“The lifelong learner and wonder-seeker in each of us awaits,” says Jennifer Hamady in an article for Psychology Today. If you’re feeling unmotivated at work, perhaps all you need is the fresh perspective learning can give you.
The number one reason employees choose to leave an organization is lack of growth opportunities, reports the Association for Talent Development. Does your organization offer training and career growth opportunities? Do you take advantage of them?
“Spending 40-60-80 hours somewhere each week … I want it to mean something. I want to feel like I’m moving forward somehow,” suggests Beverly Kaye and Julie Winkle Giulioni in their book Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go.
One reader of the book suggests that employee development is like eating your fruits and veggies or exercising. Ongoing career development is vital to your (and your organization’s) survival in a business world that’s constantly changing.
While this book is aimed at management (as an encouragement to develop employees), the message is sound for every business professional. Hamady suggests that as people travel down life’s timeline from learning to walk and talk, going to school, attending college, getting a job … and finally retiring, there is a gap in expectations for our working years. “… when expectations are lacking, we fail to rise to meet them.”
How can we change this?
- Make a list of areas that you would like to grow in.
- Talk with your boss about options for training or taking on bigger challenges.
- Find the resources that can bridge skill gaps or help you explore interests.
If your company doesn’t currently support your continuing career growth, what can you do?
- Open a discussion with your boss about employee education and training.
- If possible, tie your specific training request to time savings, i.e., a new skill will enable you to complete certain projects faster.
- Budgeting for training may also be a concern for your boss. Think about the budget planning process at your company — could you give a longer lead time, giving management time to plan for the expense?
- Also consider how your new skills might help your organization make more money.
Many of us think of professional development as employer driven — the boss wants us to learn more about sexual harassment or customer service or any number of other topics. But it’s your career. If you’re stalled, bored, and coasting … learn something new and reenergize.