You entered your profession 17 years ago. It felt just like yesterday you received your degree, started applying for jobs and thought you could take on the entire world by yourself.
Has it turned out to be an exciting adventure?
If the first thing you ask in the morning (or evening) when you get to work is ‘Is it five o’clock yet?’, then the answer is a resounding ‘no’. But whose fault is that?
Don’t blame the company; blame yourself for not taking part in your continuing professional development, also known as CPD.
Don’t think it’s necessary at this point in your life? Think again! There are plenty of reasons why CPD is important in every way possible – professionally and personally.
Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.
1. It Improves Your Job Performance
Every job eventually becomes routine, but then this behaviour breeds complacency. When employees become complacent, then their work is either uninspired or riddled with errors.
While it is understandable that you would eventually be bored with your position after 12 years, the business does not expect you to stand idly by and allow mistakes to accumulate.
One of the benefits of CPD is that your job performance improves because of:
- new skills learned from professional development
- a rejuvenation in your career; newfound interest in this field
- you want to apply skills you recently acquired
- a desire for better pay and promotion.
These characteristics are common once you routinely participate in workshops, enrol in an online course or take advantage of the company seminar.
2. You Hone and Update Your Skills
Professionals typically determine that CPD saved their careers. Without career development, they may have been stuck in an entry- or low-level position until they reached their winter years, somehow surviving the enterprise’s endeavour to trim the fat every time. You tread water if you refuse to hone and update your skills.
To better grasp this area, it is important to put yourselves in an employer’s shoes: would you rather hire someone who is continually adding a new skill to their CV or someone who is stuck in the past like Al Bundy and his four touchdowns in a single game back in high school?
If you’re in computing, then learning a new programming language is expected. If you’re in the culinary arts, then finding out new techniques is critical. If you’re in writing, then studying a new topic will keep you ahead of the game.
3. You Boost Your Earnings
A lot of workers anticipate being compensated highly just for being themselves. But that’s not how the job market functions. Your human capital, supply and demand and employee-employer agreement are what matter – not what you feel you are entitled to.
With professional development, you will inevitably see your earnings jump. This could be accomplished by attaining new skills, adding a new accreditation to your CV or meeting industry insiders at these events that can lead to a new employment opportunity – they often say that, to increase your pay, you should switch jobs every three years.
Let’s be honest: we work to put groceries on the table. If it weren’t for money, we would be sitting near a lake, fishing (it doesn’t matter if you don’t catch one) and drinking ice cold… Perrier.
4. You Stay Relevant
Great! You were on the cutting edge of technology in the 1990s when the internet was just getting started. You had a website, you participated in email marketing, and you even had a twinkle in your eye when you heard the iconic ‘You’ve got mail’ message. You were relevant back then. Today? Not so much.
Unfortunately, a lot of us eventually become irrelevant if we don’t do anything to stay in the moment. This is only expected when you refrain from finding a new skill, getting a degree in another subject or developing your current crop of professional attributes.
Don’t be stuck in your glory days; try to enter the current year with tools that are demand today – not 23 years ago.
5. It Opens New Opportunities for You
Unfortunately, many of us expect the door to open without even pulling at the knob. Whether it is laziness or conceit, we just wait for opportunities to be placed in front of us rather than try to seek them out and do what it takes to find chances to grow. How can you expect the universe to help you if you are afraid to meet it halfway?
The one main outcome, and potentially the most important, of CPD is that you will start to witness an abundance of new prospects. The more you develop professionally, the more you will begin to see an enormous amount of ways to succeed, from a head-hunter cold-calling you to finally advancing in the firm you’ve been employed by for the last nine years.
6. You Remain Interested in Your Career
Over a long period of time, people just become disinterested in their careers. There could be a diverse array of reasons for this dissatisfaction: burnout, disengagement, monotony and frustration.
Here’s the thing: just because your job is not challenging, that doesn’t mean you need to sit on the sidelines going through the motions. You can take action to not only remain committed to the workplace but also reinvigorate your career by launching a plan to continuing your professional development.
7. You Expand Your Social Network
How big is your social network? No, we are not talking about the number of friends you have on Facebook or the number of followers on Twitter. We mean your true social network: industry contacts, a Rolodex of phone numbers, and sources who can connect you with the right people who will then connect you with additional right people.
Before you know it, you’re going to be wheeling and dealing, wining and dining with a whole host of professionals every weeknight.
8. You Affirm Your Professionalism
Sure, you can tell everyone how professional you are. You can yell until you’re blue in the fact about how dedicated you are to being a trapeze artist. However, if you’re unable to take that extra step and partake in career development, then you may be unable to convey to the rest of the world how much you love your work.
Simply put: if you adore your career so much, then why is it such a chore to sign up for a few night courses or attend industry functions that offer seminars?
9. You Make a Contribution to the Team
If you begin to notice that more of your colleagues, particularly the new hires, are more up to date, resourceful and passionate than you are, then it is a sign that you have nothing left to contribute to neither the company nor your team.
And you know what? This is unfair to your coworkers who want the big assignments, the important clients or the daily compliments from senior management.
The importance of CPD is that you begin to feel better about yourself as you make a contribution to the workplace and don’t just sit idly by drinking coffee and complaining.
Also, note more evil glances from Al and Lily who think you’re slacking!
10. It Enhances Your Public Confidence
As soon as you started your career – 5, 10 or 20 years ago – you were on the top of the world. You were as confident as the Bee Gees in their ‘Stayin’ Alive’ music video. As the years went by, you became less poised in your abilities and acumen.
One day, you might hit rock bottom – then what?
One of the best benefits of CPD is that you can be self-assured once again. It wasn’t that you were lazy or that you were unintelligent; it was the fact that you hadn’t gotten a new toolset in years. And you know what? Using the same tools can lead to wear and tear and perpetual dissatisfaction in the workforce.
We all know the importance of development, which is key if you wish to be like those speakers on TED Talks.
Lao Tzu wrote: ‘He who conquers others is strong; he who conquers himself is mighty’. Can you conquer yourself and all the roadblocks you put in front of you?
Let’s put it another way.
If you could write a book about your career up until this moment, what would you call it? There are many names to choose from: The Great Expectations, The Silent Mystery or This Adorable Pig Is Beyond Amazeballs. It’s up to you what title you’d use.
The point is this your career will have its highs and lows, but the most important fact of them all is that you need more highs than lows. Otherwise, you will feel like a failure, you will become disgruntled with your job, and you will not feel like it is essential to do what’s best for your career.
Why is CPD important? It gives your career a new lease on life!
Do you have anything you’d like to add? Join the conversation down below!