It is time to say “bye-bye” to 2013 and “hello” to 2014, and for many of us that means New Year’s resolutions. As I was thinking about my resolutions and realized that I’d left off something important. It isn’t exactly a “resolution”, but maybe it should be. So here for all of you…(drumroll please)
Resolution 24. Learn new stuff.
This one is something that I am passionate about, and last year I found a very practical, cost-effective, and career enhancing way to do that. They’re called MOOC’s (Massive Open Online Courses). I’m a bit of a nerd (Just check out Lifelong Goal Achieved! Professional(ish) Student Status…Granted)anyway, so taking classes online, at no cost, and at my own pace isn’t a hardship. I bribe myself with fun classes on personal interests when I finish a practical course that can benefit my career. (Just because I want to know this stuff doesn’t mean that I don’t need a little incentive from time to time.) There are no college credits awarded, but many of these courses have the opportunity for a Certificate of Achievement. This means you did all the work and would have received a grade of 70% or higher for the class.
The platform that I like is Coursera, although I’m sure there are others. They allow you to compile a “watchlist” of courses that you want to take. Maybe you missed it the first go around, maybe you just didn’t have the time to squeeze out of your schedule, whatever the case, you are interested in the class and want to know when you’re next chance to take it will come around. Right now, my “watchlist” includes career enhancers like “Energy 101”, “Foundations of Business Strategy”, “Energy the Environment and Our Future”, “Financial Markets”, and “Understanding Media” for starters. (This is by no means a complete list.) They have everything from engineering courses to “The History of Rock ‘n Roll” (This is a class I will be “bribing” myself with the next time it comes around!)available. As a salesperson, I’m focused on putting together pieces of information about business strategy, media, social psychology, and communication with the information that is being discussed worldwide about energy.
The courses are set up with discussion boards, and your class may have thousands of students from around the globe contributing to the discussion. This is where the goldmine really is, because you don’t only have the professors take on the subject. You get your classmates point of view as well, and you’re not limited to “class time”. Some of the best information I received in a previous business course came from the discussion boards.
Today as I reviewed the news for the energy sector, an article caught my attention. “Best Jobs in Energy 2013“, and I started thinking about career advancement and training. What options are there for people who need additional training and/or education to move to the next level? What if your company doesn’t offer a reimbursement program and your budget is a bit tight for a college level course? Student loans? (If you’re like me, you do not want to go back to that whole rigmarole!) Did the light bulb go off for you? It sure did for me. MOOC’s.
Now, have I tried putting these certificates on a résumé and applying for a new job, well no. I’m more of a “knowledge for knowledge sake” kind of person. Well, and I’m a sales person…having information at my fingertips that helps me do my job better? I’m so in!
What other options can you think of? Do you make New Year’s Resolutions? More importantly, do you keep them? What steps are you taking to advance your career to the next level?
‘Til next time,