Archive: Do it Now! — from the Career Opportunities Podcast
Does your company provide you with a 401k plan, tuition reimbursement, free classes or any other perks? Are you taking advantage of it? Why not? The truth is, these perks could disappear tomorrow for any number of reasons. You need to make a move, now, to take full advantage of everything your company offers, otherwise you miss out!.
Despite the fact that many companies offer some form of reimbursement for continuing education, it is often one of the least used perks. Sure, it takes time and commitment to return to the classroom, but if your company is willing to assist you, why wouldn’t you do it? The truth is, many workers get trapped in thoughts of, “I’m too busy.” Too busy to take classes, to do homework, to do anything but my job. This is a self-fulfilling prophecy, though. There is a very good chance that if they took some classes they might just find the tools necessary to do better in their job or move up in their department. Instead, they ignore the opportunity and life goes on as always.
While I am not necessarily a big fan of technical certifications, they become extremely attractive if someone else is paying for them. While they can help you in your current job, they are also skills that you can take to any future job. These are the stepping-stones that can allow you to move up in your current department or start the next step of your career with another company. Instead of spending thousands of dollars of your own money, take advantage of any assistance you can find. Your company will benefit from your new skills and you will be making yourself more marketable for the future.
In the past, I have been able to use company benefits to work one-on-one with well-known professional artists, have lunch with some of the world’s foremost animators, and prepare for my retirement. The opportunities are there waiting for you. Who knows when you might find yourself on the next layoff list, or when you might like to apply for that new opening? You need to be ready for whatever comes your way. You need to do it today, regardless of the hurdles you think you face. If you don’t, I can guarantee that you will be kicking yourself afterwards. I see it happen to workers repeatedly
In a related issue, make sure that you are prepared to take advantage of any work-related opportunities that might come your way. You can never be sure what will happen tomorrow, let alone next year. The examples are nearly endless. I had a close friend miss a working trip to Paris, simply because he had never taken the time to get a passport. He had to sit there and watch another co-worker with less experience go instead. You can bet he got a passport soon afterward, but even so, that opportunity was lost.
A friend of a friend is currently struggling because she didn’t complete certain certifications for her work as a nutritionist. She had some major family issues that required a move back to her hometown. Unfortunately, without these certifications, her job choices are now more limited at a time when she is also struggling to put her life back in order. Again, life can blindside you with crises and changes. Being prepared today can go a long way towards softening the impact of tomorrow.
Finally, as I grow older myself, I see more and more of my peers struggling to develop a retirement plan. It is not that we intend to retire any time soon, but many of us were lax in beginning our retirement savings. I know that I missed out on 2 years of 401k matching funds simply because I didn’t take the time to fill out the paperwork. I know it can be difficult to contemplate such things when you are in your 20’s, but this is exactly when you need to do it.
From your first day of work, until your last, you need to explore and take advantage of every opportunity you are given at your company. Don’t let today’s busyness prevent you from getting that new certification, or even a new college degree. You don’t have to do it all right now. You only need to do whatever you can manage. Before you know it, opportunities can vanish, leaving you only with regrets.