Are you the greatest [insert your job title here] of all time? Probably not (I’m sure it’s hard to believe, but I’m not the greatest writer of all time). This isn’t a bad thing though, it just means that there’s always something else to learn. By constantly reaching out for new knowledge you can improve, increase your value (for both yourself and your career), and keep your brain active.
Read a Book
There are two reactions I just got. Either you thought “yay, I love books!” or gave a grumbling “uuuuuggggghhhhh” that rose from the depths of your soul. I’ll just say, there’s a reason books have stuck around for as long as they have, and it’s because they’re useful. Reading new books about topics related to your job (and sometimes not related) can keep you up to date, and help prevent your brain being covered in cobwebs from underuse. Of course you can buy books, but that does tend to get expensive quickly. That’s why there’s this AMAZING thing called the public library. Most people know you can check out books, but you can also check out audiobooks, DVDs/Blu-rays, CDs, and equipment. Audio-books and e-books are also available to check out digitally. There’s even database resources you have access to with your library card. Libraries are heckin’ awesome, and everyone should use them!
Watch a Video
This can be on YouTube, or maybe a LinkedIn Learning/Lynda course, or some other webinar or DVD. Depending on your field of study, you can find lots of helpful video content that can teach you things you didn’t know, and review things you did know (but maybe haven’t thought of in a while). When was the last time you picked out a training video yourself, rather than having to watch the safety video at the start of the quarterly meeting from the mid 1990s starring Vanna White (for some reason)?
Create a Log
It doesn’t have to be anything crazy complicated, just a simple Word doc (or heck, pen and paper if it’s easier). You can even do it in a google doc. Figure out a time period that makes sense (day, week, month) and track what you’ve been doing to learn more. If you finished reading a book, log the title/author. If you took a LinkedIn Learning/Lynda course, log it. If you went to a class/seminar/training/webinar/presentation, log it! Even if it’s just one thing at a time, over time you’ll see a constant string of productive growth you’ve been investing in yourself. If you haven’t done anything to learn in the past six months, and you start doing at least one thing a week, imagine how much you’ll learn over the next six months! And remember, it’s never too late to start. It doesn’t matter what you haven’t done up until now, what matters is what you do with the time now and ahead.
Since part of human nature is always wanting to improve, it’s important to include that in your overall career path. Too often, people land in their job and just plateau. Then, the next thing they know, they don’t understand the new technologies, they’re behind on terms, and it feels like they’ve been left behind as everyone else has moved on to bigger and better things. Keep learning, because you don’t want to be the person walking in to the office in 2020 going “Have you seen this ‘Facebook’ thing? It’s wild!” If it helps, you can imagine Alec Baldwin yelling at you, “A. B. L. Always be learning!”
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