Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Fitting Professional Development Into Lives That Are Already Full

It’s widely acknowledged that lifelong learning is important. Many professionals require a specific number of “continuing education units” (CEUs) each year to maintain their certification. With constant changes in the workplace (e.g., new technology, processes, or job responsibilities), training may be necessary just to stay qualified to do your job, even if you’re not striving to get ahead.

However, at the same time that learning demands are on the increase, organizations are striving to do more with less – so it may not be possible to take time away from work to accommodate your learning needs. Learning, then, may encroach on your personal time – which, in turn, may already be full!

Canadian career expert, Barbara Moses, writes about living your life in chapters. So, one approach to professional development is to give it the amount of your life that it’s worth at the moment. Realistically, it may not be the best time to take on a full degree program so sort out the minimum professional development required to keep your career on track.

If you decide that now is the time to more fully engage in learning, consider what other life roles or major tasks you can set aside. Making room for courses may mean temporarily giving up volunteering, or downshifting your career so that less overtime or travel is required. Perhaps it’s help around the house that you’ll need – can you afford to hire a cleaner or cook? Arrange for additional daycare while you’re at school and also while you’re studying? Can you engage other family members in taking on more responsibility? The best juggler in the world can’t keep adding balls to the mix without dropping something!

Life Strategies offers many e-learning opportunities (on our website, click on Our Services / Programs and Courses for a comprehensive list), including some directed studies courses which you can schedule at your convenience. Also, check out our tip sheets on fitting professional development into busy lives and stretching your professional development dollars.

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