Continuous Learning at Work - What's In It for You?

The Benefits of Continuous Learning at Work

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Continuous learning has been a popular buzz phrase for a long time, decades in fact. There's a reason for that. It's a good idea to keep learning at work, no matter who you are or what you do. Why? What's in it for you? Everything, or you’re not in the right place. , famous for polling, believes and advocates that people perform best when they’re in the right job. Trying to teach someone to do a job they don’t enjoy doesn't work. It makes for an unhappy employee and a poorly done job.

Take control of your happiness. It’s yours, after all. Figure out which job is right for you, and then go about learning how to do it. The more you learn at work, the more valuable you are to your employer and the more likely you are to be promoted.

Be Curious

What do you wonder about? Do you wish you knew how a certain process works or what might happen if you changed the process? Be curious. Look around and wonder, about anything, about everything, and then go find out. Curiosity is one of the foundation blocks of learning, no matter how old you are.

So is critical thinking, and that's what we're asking you to do here. Critical thinkers ask questions, they seek answers, analyze what they find with an open mind, and look for solutions. When you do those things, you can't help but learn, and you become far more valuable to your employer. If you don't become more valuable, that's important information. You are probably in the wrong job!

Take Your Future Into Your Own Hands

If your supervisor doesn’t recognize the great potential just waiting to leap out of you, draw a picture for him or her. I mean this respectfully, of course. Create your own development plan and discuss it with your supervisor.

Your development plan should include:

  • Your specific goals; make them SMART goals
  • The knowledge and skills to be developed
  • Required activities
  • Resources needed
  • Obstacles to overcome
  • Benefits to the company
  • Expected completion date

Request assistance in whatever form is available at your job: time during work to learn, tuition reimbursement, a mentor.

Mentor Others

We sometimes forget how much we know. It’s called unconscious knowing. We know it so well that we do it automatically. If you look around, there are probably people coming up behind you for whom it’s not so automatic. Give them a hand. Teach them what you know. Be a mentor. It might just be one of the most fulfilling things you ever do.

Mentoring is closely tied to networking. If you are not a networker, you need to be. Here's how to become one:

Think Positively

One of the most important things you can do, if you do nothing else, is to have a positive frame of mind. When you think about what you can do instead of what you can't do, when you stand up for what you believe in instead of railing against what you don't like, you are far more powerful. Positive thinking works. If you need help kick starting a positive thinking habit, take a look at this collection of articles: Positive Thinking - Use It to Get What You Want.