If you haven’t made a commitment to lifelong learning, maybe it’s time to look at what the future holds for your current job. Statistics show that millions of positions will be lost to AI in the next five years. Don’t believe it? Just look at how technology has changed so many jobs during COVID-19.

Be honest with yourself – are YOU in a position that is secure?

If you work in an organization that is developing learning plans for each individual on staff, make certain you understand what is being planned for you and participate fully to help secure your future. But if your organization isn’t developing learning plans, perhaps it’s time to create a plan for yourself.

Here are a few things you might consider as you set your learning goals, both short and long-term:

Learn more about your current profession. There may be occasions to learn from more experienced personnel through mentoring. Webinars and training offered by your organization are an amazing source of information. And be sure to check out professional development groups.

Consider a designation or degree that would move you forward in your career and/or assure you of more steady employment. Do your research, decide how and when you can complete the training or schooling, and how you will pay for it. Will your current employer help cover the costs? There may be government grants that you and/or your company might apply for to cover some or all of the expense.

Continue acquiring new skills. Spend some time thinking about the future of your industry, then identify the skills and experiences you would need to stay relevant. Critically examine your current skill level, including your soft skills – teamwork, communication, problem-solving, adaptability and interpersonal skills – and hard skills. Does your field require a more advanced skill-set than you currently possess? Write down your thoughts, categorize and prioritize them, and set a course for learning.

Make sure you consider your personal learning style. Whether you learn best visually, by reading, or through experience, there are resources and courses designed to help you reach your goal. Do you work best when in a group, or by taking in the information and reflecting and assimilating it by yourself? Consider these questions and select learning opportunities that will work best for you.

You can get the most out of your learning and training by creating a learning journal – a physical notebook, or even a document on your computer – to record your learning experiences. After any learning interaction – conversation, coaching session, training session, webinar or book read you – make notes, reflect on what you learned and again, move it forward by thinking about how you can best use this new knowledge. Where possible, give examples and timelines on how you plan to accomplish something new with this information.

If you’re looking for more information about any of these tools, start by talking to the leadership in your organization. If you search online, you’ll find samples, templates and multiple resources that can help you. If you’re a leader wanting to stay up to date, sign up for WATMEC’s monthly Management Minute to receive articles on issues and skills you need to stay current and move forward in your career.

Want to learn more? Explore WATMEC online or give me a call. We know what it takes to make learning a success in your organization.


About Dale

Dale Wilcox is president of WATMEC Limited. A Learning Strategist, she holds a CTDP from the former CSTD, and a Human Performance Improvement certificate from the former ASTD. For over 25 years she has been an award winner with WILEY and is certified to deliver and debrief all their assessments. Previously Dale was a Board member and inaugural chair of CSTD. She has over 45 years of Board member experience in both for profit and non-profits organizations. An entrepreneur at heart, this is her 4th business venture.