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Don’t ask the same question twice — from the Career Opportunities Podcast [Audio]

November 18th, 2019 Comments off

Don’t ask the same question twice — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

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If you want to truly endear yourself to your family, your co-workers, your boss, you business partners, your investors, everyone — endeavor to never ask the same question twice. When you ask a question of anyone, no matter who, make sure you capture the answer to that question for future reference. Even if you think you might never need that answer again, write it down. The fact is, you never know when or if a question is going to pop up again, so always err on the safer side and take notes so you never have to ask that question again.

Read Don’t ask the same question twice — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

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Do you remember how unique you once were? from the Career Opportunities Podcast

October 16th, 2017 Comments off

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Take a moment to look around you while you read this column or listen to the podcast. Take in all your surroundings. Notice the clothes you wear, the furniture in your office, the books on your bookshelves. Look at the art on your walls, the DVDs near your player. Now, consider what all this says about you. Do all these things represent a unique individual or could this be the home or office of the mythical “Everyman”? Do these items present you as someone special or yet another cog in the world’s machinery?

The fact is, the nature of the modern advertising world and the nature of our corporate work within that world is to make us all like those around us. Where we once started out with all sorts of unique points and edges and curves, the world slowly grinds these off, often leaving us as round and smooth as everyone around us. There was a time, though, when we truly saw ourselves as unique individuals in the world. Long before kindergarten, peer pressure, high school, job interviews, and years of work, we once reveled in our individuality, our uniqueness. There was no other Doug, Rosanne, Jenny, Tracy or Jennifer quite like us.

Read this entire article – Do you remember how unique you once were?

 


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Podcasting, YouTube and Live streaming from Two Challenges in Building Your Career [Audio] (0:52)

April 11th, 2016 Comments off

A Clip from Two Challenges in Building the Career You Deserve with Douglas E. Welch. 

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Podcasting, YouTube and Live streaming from Two Challenges in Building Your Career

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Douglas E. Welch (http://douglasewelch.com) presents to the class Career Development – Theories and Techniques at Pepperdine Graduate School of Education & Psychology taught by fellow CareerCamp Co-Chair, Danielle Gruen

The two biggest challenges are deciding what you want to do as a career and then building the career you deserve once you decide.

I discuss the Career Compass method of discovering your career wants, needs and desires and then using various social media tools to show people “What you do and how well you do it”

Transcript:

Last year, podcasting has exploded — with The Serial podcast and all these other — for whatever reason it has suddenly hit its moment. And so, I am recommending to people — if you have and interest in that — if you have have an interest either an audio podcast or a video podcast. Most of my gardening podcasts are video podcasts, which I also post to YouTube and elsewhere. If you have an interest in that, pursue it. It’s not as scary as it once was and it’s not as technically fraught as it once was. Literally, with your phone now, there’s the YouTube Capture app. I can send — record a video and post it to YouTube directly from my phone. Last week, as South by Southwest, and app came out called Meerkat which is basically, bring it up, click this, click that, I’m live streaming right now. Boom. And we’re live streaming on the Internet. It automatically got tweeted out and people can start to watch right now.

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Podcasting, YouTube and Live streaming from Two Challenges in Building Your Career [Video] (0:52)

April 11th, 2016 Comments off

A Clip from Two Challenges in Building the Career You Deserve with Douglas E. Welch. 

Watch the entire presentation.

Podcasting, YouTube and Live streaming from Two Challenges in Building Your Career

 

Douglas E. Welch (http://douglasewelch.com) presents to the class Career Development – Theories and Techniques at Pepperdine Graduate School of Education & Psychology taught by fellow CareerCamp Co-Chair, Danielle Gruen

The two biggest challenges are deciding what you want to do as a career and then building the career you deserve once you decide.

