By Carrie S Ahmad, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

What Have You Done for Me Lately?

Remember the Janet Jackson song, “What Have You Done for Me Lately?” It’s a tune that many of us sing when we think about our professional development. While it is a wonderful benefit when employers invest in the development of their employees, employer-sponsored education and advancement aren’t always available.

Some employers due to their size, finances, and/or pace are unable to provide opportunities for continuing education or career development to their staff. And, in some cases, employers do offer development opportunities, but you may find you are hungry for more than they provide.

So, what do you do? Do you harbor resentment because your employer can’t or won’t invest in you? Do you sulk? You could choose that path, but if you do, you won’t grow professionally, and you will likely stunt your performance, which doesn’t bode well for future promotions or recommendations if you decide to look for a new job.

Invest in Yourself

There is another option. Invest in yourself! Investing in yourself can take many forms and can be virtually free. Some ways to invest in yourself include:

  • Seek out a mentor who is in a role you desire to be in some day.
  • Ask for stretch projects at work that allow you the opportunity to gain new experiences and skills.
  • Join a Meet-Up and network with people in fields/jobs that interest you.
  • Volunteer within an organization that allows you to support a cause you believe in and gain experience leading people and/or projects.
  • Earn a certification to build your credentials as a professional.
  • Earn a bachelors, masters, or doctorate degree.

An investment today can pay dividends in your future career. Remind yourself you are worth it and start signing a new tune, “The world’s going to know your name because you burn with the brightest flame (“Hall of Fame” by Script and Will.I.Am).”

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