Times are tough. Many of us are personally and professionally disillusioned and disengaged. Making all of this harder for training and development people is the fact that our own professional development needs often take a back seat in our efforts to serve the needs of our audience.
Bottom line: the longer you take your own professional development for granted (or worse, wait for it to "happen" to you) the more likely you'll grow stagnant in your career. So if training design is your thing, NOW is the time to seize all the challenges your workplace presents as opportunities for learning how to be a better you! The training and development field at large is ushering in exciting changes to the workplace, including:
You may never be out in front of these trends, but you should be aware of them and prepared to shift and expand your role to make yourself more marketable. I'm no professional development expert or career coach, but when training peers ask me for specific ways they can become a better training designer, I almost always give a variation of the following response because I think it's about laying the foundation for personal and professional growth.
Passion for your job is great, but that level of intensity isn't very sustainable. Instead, nurture a passion for learning about your profession. When you see yourself as a professional student, you'll find that everything you do has some learning value -- even if it isn't always inspiring.
To be a professional student:
‘We run this company on questions, not answers.’ - Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google
Many of us work for companies that value adherence to process over challenging the status quo. Many of us just don't feel comfortable about asking questions. Personally, I find it difficult to ask questions. I worry about being seen as pesky, difficult - or worse - stupid. This has been especially hard for me when working with Subject Matter Experts. But a fear of questions can seriously impede our jobs as training designers - and it contributes to an overall feeling of career stagnation.
Here's what I'm doing to overcome my fears:
Some work environments just don't reward people for taking risks and creatively stretching. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't try!
How are you making your professional development a personal priority? Tell us your story and drop us a line.
Trina Rimmer is a learning and communications consultant with twelve years experience designing, developing, and delivering smart, engaging training. When her skills aren't being tested by her children, you'll find her helping others to develop their own training design muscles.