Why don’t you participate in professional development, training, and continuing education related to your administrative professional job and career? You’ve got reasons. I’ve heard them all. And I’ve got “arguments” below that bust those myths (or “excuses,” which is what they really are). Read onward to see if you’ve “said that” below.
Busting Myths: Is the Reason You Don’t Invest in Your Professional Development and Training as an Administrative Professional on This List?
By Karen Porter
Professional development and skills and competencies training can mean anything from joining and actively participating in an association relevant to your job and career to taking self-study courses in time management, organization skills, communication, assertiveness, e-mail management, and a hundred other subjects. It’s what helps administrative professionals to perform more effectively on the job, keep up with changes in the workplace and elsewhere (e.g. technology), increase their leverage for promotions and salary increases, maintain their job satisfaction and motivation at work, and lots more.
Yet a lot of administrative professionals still treat their careers like jobs and don’t reach their potential as an admin or get the satisfaction on the job they deserve. Professionals invest effort in developing their careers – which in this case is that of administrative professional — and they do so ongoing and freely (i.e. nobody makes them do it). If you’re not making professional development and training part of your career plan and path, see if some of these myths are the reason why. At the end of this article, you may find that you’re all out of excuses!
MYTH: Improving my work performance as an administrative professional through professional development and training won’t make me happier at home or in my family life.
TRUTH: That’s absolutely wrong. When you’re not happy at work, you take it home mentally. You think about work. You lose sleep. And if you live with family members or have friends, guess what you spend your time telling them — that they don’t really want to hear. Perhaps they don’t even agree with what you’re telling them in regard to your work and this results in conflict. Are you happy at work? What was the last positive thing about your job you told your family or friends? What was the last negative thing? If you’re “taking work home,” literally or figuratively, you can benefit by professional development and training in skills and competencies useful to administrative professionals.
MYTH: It’s a waste of time to pursue training and professional development in topics I don’t use in my job currently.
TRUTH: Preparing and planning puts you in control of your future and future opportunities. It’s forward thinking. Being “ready, willing, and able” to do new tasks and assignments is a good way to approach job satisfaction and career success. How many jobs, tasks, and assignments have you already been passed over for in your administrative professional career because your bosses (or potential bosses) knew you weren’t skilled in the appropriate areas — so they didn’t even consider you for the job or assignment? Do you know? It’s not likely they even told you; they just bypassed you behind closed doors. Broaden your mindset so you can see the value in continuing education and training. It’s there! Prepare for future scenarios in your administrative role; don’t wait to learn on the job as you go as needed. Be proactive.
MYTH: Being an administrative professional isn’t “rocket science,” so I don’t need to pursue any professional development or training.
TRUTH: Personally, I hate when people use that phrase, especially in that way, because it’s belittling. But since it happens, let me point out the obvi0us: very little work is rocket science – except rocket science. And maybe brain surgeon, engineer, chemist, and a few technical jobs like that. What else is NOT rocket science: management, CEO, communications, marketing, salesperson, president, actor, and so forth.
Don’t believe me? Ask yourself whose work you consider rocket science in your company. Is your boss a rocket scientist? I don’t think so either. What tasks or assignments is he or she doing that you think you could do too? Who do you personally know who is doing earth shattering work in your workplace? You may indeed know and work with some rocket scientists, but chances are you know more people who aren’t practicing rocket science in the workplace. And of those, quite a few are pursuing additional professional development and training throughout their careers because they know it’s beneficial to job development and job performance, job satisfaction, and career growth.
MYTH: I don’t have money to invest in professional development and training.
TRUTH: You don’t WANT to invest in professional development and training and don’t CHOOSE to invest your money there. If you can afford to eat out once or twice a month, you can invest that money instead in your professional development. Two fast food meals a month at $7 each equals $168 dollars you can put toward professional development and training as a start. That’s enough to attend some seminars or workshops or buy books and publications for self-study. What else do you CHOOSE to spend money on that’s not bills for necessary living expenses of shelter, utilities, transportation, health, and food. Do you choose to spend it on makeup, movies, haircuts, new clothes, trips to the mall, bowling, sports events, beer, soda, snacks, home decor items. Don’t lie to yourself if it’s the case that you choose to spend your money elsewhere. Take accountability for your choices in life. Break down where your money goes in terms of wants and needs.
MYTH: I don’t have time to participate in professional development and training.
TRUTH: You CHOOSE to spend your time elsewhere. Professional development and training is available now 24/7 thanks to self-study publication resources, replays of Webinars and teleseminars and live events offered during days and evenings and online courses. You have the same amount of hours in a day and week as everyone else. You’re special but not that special. How do you spend those same hours? Talking on the phone with friends and coworkers? Watching television? Hobbies? If you can’t fit some time into your schedule for learning new things that can help you in the workplace and in your career, it’s because you choose not to do so. Again, don’t lie to yourself if it’s the case that you choose to spend your time doing other things. Take accountability for how you consciously spend your minutes. And if you don’t know, log your activity for two weeks so you can see in black and white. You can even break your time down like I suggested doing with your financial expenditures above: into wants and needs.
MYTH: I can’t participate in professional development and continuing training and education because my company won’t pay for it for administrative professionals.
TRUTH: Companies often WILL pay for it if you ask and do so in the right way. That means know specifically what you’re asking for (which seminar? which type of self-study resources?) and explain how it specifically benefits your boss and company. They call this ROI — Return on Investment. All employers want to know the ROI of any money they invest — including in your salary, wages, or professional development and training.
