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Continuous Learning at Work: What's In It for You?


Continuous learning is a popular buzz phrase. What's in it for you? Everything, or you’re not in the right place. The Gallup Organization, famous for polling, believes and advocates that people perform best when they’re in the right job. Trying to teach someone to do a job they don’t enjoy doesn't work. It makes for an unhappy employee and a poorly done job.

Take control of your happiness. It’s yours, after all. Figure out which job is right for you, and then go about learning how to do it. The more you learn at work, the more valuable you are to your employer and the more likely you are to be promoted.

Be Curious:

What do you wonder about? Do you wish you knew how a certain process works or what might happen if you changed the process? Be curious. Look around and wonder, about anything, and then go find out. Curiosity is one of the foundation blocks of learning, no matter how old you are.

Take Your Future Into Your Own Hands:

If your supervisor doesn’t recognize the great potential just waiting to leap out of you, draw a picture for him or her. I mean this respectfully, of course. Create your own development plan and discuss it with your supervisor.

Your development plan should include:

  • Your specific goals; make them SMAART goals
  • The knowledge and skills to be developed
  • Required activities
  • Resources needed
  • Obstacles to overcome
  • Benefits to the company
  • Expected completion date
Request assistance in whatever form is available at your job: time during work to learn, tuition reimbursement, a mentor.

Mentor Others:

We sometimes forget how much we know. It’s called unconscious knowing. We know it so well that we do it automatically. If you look around, there are probably people coming up behind you for whom it’s not so automatic. Give them a hand. Teach them what you know. It might just be one of the most fulfilling things you ever do.

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