In my last post I wrote about the need to be proactive in seeking professional development through continued education even if you get no assistance from your employer. Now I’d like to look at the costs of education and what we can do to overcome our aversion to spending our time and money.
Your evenings and weekends are important to you. But just what are you using them for? If you don’t have a good answer then you may not be making a good use of your time at present. Ultimately the amount of rest and relaxation that you can sacrifice in order to improve yourself is a very personal question. For those people who have families your personal time comes at an even higher premium than a single individual like myself. But before you say you don’t have the time to take a class, examine what you are spending your time on. Like many other people, I know that I have been very guilty of frittering away vast amounts time on idol and utterly profitless pursuits. It’s probably a worthwhile exercise for everyone to examine just what it is that we are spending our time on. Time is a limited resource that gets spent regardless of what we do.
Let’s assume that you are getting no financial assistance from your employer or anyone else to pursue additional education for your career. Of course if you are getting assistance of one form or another, more power to you. Just how to get your employer to chip in for training might be subject for a future blog post. But for now, let’s look at this from the perspective of doing it on your own. Naturally we have to weigh the value of any class, certification or training we might choose to spend our money on. Certainly some educational courses may not be worth what you would be asked to pay for them but others might pay significant dividends.
Hobby Your Professional Development
No, I didn’t say “hobble” your development. I am saying, Make a hobby of it.
The truth is, most of us will always be jealous of our time and tight-fisted with our money. Unfortunately this can severely hamper our attempts to develop professionally. But, we all have hobbies (or at least I hope we all do). While it can’t be said that all hobbies are profitable, it can be said that the right kind can keep us mentally and/or physically engaged while still providing us with necessary distraction. Anyone who has had a hobby, that they really loved, will readily tell you that they have spent significant amounts of both time and money in pursuit of their chosen diversion, often without any regret what so ever.
So if you can do it (without rolling your eye’s) consider making your professional development into a hobby; build your skills the way some build model rockets, network with people the way others go bird watching, collect certifications the way you might collect stamps. If we think of it that way maybe it will be easier for us to part with both our beloved time and our precious dime.