Whistle While You Work: 6 Tips for Learning on the Job
Hey, Fierce Females! Because September is learning month I figured I’d write a little list of ways you can keep learning at work. These are just easy things you can do to make sure you don’t feel stagnant in your career or ways that you can better yourself personally.
Subscribe to newsletters/emails.
Choose a variety of newsletters that are both pertinent to your day job and ones that just generally interest you.
I subscribe to Girlboss and Girls’ Night In – not work-related, but they always have pieces on how to better save money, books you should read, trendy things worth your time, etc. Just a simple way to stay on top of things and keep you learning about new ideas.
I also subscribe to CareerWise and Future Fundraising Now, both work-related and filled with links to articles I would never just find naturally and tips to help me excel in my career.
I also just did a search for fun newsletters and I found Apartment Therapy and NextDraft – I’ve just subscribed, we’ll see what happens…
If you don’t already have a weekly meeting with your boss, set one up.
You learn a lot about your organization if you meet with upper management and have an opportunity to ask questions. Sure, you might not be involved in every project – but the more you know about what’s going on in the organization, the better. If the only time you’re meeting with your boss is when the project has started and they’re finally bringing you on-board, you’re playing catch-up and that’s no good for anyone.
This is also a great time to ask for feedback and make sure the work you’re doing is meeting expectations and you can discover where to make changes that are beneficial to the company.
Ask your co-workers what they’re doing.
I share an office with two people and neither of them is in my department, so they’re always working on other projects. I love to know how I (I’m in marketing & communications at a non-profit) can help them or how we can share some of the work they’re doing with the public. Even if I can’t help them, I now know some of the other things going on. It also means that sometimes they discover a skill I have that they didn’t realize, and I can assist them and learn something new next time.
Go to workshops/training for a day/week.
This might seem obvious, but not everyone thinks that their workplace will pay for this. Ask. There's no harm. Research workshops near you that sound interesting and that could be beneficial to your line of work. Employers should know that these training days are just as much for their benefit as they are yours. It also shows your employer that you want to excel in your role and continue to better yourself.
QNET in Winnipeg is a non-profit that constantly offers training, conferences, seminars and events for all sectors.
Set personal goals.
This week my calendar function on the website was not working the way I needed it to. I set a goal that by the end of 2 days I would have it fixed. I researched and trouble-shot every possible thing I could think of. Nothing worked. I ended up having to email our website designers and ask for help. Perhaps this wasn’t a great example on how to set goals (seeing as I didn’t meet mine), but you often have to give yourself challenges and stretch your skills. Sometimes this works out and you develop something new and sometimes you have something beyond your scope and you have to ask for help – either way, you’ve set a goal and you’re learning.
Learn outside of work.
Take a painting class or research gardening. Yes, your work-life takes up 40+ of your hours every week, but that doesn’t mean you should only learn things related to your job. When you learn outside of work hours I like to believe that you exercise your other brain “muscles,” which really can only help you in the long run. I’ve taken painting and planting workshops and it’s a great chance for you to do something different and get out of your norm.
What are ways you learn at work? Share them in the comments – I’d love to try.