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STUDENT LIFE / SEP. 24, 2014
version 5, draft 5

How To Take Personal Responsibility For Your Learning And Development After Graduation

happy graduate

Graduation must have felt real good considering the amount of dedication and hard work you had to put in to savour that precious sense of educational entitlement. From long hours at the library to withstanding the most boring and endless lectures, the days of having to grapple with exams and impromptu CATs were finally over. But when it came to maintaining that job, you came to realize that there was indeed some academic knowledge you had to keep on refreshing and so it dawned on you that...

The Journey Had Just Began
Let’s retrace back a little bit to high school. Now if you recall vividly, you do remember finishing your four years with jubilation that involved throwing away your books and expecting a totally new chapter in campus. But for most of us, we came to realize that high school education was after all very important in campus...

Plus the Freedom is Quite Tempting to Say the Least
Well, unless your campus is military school, most higher education schedules are usually very flexible which means that a lot of free time was left over to us. It was our personal responsibility then to either decide to party all day or balance our pleasures with a few hours at the library. Of course, most campus students usually wait when exams are around the corner to seriously study...

But that Game is Obsolete after Campus
It’s not like our employers schedule hard tasks for us, which I presume are more or less like exams. In fact, the most overwhelming tasks usually present themselves when we least expect it. And if you fail to deliver, chances are you’ll be blacklisted on the incompetence list which means serious trouble on your part. Plus of course, a lot is consistently expected of you day after day which means that the game of last minute preparation isn’t going to be legit for long.

So How do we Take Personal Responsibility for our Learning and Development after Graduation?


Notice my choice of words. First off, it’s learning because we get to savour new experiences in the workplace every day. And development of course because the last thing we want is to be an easy target for unexpected lay offs considering our lackluster performance. Initially, higher education institutions took responsibility for our learning and development in campus, but after graduation, we became our own masters in these two frontiers. And so, as we borrow a leaf or two from higher education institutions, we should:

#1 Have a Daily Accountability Framework of How things Should Be Done
I once suggested this crazy (and stupid) idea to a friend of mine after completing a rather frustrating continuous assessment test. Allegedly, I was of the view that having attended our classes, then that alone should warrant a degree. Of course you can imagine the sarcastic laugh that this ludicrous idea was greeted with. Followed by a brief explanation that without accountability, then quality and competence is simply immeasurable.

Same case applies to our careers, in that we should develop a personal daily accountability framework for gauging our competence. This can range from creating our own personal deadlines to briefly auditing our work at the end of each passing day. This of course is at the disposal of our individual discretion.

#2 Spare some few moments to Revisit and Sharpen already Existent Academic Credentials
When we stay away from studies for a while, we tend to develop this uncanny sense of laziness if I should say so, that stems from the pain we had to endure in campus libraries. Not that it’s real pain, but there is usually this subliminal sense of torture when you’re NOT reading for fun. I mean, studying a book on accounting practices for instance isn’t as convenient as reading your favourite magazine right? But all in all, we’ve got to learn to endure and polish our already existent academic skills by sparing a few moments in the evening to peruse through some notes, polish some skills here and there and keep our academic knowledge afresh.

#3 Take Advantage of Informational Interviewing Especially from Career Mentors and Acquaintances
One way or the other, you’re likely to encounter a challenge at the workplace that’s way over your league. And as companies try their very best to cut down on unnecessary consultation and outsourcing costs, it would do you no harm to make yourself more useful. Now some of you may not be familiar with informational interviewing but, it’s basically consulting someone with a different skill and thus, gaining some useful information which consequently helps you gain some extra usefulness in the workplace.

Of course most of us have a few career mentors and acquaintances within our vicinity that could spare us a few moments for informational interview. Plus you never know, you might end up earning yourself an impromptu promotion just for making yourself more useful despite the fact that you’re obviously incompetent from a formalized perspective.

It’s quite obvious that everyone should take personal responsibility for their learning and development after graduation. But, few are unable (and unwilling) to give this task the seriousness it deserves and ultimately settle for the common threshold of maintaining their jobs. Then they wonder why they’re not getting any promotions despite their ’consistent’ work performance. After all, it’s common sense to know that stupidity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.

 

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