You get the best out of others when you get the best out of yourself.
Harvey S. Firestone
Springtime - what better time to think about renewal, rebirth or reinventing yourself. As stated in our blog last month, we begin our focus on ASTD's ten Communities of Practice (CoP) featuring one CoP each month through the end of the year. This month we will be highlighting Career Development and the importance of developing ourselves so that we can better serve not only those within our organizations, but ourselves.
Updating our skills is vital if we want to be at the top of our game and remain competitive in today's market. This is no different for training and development professionals who work tirelessly at making sure that others are developed within our organizations. However, training and development professionals may very well be the one group of people who are best at neglecting their own development and unfortunately, many times this neglect is not realized until it is too late.
I found myself in this exact position when I became unemployed in 2009. Due to work commitments, I was not able to take the time to look outside the organization and find opportunities of development for myself. In fact, I can safely say that the thought never crossed my mind. I worked at a very large global financial institution and was privy to some wonderful on-the-job experiences in the areas of learning, leadership development and organizational development design.I was enjoying my job as a project manager in Learning and Leadership Development, when the financial crisis hit and our positions became displaced. Being aware of the economic climate at that time,I can't say I was totally shocked at being unemployed, but I can say that I wasn't prepared and was asking myself for the first time in 16 years "ok - what's next"? As anyone knows who has been unemployed or is currently unemployed, it can be an intimidating time.
However, this can also be a time of enlightenment and one that provides you with an opportunity to reflect upon what you actually want to do next. This reflection can open you up to many opportunities. Whether you are thinking of pursuing a second career or even just thinking about ways you can improve your own performance in preparation of your next role, being unemployed gives you the opportunity to do things that you might not have had the opportunity to do when you were working.
As such, I would like to share with you the lessons I learned as I was looking for my next opportunity.
- If unemployed, take the time to grieve your loss, but move forward as quickly as you can.
- Take the time to assess what you did right in your previous role as well as what things could have been done better.
- Keep an open mind to new possibilities and opportunities and always maintain a positive attitude.
- Volunteer your time at an organization that represents your interests and don't be afraid to get involved. You would be amazed at where your talents can take you and the people you will meet.
- Constructively identify those areas that you believe can be improved upon and look for opportunities where these deficiencies can be practiced. Volunteering your time is the perfect opportunity to improve your skills while at the same time helping others.
- Take these new opportunities and network, network, network. You never know what will be right around the corner and where your next opportunity will exist.
- Most importantly - once you are able to find your next opportunity, be sure to think about how you will maximize opportunities to continue your development. This is critical to do before you begin your next role so that you will be able to ensure that any development that occurred while you were not working continues when you begin working again.
In closing, be sure to take the time to always think about ways you can develop your skills. Both ASTD National and the ASTD Eastern PA Chapter have multiple opportunities and resources to provide you with the information you need to further develop yourself.
The ASTD Eastern PA Chapter is always looking for our members to become involved in our various activities and events and would welcome the level of expertise you would bring to the table. Contact Jim Byrnes, VP of Membership and Volunteers email@example.com or myself, if interested.
In addition, why not consider enrolling in the
Communities of Practice for Career Development and become an active participant in the process. If you are unemployed or currently looking for another opportunity or even just looking to improve your skills in helping you to better brand, sell and present yourself, why not attend our next Chapter event on Active Interviewing.
I look forward to seeing you at one of our next events.
Until next time....