by Jacob Morgan –
There once was a time where everything you needed to know for your career was taught to you by the educational institution you attended and the company you worked for. You would go get your four year bachelors degree in whatever topic and that information would stay with you for a little while, then you would periodically take some additional classes offered through your company. Today by the time you graduate with a four year college degree most of the information you will learn will be outdated and perhaps obsolete. One of the things I hear all the time when interview executives on the future of work podcast is that companies value the ability to learn new things much more than they value job experience or a fancy college degree. This creates an interesting challenge for us, how do we continue to adapt and stay relevant in a world where things change so quickly?
The answer is, we have to take our professional and personal development into our own hands, this must happen inside of our companies and outside of them. We can no longer rely on educational institutions or corporations to give us all the tools and all the training we need to be successful.
Outside of our companies
Take a look at sites like Youtube. We all know someone who learned a new skill simply by watching a video online. Heck, I know people who learned how to repave driveways, knit, cook, and train animals. I always like to use my little bother Josh as an example. He built an entire business for himself doing videography and photography by watching Youtube videos, joining discussions forums, and participating in various communities. Went I went to school at UCSC the cost of getting a degree in film was around $100,000, Josh learned everything he wanted and needed to learn in less than half the time, for free. Now, when he wants to brush up on the latest film techniques he can take a class online for $40 on sites like Udemy, Lynda.com, Coursera, It’s up to all of us to keep tabs on how our professions are changing and if we decide to make a career move it’s up to us to learn the skills to make that move. Whether your a graphic designer learning to use the latest software, a marketer looking to brush up on social media strategies, a writer looking to improve your wordsmithing (not a word), or a musician trying to learn about harmonies, it’s up to you to learn what you need and want to be successful.
Inside of our companies
Education and learning inside of our companies is also becoming democratized. Organizations that are deploying internal social networks enable employees to teach and learn from one another by asking and answering questions, participating in discussions, and joining in conversations and communities. These technologies enable employees to connect with each other and the information they need to get their jobs done anytime, anywhere, and on any device. We all use social media to share content, tap into our networks to crowdsource ideas, or to get help from our communities, now these same things can be done inside of our organizations. Want to know something? Ask your peers! This also means that instead of signing up for a corporate class weeks in advance and flying somewhere to sit in a dimly lit room while someone goes over powerpoint, that we should be able to tap into these same types of educational resources, even if they are outside of our four walls. In fact, the sites I mentioned above have very strong B2B offerings for that exact reason, many organizations are realizing that it’s far better to enable and empower employees to take education and training into their own hands instead of telling them how it should be done.
The world has changed and it’s up to us as individuals (and as companies) to make sure that we can change too. Organizations must enable employees by deploying the right technologies to connect people and by supporting employees and allowing them learn outside of the company. Individuals must get rid of all excuses and understand that they can learn anything they want anytime they want to learn it.