"You can finish school, and even make it easy--but you never finish your education, and it's seldom easy." - Zig Ziglar
What was the last conference you attended?
What professional organizations do you belong to?
These are just a few of the questions we ask managers and employees when conducting operational reviews. We want to understand how the organization is keeping up to date with the changes in our industry. And we want to learn if the company is investing in their employees.
Too often, the answers are disappointing. The company has cut the training and travel budgets. Management doesn’t see the value in conferences or associations. There’s too much work, and no time for education.
Occasionally, we meet individuals who’ve found a way around the obstacles and lack of support. They’ve taken responsibility for their own professional development. They pay for membership dues, course fees and conference registrations with their own funds. They use vacation time to attend training, and share rooms with friends attending the same event.
Successful people understand that education isn’t an expense, it’s an investment – in their job, in their career and in themselves. They aren’t waiting for someone else to decide what they need to learn, they’re going after the information on their own. They know that knowledge is a fundamental building block for success.
The investment may not be money, but time. There’s a lot of free training available on the internet, and information posted on many websites. Taking the training and reading articles requires setting aside time – probably personal time – to absorb and understand.
The people I admire most are those that never stop learning about their field of work. Their rewards aren’t always in the form of a promotion or raise, although those happen too. Their efforts and investments culminate in being able to claim the title of “Professional”.