Reinvention and continuing education: Maps toward career development

PEOPLE spend most of their lifespans in a career to be able to sustain their daily needs. As one is set out into the world to learn its complicated crooks and patterns, one is conditioned by family, school, community and society to understand the ins and outs of the path they will soon tread upon.

As one sets forth on a trip towards self-discovery and career development, it is a common protocol to be enamored with two essential must-haves – reinvention and continuing education.

But first we must understand, what exactly is a career?

Career is commonly associated with two other terms – job and work. All three are usually used interchangeably despite their differences in meaning and application. Work is defined as the domain of life in which people, paid or unpaid, provide labor for an outcome of a service or a good. Job, on one hand, pertains to a specific work position which may be permanent full-time or part-time and in a particular role or organization. On the other hand, career is the sequence or collection of jobs held over an individual’s life, a linear sequence of jobs which have a vertical ‘advancement related’ trajectory.

What is career development?

According to the Career Development Association of Alberta (CDAA), career development is the lifelong process of managing learning, work, leisure, and transitions in order to move toward a personally determined and evolving preferred future. In short, it is about navigating your journey through life and work.

Career development encompasses not just occupation but also the whole person. More than that, it concerns him or her in the ever-changing contexts of his or her life. Every environmental pressures and constraint play an important role in the career progress one makes.

From the bonds that tie them to their significant others to their responsibilities to children and aging parents.  All these add up to the total structure of one’s circumstances. Therefore they are factors that must be understood and taken into consideration.

If the convergence of self and external situations lead to career development, then reinvention and continuing education must be maps that lead us to a well-developed career.

How does reinvention aid in career development?

Reinvention is a process wherein one recreates their image. As applied to career development, it is when an individual tries to reassess their career path and takes on another direction. It usually happens when the person is not satisfied with the career anymore.  Normally, when one spends a lengthy amount of time on a certain career, one finds it difficult to pursue another task. Let alone swerve in a whole different direction.

As part of the reinvention process, it is important to have the courage to explore new things career-wise. May it be something you have not done before or a certain aspect you are afraid to try your way into. Yes, there is a chance you will go through some rough patch. But where else would those chances be gone?

The reward is great when you get past the hesitations. In order to do such, smalls steps must be taken to ensure at least a minimal improvement. Below are some of the ways one can reinvent their careers.

1. Volunteer to work on new projects that are outside of your usual duties.

2. Take part in initiatives that expose you to different aspects of the organization.

3. Communicate well with peers you do not normally interact with on a regular basis.

4. Participating in new projects and teams.

How about continuing education, how does that help?

Continuing education is composed of learning activities that cater directly to the certain specialization one is already employed in. They are typically taught in institutions such as a college or university, city employment agency or corporation specializing in a certain skill. These courses delve more deeply into the specializations that are relevant to your career more than a college course will.

Fundamental skills are also taught in a continuing education. These additional skills augment the degree and major one had finished. Typical continuing education classes vary depending on industry and specialization. Some of the classes include Computer Operating Systems, Microsoft Office, Office Management and Productivity, Adobe Creative Suite and Project Management.

Education classes help advance one’s career and standing in a competitive workplace. More often than not, it is an arena out there where employers would eliminate those who no longer contribute to the progress of the workforce.

Reinvention and continuing education are both helpful ways to aid in career development. People who take the time to engage in such activities would always have something new and innovative to offer on the table. The benefits of reinventing and educating oneself outweigh the struggles and risks that come with the territory. After all, as Arthur Golden once suggested. (AJPress)

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