I discuss the Career Compass method of discovering your career wants, needs and desires and then using various social media tools to show people “What you do and how well you do it”

Transcript:

Last year, podcasting has exploded — with The Serial podcast and all these other — for whatever reason it has suddenly hit its moment. And so, I am recommending to people — if you have and interest in that — if you have have an interest either an audio podcast or a video podcast. Most of my gardening podcasts are video podcasts, which I also post to YouTube and elsewhere. If you have an interest in that, pursue it. It’s not as scary as it once was and it’s not as technically fraught as it once was. Literally, with your phone now, there’s the YouTube Capture app. I can send — record a video and post it to YouTube directly from my phone. Last week, as South by Southwest, and app came out called Meerkat which is basically, bring it up, click this, click that, I’m live streaming right now. Boom. And we’re live streaming on the Internet. It automatically got tweeted out and people can start to watch right now.

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Archive: Our passions — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

October 24th, 2014 Comments off

Our Passions

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From the Career Opportunities Archives…

Two weekends ago I attended the latest incarnation of BarCampLA. This unconference has become one of the highlights of my year as I get to “confer, converse and otherwise hobnob with my fellow wizards!” For a more detailed overview of what BarCamp is, you can visit the web site at http://barcampla.org. While that will give you a somewhat technical definition of BarCamp, for me is it a weekend devoted to passions. Passions about life, work and the world at large. 

Read this entire column – Our Passions

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Always in transition — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

July 7th, 2014 Comments off

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I frequently find myself speaking to careerists who are in transition from one job to another or one career to another. I have also been involved in my own career transition over the last year or so. While we all might like to think that transition is a short term process, I have discovered, looking back over the past year and my whole life, that transition is not a fleeting process we fall into and out of. Rather, life is truly nothing but one long transition — a state of constant flux. We might have dreams and desires for stability, but in a world that is constantly changing, stability is only an illusion and a temporary one at that.


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When you first realize the you are always in transition, it can seem a bit frightening. It can feel like you are the mercy of the time and tides, being buffeted about without any ability to control what is happening around you. You do have some control, though, but it requires that you pay deep attention to the your life, your thoughts and your actions. Yes, if you let the world push you around, it will gladly (and easily) do so. If you, instead, take your life directly into your own hands, you can ride the waves of change and transition in ways that best benefit you.

In many ways, I think that humans have been living their lives with the wrong goals for several centuries now. The history of Man has been a constant striving for stability, for safety. While this may have served us well in the days of hungry predators stalking our camps and deadly diseases running rampant through the land, I think think it serves us less well now. While there are some people in the world that still lack the basic necessities of life, for most of us, the days of starvation, disease and early death are gone. Our basic needs are met. Given this basic stability of life and limb, we now need to look outwards towards the new, the different, the change, the transitions in our lives and embrace them

So many people bemoan the boredom of their work and life today and I think this comes from an overabundance of stability into their lives. They probably fought long and hard to make enough money, buy that large house, the fancy car, but now, having focused exclusively on stability, they don’t know what to do next. Fear of change and fear of transition has ruled their life to such a point that they are stuck in place, stalled by their own success. We all need to learn that once basic stability is established, it is time to embrace a little risk, a little fear, a little change, in order to continue growing both personally and professionally.

The hard truth is, stability is a fragile state. Just because you have it today, doesn’t mean you will have it tomorrow…or the next day. Our lives can be turned upside down overnight and if you have let your transitional skills atrophy through disuse, you will find it even harder to adapt to change in the future. We have all seen people who are nearly destroyed when their carefully ordered life falls apart. They have been comfortable for so long that, not only do they not want to uncomfortable, they have forgotten HOW to be uncomfortable, how to transition, how to recover.

Challenges will come in your life, unwanted, unbeckoned and unforeseen. You can better deal with these challenges by remembering that transition is a constant in our lives. If we see ourselves as being in a constant state of transition, we are better able to weather the storms that break upon us. We are able to roll with the waves of change rather than letting them swamp us, capsize us and drive us under.

No matter how stable, or unstable, your life is today, I think a change of attitude is in order. I know I have had to adjust my own thinking of late. We need to see transition and change as a force for good in our lives, not evil. Change isn’t something to be avoided, but rather cultivated, engaged and used as a tool to improve our lives. Rather than seeking out stability as a end goal in itself, we need look to the edges, the transitions and see what marvellous new lives we can create there. As I wrote last week, the most exciting events in our lives don’t happen in the stable middle. They happen at those crazy edges, the fringes, where different ideas and actions rub up against one another. If we truly want to improves our lives and careers, we need to be looking there.

