Improving yourself
“Formal education may make you a living, but self-improvement will make you a fortune” Self-improvement

You will have got the message by now that businesses are generally not going to train you any further than they need to for you to do your job. You probably also understand that it is your responsibility to develop your path through your work life. It’s self-evident therefore that you should always be looking for ways to improve yourself. But hang on, am I not improving myself by gaining work experience?

Yes you are, but remember that your work experience is only valuable as long as that job exists, and also a lot of work experience is particular to a specific company.

But most people don’t make an effort to self-improve outside the workforce. Only about 10-20% of employees will do a course or something similar that improves their credentials.

Why? Because 80% of workers become comfortable in the day-to-day work activities, and think that their world will never change. A bit like the turkey fed every day, and comes to expect that he will be fed forever. Of course Christmas comes around and – well you know what happens then.

So for new starters the advice is quite clear. Yes, apply yourself fully to your first job, but always remember that ultimately your success depends on you. And don’t confuse promotion through a company’s ranks as self-improvement!

You may have become really good at XYZ activity using the ABC system, but what if your company is the only one doing XYZ? What if XYZ activity is replaced by technology? What if the ABC system is only used in your company? What if the ABC system is replaced by the DEF system? These things do happen, and you need to

be prepared by improving yourself.


Types of self-improvement

The great thing about being a new starter is that self-improvement is limited only by your ambition and drive.

The most extreme example of this that I experienced was a young engineer who after qualifying, decided he wanted to be an optometrist. So after a few years in engineering he started doing optometry through evening classes, and did as much optometry study as possible while still working as an engineer before switching careers completely.

However, for most people self-improvement will not be as radical. It will generally be adding skills in the same general area you are currently in.

You may for example be an office secretary and go off to learn about accountancy through vocational training, or if you are a young storeman and want to learn about logistics, go off and do some study in

your spare time.