Want To Love Going To Work Every Day? Keep Learning.
It’s never too late to learn new skills.
I’m new to blogging. Yes, this is my first blog – please continue reading! I’m on the cusp between Gen X and Gen Y, I work with Millennials, and I’m a mother to pre-school twins (Gen Z?). Reality has slowly been dawning on me that I need to up my game in the digital space. But I find myself thinking “Is this essential, or a nice-to-have? How will I find time to update these skills in between juggling work, home and good old-fashioned Facebook newsfeeds?”
I was finally given a wake-up call last week when I booked into an internal training programme for University of Auckland staff. I got a bit of a shock to find it’s being delivered by one of the student volunteers I coordinate for our drop-in CV booth! I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Working at the University has made me supremely confident that our future is bright: Millennials are smart, engaged, proactive, tech-savvy (and – don’t worry – actually really nice people!). Back when I was a new grad, I could walk my boss through PowerPoint. Now the time has come when the students know more than I do.
Keeping our skills current keeps us engaged. Sometimes all it takes is learning something new, or experiencing something new, to feel like you have a new professional challenge. You might not necessarily want to change career or employers: you’re just feeling a bit “ho-hum”. A small step outside your comfort zone can renew your passion and open up all sorts of possibilities. I’ve seen people go on to write their own job descriptions based on the skills they bring to an organisation. So follow your curiosity. Challenge yourself.
Where to start? Try a skills audit: Start by listing what skills you enjoy using, and then cross-reference those against your level of expertise, by linking to examples where you’ve used those skills (whether in your current or past jobs, or outside of work). This should give you a good picture of what you both enjoy doing, and have some experience of. Aim to build on these skills using opportunities in your current workplace or in other areas of your life.
Talking to a colleague, mentor or career consultant can help you to identify short and longer term goals. If you know where you want to head, they’ll be able to help you to identify the skills you’ll need to get there. Careers NZ also has a great interactive ‘figure out your skills section’ and a ‘jobs database’ where you can research roles and the skills required to do them.
Keeping your skills current keeps you relevant, engaged, and in love with your job. You owe it to yourself to keep learning.
I’m following my own advice. Blog – tick! Right, Twitter, here I come….