***

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Creating Opportunity — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

January 7th, 2014 Comments off

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In this Year of Opportunity, one of your biggest goals should be create opportunity around you. It may sound odd, but yes, you have the ability to create your own opportunities through your own, direct actions. Creating opportunity requires some work your part, but the results should be more than worth it. Take some of that energy you have spent searching for a job and start searching for — and creating — your own opportunities this year.


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Know and become known

The most important part of creating opportunity is to know others and to make yourself known to others. Opportunities come from the people you know, both individually and as part of various groups. It only makes sense that the more people you know the more opportunities you will be exposed to. Too many of us cocoon ourselves away from the world, refusing to interact with others because we feel inadequate, unaccomplished or just plain scared. You must break out of this. You are a unique, capable, interesting individual and you deserve to know and interact with others and they you. Insecurity can trap you in a hole of your own making and actively prevent you from climbing out.

This week, I want you to take some direct action to re-connect and know others. Meet with a friend or family member. Find a new interesting meetup in your area, no matter what the topic, Give yourself permission to explore and re-engage with the world. After my own year of transition, I am having to do the same myself. Sometimes I have to nearly force myself out the door, but I always feel better for having made the effort. Even more, I always benefit from the effort in some way. Each new person I meet, each old friend I reconnect with, is another step towards creating new opportunities.

As well as knowing others, you must also seek to be known. You must share your expertise, your thoughts, your ideas, your feelings with those around you. Sharing develops deep connections with others as it often helps to solve a problem they might have. If you want to truly become a friend with someone, solve a problem for them. Nothing creates a deeper bond immediately and over time. Start blogging. Start sharing great tips and links on Facebook or wherever you prefer to spend your social media time. If you are a musician, find a place to play your music in public — for pay or not. If you are an architect, share your dream designs so that others can be inspired. If you are a caregiver, share your experiences so others can benefit and feel that they are not alone in their challenges. We all have something to share that can help those around us, if we only share it. Be known by your good deeds, your great information, your caring and your conversation.

Stop and consider your opportunities

Many times we let opportunities slip through our fingers without ever considering them opportunities at all. In this world of rush, rush, rush, it becomes even more important to stop and consider opportunities when they occur. If you don’t stop, other thoughts, other actions, other concerns will quickly push them aside and you will lose them.

The next time you think, “Hey, that’s a great idea!”, stop and write it down, note it on your smartphone, scribble it on a napkin, write it on your palm. Do whatever it takes to capture that idea for later consideration. Not every idea will turn into an opportunity, but a certain percentage will — a certain percentage that would have been lost had you not stopped to consider and capture it.

When you start doing this — capturing your ideas and thoughts, you will be amazed by two things. One, you will be amazed at how much information (and opportunity) you have been ignoring in your life and two, you will be amazed by how interesting your life can be, if you only take a moment to notice it. When you are struggling with challenges in your life and career, it can feel like nothing is important anymore. Capturing your ideas and thoughts can help to snap you out of the stupor you might find yourself in and get you back on the track to productivity.

It is a New Year and a new year requires new attitudes, new actions, new approaches to building the career you deserve. This is truly a Year of Opportunity (as every year really is) but we need to recognize that fact and put in some effort to make it the best year possible. Don’t let the past stop you from pursuing the future. Now get out there and start creating opportunity for yourself!

***

Archive: Bad reputations follow you everywhere — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

January 3rd, 2014 Comments off

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All it takes is one indiscretion, one moment of anger, to brand you with a bad reputation. Even worse, once people develop an opinion of you as a troublemaker, they may see issues where none really exist. Sometimes, we can damage our own reputation so badly that other’s expect us to be a problem. This was brought home to me again, as I watched my son’s latest Little League game.

The story goes back about 2 weeks. During another baseball game, the coaches and managers of one team had words with the coaches and parents of our team over the style of play they encouraged. The umpire (I can never imagine trying to do that job) had to sort things out, but the damage was already done. Complaints were filed with the league about one particular coach. As usual, word of this incident got around among the other teams and, most importantly, the other umpires.

