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Editor’s Note: This post was originally for Brazeen Careerist, where I am lucky enough to be a guest blogger. If you haven’t checked out the site, I highly recommend it.
After college, you’ll likely never have to write a paper on the inhumanity of man in Don Quixote or solve 50 statistics problems using standard deviation before class the next day. However, you will have to prepare for meetings and presentations.
Learning shouldn’t end when you cross the stage at graduation.
According to a study by the Jenkins Group, “42 percent of college graduates never read another book after college.” (The validity of this study is questionable, but it’s often quoted.) Just because you aren’t going to be graded on how well you know a book, doesn’t mean you should stop reading.
Read books on management, even if you aren’t in management (yet). Read books on other businesses. Read fiction for enjoyment. Every book you read adds to your collective knowledge. Not only are books great conversation starters, but they also can nudge you into make positive changes.
Balance your checkbook. Practice math. You never know when understanding financials can help you make a good decision or keep you from making a bad one.
More than anything else, learning makes you a valuable employee. It sets you apart, makes you a more well-rounded person and keeps your skills sharp.
Every office has that one person who has always done things one way. They begrudgingly accepted email, but that’s it. Change is glacial, if at all. Yet every year, new hires come in with baffling technical skills widening the gap even more.
“Individuals born from 1957 to 1964 held an average of 11 jobs from age 18 to age 44,” according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor. Job hopping is more common now than ever before. If your skill sets haven’t evolved to make you competitive with those fresh out of college, how do you expect to land that next job?
I’m reverting back to the kindergarten rule of “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” Or at least I am really going to try to follow that completely.
A recent conversation I had trying to fix someone’s writing got misinterpreted and the person’s feeling’s got hurt. In retrospect, I could have gone about reading it out loud a little nicer (an editing habit one of my first newspaper editors taught me that I still cling to) and not allowed other people to submit their thoughts. There are about 10 things I could have done differently and handled the situation with more class. I didn’t. Now I feel bad.
Editing is its own form of criticism and I’m still learning how to nicely say, this might have worked for you in the past, but it can be better!
Luckily, the person I offended is extremely professional and knew I was just trying to help, not hurt.