Title Card - Optional Usually Means Opportunity

“Optional” Usually Means “Opportunity”

In the workplace, there are usually a set of mandatory courses or items that are required training for your job. Sometimes, your workplace will only give you what you must take and no further, as it takes more effort to put together optional items in addition. But when they do provide optional items, this is the time when you should be paying close attention.

Obviously there will be some workplaces where performance is not the main factor when determining who is to be promoted, but for the ones where ambition and performance matter, showing that you are willing to go above and beyond is very important. Which employee seems more likely to advance: the one who has done the bare minimum, or the one who goes above and beyond without having to be asked?

The answer is clear, and although it seems obvious as I express it here, you would be surprised how many people opt into the easy route in the moment and forget the work hadn’t been completed later. They would then usually be looking for ways to stand out and will have long forgotten about this optional training that could have helped them make a difference.

I also believe that training in general is a very underutilized resource and not enough people take advantage of it. Have you ever looked at a job in your organization and wondered how you could meet some of these outlying qualifications? This is how! Training for the job you want while being in the job you have is an extremely good way of preparing your career. When the time comes for potential advancements, you will have already stocked up your resume with excellent marketable skills to fill those needs.

Take my current work for example. The Canadian federal government often requires a number of different certifications for many of their positions, but French is a big one when it comes to supervisory positions. I am not currently in a supervisor position so English only is currently acceptable, but a certain level of bilingualism is expected in the upper echelons of the government. Therefore, it only makes sense for me to take French language training in preparation of my ambition and career advancement. What about project management? Of course there are courses for that too!

Being prepared for your future isn’t just a nice thing to do, it’s almost the necessary thing to do if you want to move anywhere. Talk with your supervisor, see what options are available and how you can improve yourself and your standing within your organization. Many workplaces are keen to help their employees grow into the best versions of themselves, and the only thing you have to do is ask for it! Training budgets are there for a reason!

My motto has always been this: train for the job you want, not for the job you have.

Do you have goals for your future? Do you have a job that you want to see yourself occupying in the near future? How can you prepare for it?