Post by Amy Blais, contributing Women On Business writer
I recently attended a forum hosted by the New York Women’s Agenda, a partner of the WPEO, on a program at the NYU School of Continuing and Professional Studies. The program is focused around women’s leadership and business skill building. While I attended to support the program and learn more about it from an organizational perspective, I took away something entirely different as well. As I listened to the esteemed panel, I found myself distracted by the catalog of courses on my lap. I perused the pages and felt both inspired and overwhelmed by the plethora of opportunities available that I did not know about. I saw a workshop on using Indesign and normally I would have skipped right over it, thinking ‘I’m not a graphic designer.’ I stopped myself this time and thought about how it would help me with an upcoming project I had at work. I was reminded of something we hear our whole lives and often resist; “the best investment you can have is in yourself.”
In this time of job loss, unemployment, and underemployment, we are forced to take a deep breath and brace ourselves for what is to come. This leaves many with questions and feelings of powerlessness; unsure of what the stock market will do, what our clients will decide and whether or not you and your company will survive. However, in today’s economic climate, the time it takes to invest in you will be worth it. This is true whether you are employer or employee, unemployed, stable in your job or unsure of what is to come next.
In a market where there is a deficit of jobs and an abundance of workers, it becomes a test of survival of the fittest. The interpretation of this can vary from person to person and company to company. Take this opportunity to reevaluate your worth and skills set, and enhance your talents while adding a few new ones as well. Figure out which of your abilities and assets are the most coveted in your environment. Identify gaps in resources or expertise, and rather than fear being replaced, make yourself fit that role by putting the work in to make yourself indispensable.
This is the chance to take a look at courses at local colleges and universities to refine your skills. Try learning a new software program to improve your expertise and lend efficiency to future projects. Think of upcoming projects and what might be needed for each. From there, decide what you can learn to add to this project that you may not have been able to do before. For business owners, now is the time to look at what your competition offers that you do not. Consider training managers and team members in a new ability to make your firm more flexible and competitive. Stay on track with your mission, but supplement that with new and creative skills.
Beyond revamping your resume and enhancing the offerings of you or your team, learning is empowering. Acquiring new knowledge and skills will help in building confidence, motivation and will foster creative growth and new ways of thinking. It is an investment you have control over and an opportunity that should be taken advantage of.
Instead of watching those numbers rise and fall daily, instead of moaning every time you open your 401K statement, consider adding a new investment category to your portfolio: YOU.
For more information, visit:
- NYU School of Continuing and Professional Studies: http://www.scps.nyu.edu/
- Adult and Continuing Education CUNY schools: http://web.cuny.edu/academics/academic-programs/con-ed.html
- Continuing Education at SUNY schools: http://www.suny.edu/CommunityColleges/continuingEducation.cfm
- School of Continuing Education at Columbia University: http://www.ce.columbia.edu/about/index.cfm
- Pratt Institute Center for Continuing and Professional Studies: http://prostudies.pratt.edu/