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Growing Your Career:
Investing in Training and Development
By Debbie Christofferson, CISSP, CISM

Companies complain that they can't hire for the skills they need. But why aren't employers helping us identify and gain them? Most organizations have cut back on training, yet many skills are relevant to employee success.

When speaking at a recent PMI trade group meeting on career acceleration strategies, a woman spoke up on this issue. "Sharon" asked me how she was supposed to learn and grow, when her company refused to pay for necessary training.

Who loses when you miss out on training? A business benefits when they help employees develop and grow. It builds loyalty, and a stronger workforce that achieves better results. But you pay a high price for standing still.

Taking Charge of Yourself

"When you're green you're growing, and when you're ripe, you're rotting". In today's environment of globalization and the pace of technological change, it's critical that we fertilize our own garden.

You own your own career and employability. Be prepared for job loss or change, and constantly seek to learn and grow. Open your mind to unlimited opportunities within your personal and professional environment.

No one is handing out entitlement tickets. Stop bellyaching and take charge of yourself. You can boost training, skills and expertise in dozens of ways, inside or outside an organization.

Leveraging Learning Opportunities

Industry trade groups offer an excellent resource for giving and receiving. Get involved. In the office, seek an internship. Get a coach. Rotate jobs or cross-train. Setup lunchtime training. Accept responsibility for a project that needs action. Ask your manager, colleagues, or family for insights.

You can learn anytime, during the day, evening, weekend, or vacation: Reading, attending training and tele-seminars, listening to audio programs, writing, volunteering, mentoring, or returning to school full or part-time.

Teaching ignites your own learning, while also helping others grow. Look where you live, work, play, or in trade groups, schools and public events.

Invest in yourself. If you ask your company to pay, demonstrate a clear return on investment, based on the organization's benefit and need, not yours.

Building a Plan

Take stock of where you are, and where you want to go. Create a plan for the journey. If you work for someone else, review your plans with your manager, especially as they relate to your current position and planned growth.

Ask about opportunities that allow you contribute to the organization's goals and your own. If you are self-employed, seek inputs from a trusted colleague.

Inventorying Your Skills

What do you bring to the table for a business or employer? Inventory your strengths and experience. Keep your resume and contacts current.

Taking the Lid Off

It's a new ballgame. Take the lid off and step up to the plate, if you expect to play ball.

Join us! "How to Create and Implement a Strategic Plan in a Technology Environment". A former female CIO of a Fortune 500 company shares her wisdom and insights.

Send email or phone me (480-988-4194) for details to participate. This telephone seminar shares a wealth of knowledge. Join as our complimentary guest as we kickoff our new series.

Next month: Are you charting a second career? Whether from downsizing, outsourcing, reentry into the workforce after an extended absence, or to shake up or slow down the pace, join us in the next column. We will share insights on where the best opportunities lie, which markets and skills fit, and how you can push your foot in the door.

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Debbie Christofferson
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