certificate to your personnel folder within the past 24 months, it’s overdue. Opportunity seeks people who are actively growing, not those who count on what they learned in the past. In other words:
What got you this job won’t move you ahead in this job – or on to the next one.
Expand your knowledge to expand your responsibilities.
If you don’t have a high school or GED diploma on file, go get it. If you haven’t completed a college degree, take classes in that direction. Don’t let the time and effort it would take to finish a degree program deter you – you’re only a single step away from starting a single relevant class. If there are professional certifications to pursue in your field, pursue them. You don’t have to get a diploma or certificate every two years, but you do need to make progress toward them.
Turn Lessons Into Ideas
Class reading and discussions will stimulate you to develop and submit new ideas for improving your job and organization. Keep a concise summary of your improvement proposals and their outcomes to complement your resumé. If your course selections are being guided by a career interest outside of your current employment, be smart enough to find ways you can apply that new knowledge in your present pursuit.
Collect documentation on every program and course you attend – even a program from a 20-minute lunch meeting presentation. Make notes on the key points – especially action items you will take on your job. Keep a file folder of the original documents with your notes and deliver a copy to HR for your employee folder. When you interview for a promotion or new position, have your file of educational achievements and follow-up action plans with you – in case a question gives you a chance to dig out a relevant action plan to demonstrate your preparedness.
When you’ve mastered a discipline and there are no more courses in that field on your horizon, you aren’t finished growing and documenting that growth. Volunteer to share your knowledge at a conference or after-hours workshop where you work. Courses you successfully develop and teach are even bigger reputation builders than courses you’ve attended.
Experience is an important job qualification, but experience coupled with
ongoing educational achievement is a powerful recommendation for advancement!
Email your workplace questions to PayCheckChaCha@AccidentalCareer.com.