Career Obstacle No. 3: Outsourcing your success
The idea of lifelong learning has been around for a very long time. Perhaps the best way in the workplace has ever been state was by futurist and author Alivn Toffler:
“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”
Two of the most crucial core skills to demonstrate to a present or future employer are the ability to adapt and the ability to recover from setbacks (aka resilience or grit). When you tell stories in an interview or performance review, you’ll do more than just recount events; you’ll be telling the story of how you are learning to adapt and learned from setbacks. Learning is golden in the modern workplace.
So who is responsible for your skills development- you or your employer? In an ideal world, both. In reality, your managers will focus on developing the traits and skills they need from you which aren’t necessarily the ones that will keep you employed. Worse yet, they may have zero interest in developing you because of the cost and time involved. Leaving it up to your job is to outsource your future success to someone else. Don’t do that. Take development that is offered but also make your own plans to develop yourself.
“Ugh. Does this mean I have to go back to school?” you might say. Well, the good news is that you probably don’t need to do that. If your future goals require a degree or certification of some kind you may need to purpose formal instruction. With the massive growth of independent learning resources and online classes you can learn on demand, on your time, to your own ends.
Adopting the mentality of the lifelong learner is a vital skill in the 21st century. This investment in knowledge will not only get you a job, but it will also keep you employed and, most importantly, employable.