Peer Mentor Network

Friday, June 23, 2006

Proactive Career Development

We've had significant discussion here before about how much of your development you own. I've mentioned things like "you own your development" and "be your own advocate". While it is important that your company supports employee development and provides you with useful tools, don't expect them to do all the work for you. I recently found a presentation from my company that quantifies this concept. Keep in mind, these are just guidelines for development opportunities:

  • 75% Learning On The Job (performing your day-to-day tasks and building job-specific skills)
  • 20% Learning From Others (peer groups, role models, mentoring, career planning)
  • 5% Learning From Education (formal training, books, conferences/seminars, tuition reimbursed degree programs)
According to this presentation, research shows that people learn more through experience than classroom education. Personally, I think learning styles vary between individuals, but that's not important. What's important here is that my company is telling me what their priorities are. Formal education doesn't appear to be high on that list, so if I am serious about wanting to go to the XYZ seminar, the onus is on me to seek out those opportunities - I can't expect my manager to take the initiative to send me there. Obviously, my company places a much higher value on learning on the job. To support this position, they offer cross-functional assignments, job rotations, and special projects.

Think about what signals your organization is sending you. Do they actively promote certain methods of development over others? Find out what their priorities are and how well they align with yours. Only then will you have a better understanding of how proactive you need to be. Most importantly, take full advantage of the tools that your company offers! Enjoy your weekend everyone.


  • How long have we all been on vacation? Rough gap between posts.

    Anyhow, well done on this (almost ancient) post hops. It goes back to the point of hand holding and the fact that it won't happen any more, nor should we want that kind of attention. It is now our job as young professionals to take the initiative and I'm grateful for that kind of control.

    By Anonymous big league, at Tuesday, August 08, 2006  

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