Once upon a time you worked for a company until it was time to retire and in gratitude for your years of service you received a gold watch. It was commonplace to work for the same company and / or in the same position your entire career. Now in this fast pace era of dot.com companies, PDA's, online social networks, and text messaging – the world around us is moving and changing at warp speed. Time is measured in micro seconds instead of hours. Today's employees are faced with a growing need for more knowledge in the workplace due to global economies, sending jobs overseas, advances in technology, layoffs, and the decline of blue collar jobs. The problem is you have been doing the same job a long time, is it too late for you to get onboard or have you miss the bus already?
The great thing it is never too late to change or learn something new. The question is – are you willing to learn new things? You have obviously mastered your current position and now it is time to conquer new skills or transfer old skills to a new position or industry. I know it sounds scary but you can do it. We all have the ability to learn new things and be lifelong learners. If you think about it I'm sure you could think to two things that you have learned this week. Think of your parents or grandparents that have learned how to use "those computers and cell phones" it is never too late to learn a new skill. Do not get left behind get on the bus and go forward.
But I have been doing the same job for a long time – how, what, and where do I find these new skills.
Here are some options:
1. Start with your current company take advantage of in house training programs. These programs could include e-learning, new software application, new manufacturing skills, basic office skills, a foreign language or how to use a computer. The point is to take a chance and see what training is being offered. A company cannot prosper unless it adapts to change. Be a part of the change and adapt by learning new things within the company you work for.
2. Go back to school. It does not matter if you did not complete high school or you have your PhD, you can still learn something new. You can go back to school to learn a new trade, get your GED, get a certificate or diploma, or earn a degree. There are programs especially designed for the adult learner that address the needs of a student that may work fulltime, have kids and other dependents, or has not been in a classroom for many years.
3. Transfer your skills to a new industry. There are resources such as the Department of Labor (federal & state), the US Office of Personnel Management, the Occupational Handbook, and O * NET website (occupational information network – US Department of Labor) that provide helpful tools about job trends and requirements for jobs or industries. Your skills could be used in another industry or with additional training and / or education you could do something new and different.
4. Some industries provided displaced employees with free or low cost re-training, take advantage of this opportunity. There is similar training and educational opportunities offered to you if you are currently collecting unemployment benefits.
Think about it this way – you learned how to ride a bike, how to drive a car, how to surf the internet, how to order your favorite cup of coffee, and the names of your kid's video games – then you can learn anything. Are you willing to learn new things? Of course you are. So just get on the bus it will take you where you need to go. Enjoy the ride and see you when you get there.