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Fast forward to this week, when my son’s team faced this same coach. Sitting in the stands, I overheard the umpire’s instructions to the coaches and thought they seemed adversarial right from the start. Hmm. Had this umpire heard about the previous incident? Around the second inning of the game, I notice that the opposing coach had been removed from the game and was loudly complaining to league officials in the parking lot. I wondered what had happened, as I hadn’t seen anything overt.

As far as I can tell, the umpire for this game had heard about the previous incident and was determined to avoid any sort of repeat occurrence. In that light, he was looking for even the slightest infraction and then took advantage of that to resolve the problem as quickly as possible. Was this fair? I don’t really know, as I don’t know what precipitated the coach’s removal, but it points up the problem with how quickly developing any sort of bad reputation can effect your work.

The same thing can happen to you in your work and career. Once people have developed an opinion about you, it can color every other interaction. If you complain once, you might be branded as the complainer in the company. Slack off once and you are the slacker. It is horribly unfair, but it occurs every day. In order to deal with the speed at which life comes at us, we often fall back on making assumptions, snap judgments and stereotypes. This coping mechanism serves no one well, though. We can be labeled unfairly and we can also label others unfairly. This then leads to further complications, which can derail personal relationships and leave us wondering where it all went wrong.

Develop a reputation for one trait and it will dog you for a long time, just as it did this coach. Those around you will expect you to act in a certain way and each time you do, it will only confirm their judgment further. Over time you can dig yourself a very deep hole.

So, how do you combat this “pigeonhole” effect? You must start with the very first occurrence. If you feel that you are starting to develop a bad reputation in a particular area, you must address it immediately. Had this coach talked with previous umpires and coaches and tried to find an amicable understanding the first time, he might not have had to face this second confrontation. Instead, those around him simply assumed that he would continue to act as he had in the past.

Next, this coach also had to turn around these expectations by going out of his way to act in exactly the opposite fashion. For example, if you are seen as “the complainer”, “the hothead” or “the slacker,” you have to do everything in your power to counteract these opinions. In some cases you may simply have to “bite your tongue” in public and address issues in private with individuals. If you get angry during a meeting, you will have to spend weeks NOT getting angry. Changing perceptions is extremely difficult so you have to work at least twice as hard to change them as you did to develop these perceptions.

Think of Ebenezer Scrooge in Dicken’s A Christmas Carol. He didn’t get just a little bit better, he changed completely. To quote, “He was better than his word. He did it all and infinitely more.” The best career advice is to always work to build the best reputation possible and, if you stumble, immediately correct your actions so you aren’t saddled with a bad reputation that can limit your effectiveness in your job and your career.

***

Audio: Organization: The 7 Skills of a Successful Careerist — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

October 2nd, 2013 Comments off

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Read and Listen to the Introduction to this series, The 7 Skills of a Successful Careerist.

When most of us think about organization, we think about calendars, address books and to-do lists, but organization, as it relates to your life and career, is so much more. We all know  from personal experience how unorganized people and companies can make our lives much more difficult than it need be – sometimes to the point of chaos. Why would we wish to inflict this on others ourselves? If you want to have a successful career, you must become organized – at least in some basic way. Thankfully, and despite what you might think, it’s relatively easy to be organized. Even more, the slightest bit of organization, will help you to stand out among those who haven’t yet learned that lesson. Organization can be an excellent way to build a very successful career.


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The first step in getting organized — and staying organized — is to CAPTURE EVERYTHING. Too often – in work and life – we simply ignore or forget when we are given the events, action items, and creative ideas that need to be accomplished. There’s no way you can hope to smoothly make your way through life, if you don’t remember what needs to be done and when. Yet again though, through personal experience, we know that people do this every day. Instead of organizing themselves, they rely on others to constantly remind them what they should be doing.

Capturing everything doesn’t require any technology more expensive than paper and pencil. Sure technology can help you capture and manage more information, more easily, but the basic factor in organization is a change in behavior, not the addition of more technology. Developing an understanding of organization and the methods involved will allow you to use whatever is available. Here are 3 basic concepts to get you started on the road to organization.

