It’s often said that learning doesn’t stop when school is over, and there’s a good reason for that. There’s always something to learn, mainly because we are constantly discovering new information, or being forced by new data to re-evaluate facts thought to be long-established. The world is constantly changing, and those attempting to embrace continuous learning are the ones who can best adapt to those changes.
Professional development in the workplace
Maintaining top-notch professional skills is essential in every field. In a YouTube Caterpillar equipment safety film, Shake Hands with Danger, it’s shown that a common cause of workplace accidents is over-familiarity with a task, and the resulting complacency and overconfidence.
A similar principal applies with staying informed and educated about the ever-changing world, both in and out of the office. Someone who is always learning is more aware of the world around them, and much more conscious of the fact they don’t know everything. Knowing there’s more out there to learn and understand can be an effective motivator when committing to ongoing professional development.
Why life-long learning is essential
Continuous learning is especially important in the field of information technology since computer hardware and software are always being upgraded with new features and capabilities. Learning new systems is essential as older ones become outdated and obsolete.
Also, learning about a variety of subjects, even beyond a specific field, is helpful in comprehending a world where different systems and elements interconnect. For example, studying history helps to develop an appreciation for how even mundane aspects of life shouldn’t be taken for granted, and how civilization had to work to get where it is today.
There’s no need to be an expert in everything under the sun, but even getting a basic understanding in a range of subjects is helpful.
Sources of learning and self improvement
There are many sources of new information you can seek out in a search for ongoing knowledge and skill development.
Reading is fundamental. Depending on the field, there are many books on business and economics to help gain a greater understanding of how businesses operate.
Audiobooks are available for those with little time on their hands for reading printed books, and websites like Goodreads can help to point readers toward additional books they may find of interest.
YouTube is not just a source of cute cat videos. For virtually any task imaginable, whether it involves fixing plumbing, doing automotive repairs, or solving common computer issues, there’s a good chance that a YouTube tutorial video exists to serve as a step-by-step guide. There are also reviews of office furniture and many other products that not only aid in making purchasing decisions, but may also outline unknown and unused features of those products.
As with videos, there are podcasts that cover numerous and varied topics, from current events to emerging technologies. Many are also available for download so users can listen to them at convenient times.
Experts in the field
Don’t be afraid to ask others in the workplace who may be a good source of knowledge. Learning to understand the basics of a coworker’s job, even if they are in a different department, can help both parties better appreciate each other’s duties, and help them work together more effectively.
Keeping informed of current events is another way to learn new information, and keep track of important developments that could impact certain industries. Many reputable news outlets have free, daily email newsletters that send the most important headlines directly to an inbox.
The payoff of personal growth
Being willing to learn new information and adapt to a changing world and workplace is helpful to an individual’s growth as a person, and their career track. Someone willing to learn also shows they are willing to take on additional tasks and responsibilities, making them a more valuable asset to a company.