As I was driving through Nazareth the other day, I saw an older man sitting outside an assistant care living facility. He was probably in his late 80s and was sitting on a bench with his cell phone. The cell phone was positioned in his hands in a way that made me think he was either scrolling through phone calls and/or texts or he was trying to figure out how to work something. It was a great scene and one that would have made a great promotion advertising the older generation using a cell phone.
In a time when unemployment is high, the workplace has never been more competitive. Employees are either worried about losing their jobs or finding new ones. Some have found second careers and others are wondering if they need to do so. With the trend towards globalization, new technologies and change happening faster than ever before, upgrading your skills is no longer an option. If you want to remain marketable, you need to continuously look for ways to develop yourself.
As learning and leadership development professionals, there really hasn’t been a more exciting time to be in this field. The opportunities to show our value are endless; however, in order to show our value, we need to ensure that we maintain and even enhance our own skills. We cannot forget that as change occurs, we need to change with it and make the necessary adjustments needed to adapt. Often times, we are so busy just trying to provide value to our clients and keeping our heads above water, that we often neglect to focus on our own development.
Fortunately, for us, there are many opportunities for us to seek development. Here are just a few:
- Joining local/national organizations that focus on your profession (i.e. ASTD Eastern PA Chapter or ASTD National) and/or provide you with the opportunity to work on skills that you feel need further development (i.e. Public Speaking – Toastmasters)
- Participate in the chapter and/or organization that you join as either a board member, serving on a committee, as a volunteer or by just attending their events
- Attending classes at the local colleges or universities
- Studying for the CPLP - The ASTD Certification Institute's Certified Professional in Learning and Performance Certification program
- Reading professional periodicals and websites (Harvard Business Review, T&D Magazine and ASTD.org)
- Belonging to social networks and affiliated groups that promote your profession (LinkedIn.com)
- Continuously updating your reading list and reading books whose topics mirror current trends going on within your profession
As a member of the ASTD Eastern PA Chapter, you maximize your opportunity to maintain and update the skills necessary to be an effective training and development professional through any number of the programs and events that occur throughout the year. For example, you can attend the Special Interest Groups (SIGs) that are free of charge and held at various locations throughout the Lehigh Valley. They include:
- ASTD Express
- Best Practices for Internal Consultants
- Career Management
- Consultants Express
- Consultants Forum
- Talent Management
- Attend the monthly Book Club that is free of charge and held at Barnes and Noble at the Lehigh Valley Mall
- Attend the annual Conference in November
- Attend the annual Networking Event in June
- Attend Quarterly Chapter Meetings held in March, June, September and December
- Frequently visiting our website and perusing the site for information that is updated on a regular basis
- Becoming part of our mailing list
If you wish to become more involved in the chapter, you can do so by serving as a Chapter Board Member, volunteering at any of our events, serving on committees or even facilitating a topic of interest at any of our meetings. We are always looking for members who are passionate about training and development and willing to share their expertise with us.
Remember the decision to enhance your skills is up to you and the ASTD Eastern PA Chapter has many opportunities for you to showcase and improve your talents. The older man on the bench clearly understood that things change and that in order to change with it, you need to adjust and do what is needed to adapt.