To begin, there are three capture “triggers” that you must learn to identify and act on the moment they occur. Sure, you will eventually need, and want, to collect even more trigger items, but these 3 are the most basic and important.
Dates and Times – Put them in your calendar

Even in our modern and technologically advanced world, our lives still follow the calendar of days, weeks, months and years. Each season still brings common activities and themes in our work. Just as we pay attention to the movement from Fall to Winter or Winter to Spring, we need to pay close attention to the events that pass through our calendars.

Whenever you are given a date or time for an event, stop – immediately – and capture it. It doesn’t matter if the date is specific or vague, near or far, large or small. Dates are important markers in our lives and in some ways they allow us to see into the future, knowing what must be done and when. The simple act of capturing these events allows us to prepare and plan.

Capturing events in your calendar also directly sends a message to those around you. If you are speaking with someone and you stop for a moment to put that date in your datebook, calendar, wherever, you are demonstrating to those around you that you are committed to being organized.Your simple action of writing it down, or entering it into your phone, sends a clear and loud message — “I Care!”
Don’t worry if the date is vague, or might change in the future. Put it in anyway. You could always move it, if it changes. It is far more important to capture all the events, rather than trying to sort out which ones are useful or not.

Next, when you’re given a prepared calendar for a school, company or organization, take a few moments to enter in any and all dates that are of interest or importance to you, your family or your company. This might include days off from school, holidays, teacher meetings, business conferences, ends of fiscal years, tax filing deadlines, etc. If it’s a date — and has any meaning or interest to you — capture it.
As a parent, I find this step particularly important. It can be hard to juggle multiple calendar when both parents work and high school age children begin to have their own unique calendar. Pickup must be arranged. Practices for theater and sports teams must be considered, along with homework, tests and other events. Capturing the bulk of those events at the beginning of the year can make your entire year run much more smoothly.

While capturing these items is a starting point, there is an advanced method you can include once the basics are working. Whenever you enter an event, take a moment to think about what needs to be done to prepare for that event and then capture those date and put them into your calendar as well. If you need to make cookies for a bake sale, or create an end-of-quarter presentation, add an event 1-2 weeks ahead to remind you to prepare.

Action items

After dates and events, the next important capture trigger are the “action items” that make up your life. These action items can be given to you by others, driven by your calendar items, or action items you give yourself. Just as with calendar items, you need to capture these items immediately, so that nothing falls in the “cracks” of your work and life.

As with calendar events, when you are having a discussion with someone, listen for action item triggers and capture them as they occur. If you hear the words “I need” or “I want”, it should immediately send you into capture mode. Those around us often give clear indications of what they want and need us to do, but if we fail to capture them, it is as if they were never said at all. This can lead to large disagreements both in life and work. Capturing these action items can go a long way towards smoothing and speeding communication with those around you.

You can capture action items in a simple list, organize them by project or category, or in whatever way makes the most sense for you personally. It’s far more important for you to capture them, then the methods you use to capture them. That said, capturing action items in one place is best. This can be a notebook, paper journal, phone or computer, but I would advise against scattering them across a bunch of sticky notes or scraps of paper. In that form, they are far too easy to misplace and make it difficult to review these items when needed.

Thoughts and Ideas

The final capture trigger in this basic organizational strategy is your own thoughts and ideas. We all have thousands of ideas and thoughts each day and yet, if you don’t capture these ideas — good, bad or indifferent – most will be lost forever. These ideas could be the basis for dramatic changes in your life and career and — in some ways — failing to capture them is like throwing away money. Your ideas are important and deserve to be captured. They are the fuel that drives your work and career. You can never tell what ideas might be useful or important in the future, so your job is to capture as many as possible and review them on a regular basis.

Rinse, Repeat and Review

That review, of course, is the final piece of this organizational strategy. You will find that calendar items, action items and your own ideas will naturally generate even more items that need to be captured. It will become a never-ending cycle of organization and productivity. The simple act of capturing these items, puts milestones along the road of your life. You can’t help to grow and improve in your work and life, because the simple act of capturing these items will constantly remind you what needs to be done and when it needs to be done.This basic and easy-to-use organizational strategy lays an excellent foundation for building the career you deserve.

