One of my relatives recently lost his job.
It was his first job. He was there five years.
The separation from the company was a bit of a surprise to him – though in retrospect the signs had been there for months. Maybe he didn’t see the signs; maybe he chose to ignore them.
It’s a small company. Growth had plateaued so the business model had to change. Skills and knowledge that used to be valuable became less valuable. It happens in companies of all sizes.
At the moment, he wonders why he didn’t take the opportunity to learn the things that might have helped him keep a job at this company – the job he had or some other. Whether he should have stayed is another matter. After five years, most people have done what they’re going to do.
But the point is he didn’t create the opportunity for himself. And he could have.
If someone buys the company where you work, if the owner or boss wants to go in a different direction because market conditions or the economy changed, it won’t matter that you didn’t feel like learning the new software or the new role or the new whatever. And it won’t matter that your boss didn’t want to send you somewhere to learn how. You still won’t know. And you’ll be the one who is stuck when they bring in the person with the skill set you could have developed but didn’t.
Every person is in charge of his or her own learning. It’s difficult to force someone to learn what they don’t want to learn. And it’s difficult to stop someone from learning what they do want to learn. But learning does not guarantee immediate success or the job you want.
Taking charge of your learning could mean that you’ve made yourself more valuable for your current employer and you get to stay – maybe you’ll advance. It could mean that you’re ready for something new somewhere else – which means a search. It also could mean that there’s more to learn and more opportunity to learn it because you’re closer to ready than you were before – so you’ll have to be patient and persistent.
Sometimes you can anticipate change; often you can’t. Sometimes it fits your schedule; usually it doesn’t.
While there are no guarantees, taking charge of your learning and creating opportunities for yourself means that you’re likely to be better prepared when change comes.
- Change doesn’t happen on your schedule
- Create opportunities for yourself by taking charge of your learning