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Why You Should Care about This Thing Called ‘Professional Development’

We’ve all heard the phrase ‘Professional Development’ at work, at EcoWomen events, and just about everywhere you can think of.  To someone just starting out in a new job, it might not seem like a big deal.  Why be concerned with your professional development when you’ve finally secured yourself a job? If you’ve been in your job for awhile, why put in the effort to go above and beyond what’s required for your current job?

There’s a lot of good reasons why you should care, and why finding professional development opportunities can be helpful. Here are 5 reasons to work on professional growth :

  1. You learn new skills. Learning new skills doesn’t just keep you up to date on the latest developments in your field, but it also can give you an edge if you decide to change positions.  Maybe that new management position is about to open up, and you just happened to have just taken a management course recently.  Edge acquired. Plus, learning new things can be fun, and can open up new possibilities for you.  Maybe that new skill or class opens you up to a new career path.

  2. Having a background in a lot of different areas makes you flexible.  Having transferable skills could mean being able to smoothly transition to a new position at your company if the company restructures, or it means being able to cast a wider net if looking for a new job.

  3. It can help you meet new people. Professional development doesn’t have to mean sitting in a training for 8 hours.  It can be volunteering with DC Ecowomen at Casey Trees, or shadowing a colleague.

  4. It’s an excuse to read all those books you’ve been meaning to read. Professional development can be reading new books on subjets related to your job.  Need some ideas on great books to try? Check out our Book Club resources.

  5. Practicing networking can help you feel more comfortable speaking up at work.  If  you’re an introvert like me, the worst thing in the world is talking to people.  But practicing talking to strangers at happy hours can help you feel more confident about your work and the things you’d like to do. Practice so you don’t feel afraid to speak up!

The most important thing to think about when thinking about professional development is to think about where you want to be. Then you can decide what would help you to get there, and what kinds of professional development you might want to look into.

What kinds of professional development are you looking for?


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