Not every company has the resources to provide its employees with the learning and development their people need or want to maximize their potential. That is no excuse for you not doing anything to develop your career.
Don’t wait for people or programs to develop your potential. Take responsibility for your own career, and invest time and energy in developing it. Here are five simple things you can do now on your own to advance:
1. Enroll in a course.
There are tons of educational courses from which to choose and learn a subject or skill. You can choose a course that is online or in a classroom.
If you need to take a class outside of work hours, see which courses you can take at night or during the lunch hour. If there is a course you want to take that meets during the workday and the course clearly relates to your current work, make the case to your manager. Explain why enrolling in the course will make you better at your job and how you will still be able to manage your current workload.
2. Attend a conference.
Is there a conference, seminar or workshop that will help you develop a particular skill or in-depth knowledge on a certain topic? Consider asking your manager if you can participate in the event. He or she may allow you to participate during a workday or ask that you use a vacation day.
3. Network with colleagues.
Connect and learn from people at work and outside of work. Call the person. Meet them for coffee. Ask questions. These are the professionals and experts that know the information and have applied it with their work. Learn from their experiences.
4. Shadow people you admire.
Take it a step further, and spend more time with professionals who you want to see in action. You could shadow the individual for a day, a half-day, a couple of hours or a particular event or meeting. Learn by watching the expert.
Watch how the person interacts with their colleagues or starts a meeting. Watch the behaviors and actions of leaders and how they gain respect in the workplace.
Experts write on topics that you want to know more about like how to navigate gender differences in communication styles or how to develop a growth mindset. If you want to learn about a topic, search the Internet. Select articles published on reputable platforms and websites that you recognize and respect to ensure you are learning quality information.
When in doubt (and particularly for touchy or sensitive work-related issues), consider searching for and reading about those issues at home and on your personal device. Some organizations monitor the activity of its employees.
Your career is your job. Your career is your responsibility. Take ownership of it, and do not wait for support that may never come. To further your development, enroll in a course, attend a conference, network, shadow colleagues and read.