Interesting perspective from a former client who is figuring out ways to aid his career transition.
The other day I realized that many of my career and life goals are related to learning. I enjoy learning although how I learn today is very different than how I was educated:
- In kindergarten, it was about exploring and being introduced to new things without much pressure to perform.
- Grade school was about sitting and listening to a teacher drone on and on. I dreaded tests and my motivation was to make it to lunch and recess.
- High school was about tests and getting ready for college. It seemed it was more about getting homework done and doing better on tests than my friends.
- College was hard-core technical knowledge where, it seemed, the goal was to “learn” as many chapters from a text book as we could.
- Graduate school was about trying some things I might like but still very academic. My goal was to get the degree and reap the benefits that employers would bestow upon me because of that degree.
My perspective above is a bit dark but I want to show how much “baggage” came with my education. That baggage distracted me from learning and enjoying learning. Today, learning is different for me because I:
- choose the topics I want to learn
- learn at my own pace
- take on as many subjects as I want
- learn enough to meet my goal
- absorb information through books, websites, audiobooks, mentors and coaches
Formal education is important
There is a big difference between the things I learn today and my formal education: most times my career doesn’t depend on it. You see…
and college affected employment…
and employment affects lifestyle…
and grad school affects lifestyle
Much of my learning today is to give me a few new ideas, help my job or work performance, or give me specific tactics for solving an issue. However, my lifestyle doesn’t depend on these. Thus, I usually learn from websites, inexpensive books, video training, or maybe some conferences.
The two best ways to learn something quickly
Noah Kagan has a similar view of learning and uses coaches extensively. In the same way, if I need to learn something vital – something that will impact my lifestyle and livelihood – then I will acquire a formal education or hire a coach. Formal education is about picking a particular class or set of classes that will give me sufficient education to either take the next step or qualify me in others’ eyes.
A coach is better for learning things that need to be customized to me. A class has the material and agenda already set – it’s the same for everyone. A coach takes their experience and transfers it to you so that you can learn quickly and apply it to your situation.
What’s great today is that many experts out there offer their domain expertise through coaching and coaching has become an affordable – even smart – investment. All kinds of coaching are available: how to choose the right college major, how to connect with your kids, how to sell on eBay, how to organize your life, how to transition to a new career… and so on.
Is there a better investment?
You’ve been investing in education for a long time. Even if you went to public grade school and high school there was still an investment of time and money. I argue that the opportunities for education through training classes and coaches is an even better investment for adults. That’s because, today, education, training and coaching are very specialized and they don’t require you to spend years learning.
The United States has become a knowledge economy and workforce – it’s the expertise in your brain that keeps you employed, helps scale your business and enables you to do what you love. Investing in improving your knowledge is a “no-brainer”. So much of your livelihood is riding on what you know. Don’t think that books, websites, a few conferences and some video training are a sufficient investment to change or sustain your lifestyle. Step up and get the formal education AND coaching you need to make quick changes and maximize your opportunities.
Amy Wolfgang is a career coach who founded Wolfgang Career Coaching and co-founded Coaching 4 Good. She brings over 15 years of corporate and coaching experience to help organizations boost employee engagement while simultaneously helping her clients excel in their careers. She is a certified PCM (Professional Career Manager) and has a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology from The University of Texas at Austin.
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