It’s time to wrap up my initial foray into blogging. Having considered the personal costs of professional development let’s take a quick look at the benefits of your investment. The way I see it, there are three primary payoffs to consider.
The Actual Knowledge or Abilities That You Gain
What we can actually learn from any sort of class, short course or lecture is the obvious measuring stick we use when evaluating if we got our money’s worth or if our time was well spent being instructed. While gaining marketable skills may always remain our primary goal, we need to examine the other (following) benefits that might also justify the expenditure of time and money for professional education.
You may know something, but can you prove it? Never forget that paperwork is powerful. You can put certifications on resumes and it allows you to provide evidence when others actually ask you about the skills that you claim to posses. There are a myriad of computer programs, machines, tools and vehicles both common and highly specialized that you could gain experience with without undergoing formal training. But without a training certificate it falls on you to demonstrate what you know to an employer who (more likely than not) will ask you to meet a very high burden of proof.
This one might come as a surprise as we often think of networking and training as different activities. But remember, you aren’t (usually) the only one in the class room, field trip or lecture hall. Your teachers, and fellow students are people that you may want to meet. Networking is probably the least considered result of adult education. But it may very well be the most important thing you get out of the experience. Taking a class, going on an industry tour or participating in a seminar can be a great way to meet people who, like you, are developing their career and may share some of your professional interests.