***

Make your own Career Classroom — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

September 16th, 2013 Comments off

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The explosion of educational MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) seems to indicate a large, renewed interest in nontraditional educational opportunities. People are looking for new opportunities to learn when and where they can. While there are a tremendous amount of large MOOCs available, and you should be investigating them, this trend has also sparked my own thinking about smaller, self-directed learning opportunities. You don’t always have to rely on someone else to create your learning opportunities, like traditional schools and universities. You, along with a small group of friends, family, or coworkers can create your own time and place to learn together. In some ways, I think that these smaller groups can help you learn more deeply, in a more intimate learning environment, than any MOOC possibly could.


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What do you want to learn?

Your first task in developing your own Career Classroom is to think deeply about what you want and need to learn. This can literally be anything. Let your thinking roam. I believe that no matter what learning we do outside our jobs, it directly affects our career in some way. How could it not in a world where our lives and careers are so intertwined. Your new learning might be directly applicable to your career, like new computer skills or learning more about business and finance, or it could be supposedly non-business-related education such as art history or learning to play the guitar. Whatever you learn becomes part of you and you can never tell just how you might apply your new knowledge, so don’t limit yourself when thinking about your educational topics.

One of the best reasons for pursuing self-directed education though, is that it’s personalized to you. You get to decide what interests you most and then pursue it. You aren’t beholden to a specific college curriculum, specific topics or specific subject area. You are free to choose what you want and need most. What would you like to learn, if you gave yourself the time and permission to learn it?

Find like-minded people

Once you have your short list of educational topics, start looking for like-minded people to join you on your educational journey. Who do you know that is also interested in similar topics? Who else is looking for a way to expand their life and career? Reach out to everyone around you. You can never tell who secretly might be yearning for a way to learn something new. That quiet co-worker who diligently does their job might want to be the next great novelist. You can never tell, so you have to ask.

Once you have a topic and a small group of people to join you in your virtual career classroom, you will need to develop a plan for how you will learn together. Even though I am a huge believer in the power of technology, I believe that your career classroom should consist of both virtual and face-to-face elements. Use the Internet to share information and discuss the topic but, if you can, reserve an hour a week to meet in person to discuss your topic, too. Of course, this face-to-face time can be handled virtually and online, too. I am finding that Google Hangouts can be an excellent analogue for a face-to-face meeting, if you can’t get together in person.

The reason for this discussion time is that I often find the some of the most important learning happens during conversations rather than just through reading materials or watching presentations. Discussions almost always trigger new questions, new thoughts and, hopefully, new answers to go with them. Even when complete answers are lacking, though, conversations will turn up areas of your topic that require more research and lead even deeper into your subject and your learning.

You might be thinking to yourself, “but how can I learn without a knowledgeable teacher to lead me and give me the information I need?” For me, the best educational experiences come from when I learn something myself rather than having someone simply “download” their knowledge to me. Information in today’s world is much more open and available than any other time in our history. In your Career Classroom, you’ll have a host of information to “teach” yourself and your Career Classroom partners. Instead of having just one teacher, you’ll have, potentially thousands, all available at your fingertips.

Every student a teacher

One important lesson to take away from your self-directed educational adventures is that each person in your group is not only a student, but a teacher as well. I firmly believe that we learn best by teaching others, so that should be an integral part of your career classroom, too. As a matter of course, when another group members comes across an important piece of information on your topic, it is their job to teach it to everyone else in the group. In teaching this information, they will not only share it with you, but learn it even more deeply themselves.

Thinking “big” about your continued career education can be important, but don’t neglect the small, the focused, the personalized education, you can do for yourself and with small groups of friends, family and coworkers. We are often the best judge in knowing what we want and need to learn and focused, self-directed education can be one great way of learning it. Think about what you want and need to learn, then find others who want to learn, too. Together you can support each other on your educational journey and also become both student and teacher as the need arises. I think you’ll find that learning together using these self-directed methods could be a great way of building the career you deserve.

***

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