This week at work has been full of professional development events, and it’s got me thinking. In some ways it was like I was back in classes or required seminars and workshops, but it’s been interesting to approach them from an employee rather than a student angle. The topics were broad and varied, and there was something to take away from all of them.
Tuesday I listened to two talks, one on social media and another on gadgets and gizmos. Social media is not a new thing to me, but new facets of social media are important now that I have a full-time “real” job. It was a brief overview of ways my department might use social media, how other departments in the organization are already approaching it, and how they might use it in the future. The gadgets talk was great because I have a love/hate relationship with technology. I don’t own a smart phone, and have yet to convince myself I need one. Or really even want one. In my mind there is a fine line between the usefulness of technology, the necessity, and the possibility for distraction. I don’t want my technology to detract from my real life, and I try to be very careful about controlling my use of it; however, there are some really exciting and highly useful applications and electronics I now need to look into.
The rest of the week has been more academic. I listened yesterday to a talk about the importance of being adaptable and flexible in my work environment and an exploration of authority. Today’s lesson was about higher education law, and I will admit it was much more interesting than I had anticipated.
I have spent significantly less time in my office this week, but overall I think it’s been worthwhile and productive to attend all these sessions. The relevance of the talks was varied, but ultimately there was something to take away from all of them. The things that might not apply to my current job will probably come in handy later, either in my personal or professional life. The biggest thing that struck me was how nice it is to continue learning. Like classes, some of these things I was required to attend even though I have little to no interest in the subject; however, I like having someone force me outside my comfort zone and make me learn things I wouldn’t seek out on my own volition. It diversifies my knowledge, and I’m better for it. I admit this now, but I might deny it in the future because nobody likes to be required to learn.
The best part about all of this: In school I was paying to be required to go to workshops like these. Now they pay me to go! It’s hard to complain about free learning.