Also time your request appropriately and ask in a credible manner. Say thanks afterward and show or tell some results you gained that are or will benefit you and your employer. Let your boss and employer know they made a wise decision by investing in increasing your job performance and value to the company.
Furthermore, you don’t have to wait for someone to do it for you – invest in yourself. Raise your self-esteem and stop waiting for other people to set your value and then accepting that it must be what they say it is. Of course, you’re worthy and capable of professional development and training – as is everyone in any job or career. Take care of yourself. Do t for you. Don’t wait for others to take care of you. That’s only for children and dependents to rightfully expect. Invest in yourself. Nobody else is obligated to invest in you. So when they do, go out of your way to express gratitude and show that ROI to employers.
MYTH: My boss doesn’t appreciate it when I do professional development and training and shows no recognition for such accomplishments so it’s a waste of my time to do such.
TRUTH: If you’re doing professional development and training to impress someone – even your boss – then you’re doing it for the wrong reasons. Are you impressed when your boss goes to a class and comes back and tells you about it? Probably not that much if at all in some cases.
Do professional development and training to improve yourself and increase your leverage for future opportunities that might benefit you in whatever way (financially, job satisfaction, stress reduction, easier performance of task, etc.) and to improve your performance in your current role and job (which the latter also happens to benefit your employer). You’re an adult. There won’t always be someone ready and willing to pat you on the back and tell you how much they appreciate you. Value and recognize your own self-worth and accomplishments first and foremost. Outsiders will follow your example of how you see and treat yourself. You invite people to perceive and treat you in certain ways by how you portray yourself. Lift up your self-esteem and invest in yourself. Give yourself that pat on the back now and then and recognize your own accomplishments in the workplace and in life. Appreciate when someone else does this for you but don’t wait on and expect others to do it. Recognize your own self worth and others will follow in doing so.
MYTH: I already know everything I need to know to perform my administrative professional job.
TRUTH: Ever heard the phrase “know it all.” It doesn’t really refer to people who actually “know it all” – just ones who think they do. Come down now off your cloud and tap into some new knowledge resources so you can keep growing in this life and in your workplace. Go out and collect some fresh ideas before you further stagnate. The world is evolving and changing around you while you’re standing still in your full knowledge bank; everything you thought you knew this year will be obsolete in a few years and you’ll know nothing compared to up and coming adminstrative professionals or other coworkers.
MYTH: Other administrative professional colleagues, including in my company, think doing professional development, training, and educational activities is a waste of time. They don’t do it. So I’d be in the minority doing so. In fact, I might be the only one doing it.
TRUTH: Do you really know what everyone else is doing in their own time? Let’s say you do. Then the next logical question would be, “Why do you care what they do or think?” Take care of yourself. Base your decisions from within – not from what others think or might do. If we all minded our own business and took care of ourselves appropriately, things would operate a little bit smoother in this world. Take care of properly developing whose looking back at you in the mirror first so you can be a good contributor in the workplace and society as well as personally and professionally satisfied. And if it does turn out you’re the only one doing any continuous learning in your company, be thankful; you now have distinguished yourself from the pack of average admins in your company. You have the edge!
MYTH: I can find everything I need to know for free on the Web or elsewhere – and what’s not free I don’t need to know. So I don’t need to pay for any professional development and training. Besides, if instructors, trainers and coaches are so keen on developing and teaching people, they should share their knowledge freely instead of just “trying to make a buck” off of me by charging for it.
TRUTH: So you’re saying you base your career and professional development and training totally on hand-outs? You choose to be a freeloader rather than pay training professionals and coaches fairly for their products and services. And you’re proud of that? What’s wrong with that picture? Keep the “professional” in “administrative professional.” Value what other people have to offer and value yourself and your career. Make sure you get paid for the work, time, and knowledge you give in your workplace and likewise pay and respect others appropriately for their work, time, knowledge, products and service. That’s how the world goes round with our bartering system, and it helps the economy too when everyone gives and takes appropriately.
Treat other professionals how you want to be treated. Respect their knowledge and services like you want to be respected for yours. Don’t be known as a freeloader. Be known as a professional.
And if you can find everything you need for free on the Web, consider you might just be spending a little too much time Web surfing. Is there a more efficient way to find the information than browsing the Web for hours at a time? I’m just saying…
There is a lot of good information on the Web (and a lot that looks believable that’s not true or accurate too) but browsing for hours at a time to find information because you don’t want to pay a professional for the information they’ve already collected, vetted, and have ready for you in one convenient location, can become a waste of time. It’s sort of like when your boss’s boss catches him (or her) creating his own PowerPoint presentation. Sure he can do it, but would his time be better spent elsewhere while you, the administrative expert in that area, does that job? Just because you can do something yourself (or think you can), doesn’t mean that’s the most efficient way to spend your time or money. Don’t be cheap if you can get better results by paying a professional to help you.
Every administrative professional is responsible for shaping the overall perception of the administrative field. That includes you. If you’re serious about your job and career, develop yourself personally and professionally ongoing. Be so good at what you do and have so much fun, success, and satisfaction in your job and career that others around you watching think, “Wow, I wish I had her/his job and skills.” Is that happening now? It can. It’s ongoing professional development and training in job skills and career competencies that makes this happen (and implementation of what you learn as it applies to you and your situations). Get professional development resources from The Effective Admin here: Admin Success Store