Never Stop Learning

For me, the onset of the cool, gloomy weather always signals a time of reflection, a time to take stock of life in general. I think about what I’m doing and where I’m heading. Inevitably, my thoughts always end up with my professional goals and whether I’m heading in the right direction. Does this sound familiar?

Say you’ve identified that you want a change, but how do you work out what your goals are? Is it a new path in the same industry, or a complete career change? If you’re completely stumped, one great place to start is by googling some of those vocational surveys. There are plenty of surveys available but the best ones will be quite extensive. You might even find they will ask the same question in a few different ways and there’s a good reason for this. You see, subconsciously, we tend to answer questions based on what our logical mind thinks we should answer, not what we truly feel. Repeating the question using different phrasing helps to weed out those manufactured preferences.

Once you’ve finished the survey, you’ll receive a report which describes your strengths, weaknesses, and the environments you are most suited to. Some even suggest possible occupations you might be interested in. Take some time to consider those results and work out which of those skills are being used in your current position and which you'd like to enhance. Think about which skills will help you move towards your professional goals, which skills are for personal interest, and how you will prioritise your development in these areas.

Now it's time to set some goals. Make sure you follow the SMART criteria so your goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. Pre-empt and put strategies in place to manage all obstacles which could potentially stand in your way. Do you need to learn new skills on the job? Talk to your supervisor about possible development opportunities. Perhaps you can work with someone on a project to develop the particular skill set you're hoping to enhance. Do you need to retrain? Look into courses which match your target career. Talk to people in that industry and ask what qualifications and experience you need to get where you want to be. Think about flexible learning options. If you can’t take time off work to attend classes, look into online learning, distance education or even night or weekend classes.

Talk to your support network - your family, friends and colleagues. Can they help you achieve your goals? Whether it’s having the kids looked after for a few hours each week, being mentored by your current supervisor, or volunteering in the industry you’re aiming for, your support network can help. Don’t be scared to ask, because if you don’t ask, you don’t get.

If you’re reading this, doubting the possibilities, I can assure you it is possible. I’ve seen this process achieve great outcomes for many people, and also experienced this in my own life. I’ve studied five qualifications in the last 7 years, two of which were through MDS Training, I’ve attended several professional development workshops, as well as learning on the job. Each experience has contributed to where I am now and where I’m heading. And yes, I understand how difficult it is to achieve the work-life balance, but it really is possible. Just ask us how we can help you.