Professional Development should be self directed
Now I am not saying that your managers or employers can’t have a say in the courses or training that you may undertake. Obviously there are some compliance and mandatory teachings that enable us to do our job better or safer or in some instances, to be able to do our job at all…but PD should be about more than just that.
In order for it to be truly beneficial it should fulfill your own desire to improve yourself and provide you with growth opportunities and only you know what you need to do to meet those requirements. If it is a chore you are not going to retain that information as well as if it something you really want to learn.
Here’s a simple thing to do. Ask yourself “Where am I now?” (If you answered in my office next to the bathroom; please look at the bigger picture) and then ask “Where do I want to be?” The difference between the two is what you need to do to get you there. It is your own self-directed professional development and growth plan. Some of it may fall in line with required materials and some of it won’t. Most of all – you decide what you need to learn.
Many organizations place a strong emphasis on professional development and will even go so far as to reimburse you for anything you may take (within reason). Even CoreSolutions has a budget line item for staff development (Thanks Barney & Cathy!) but many organizations aren’t as lucky as us and when times are hard the first thing to go is PD. I don’t want to get into the rights and wrongs of those decisions but just because your “organized” staff development has been put on hold does not mean that your own personal growth and development needs to be put on hold.
There are many things you can do to continue your own learning and the internet is just one VAST repository. I guarantee if you Google <insertyourcareerhere> professional development you will find something. In fact – as an experiment I just copied and pasted that line into Google and received 3,620,000 results in just 0.32 seconds. That is an education in itself!
Well that’s it for this post – my third and final installment will be on why I think Professional Development should be documented. It will be available for your viewing pleasure approximately 2 days after Kyle sends me a reminder that my blog post is overdue.