In a perfect world, we’d all have that dream job we love with an employer who continually invests in us in ways that help us grow as people and in our careers. However, that is not always the case. There’s nothing wrong with taking a job as a stepping-stone to your future ambitions when you need the experience and have bills to pay.
But, sooner or later, you may feel stunted in your growth or realize that your field has passed you by while you were stuck at a company that didn’t keep up. And even if you do currently have the perfect job situation, investing in self-development while you are killing it for your employer is always a good idea.
1. Sign Up for Online Classes
There are so many online classes out there these days that you learn almost anything. This is a great way to brush up on your skills, get professional certifications, or even learn new skills. Personal development courses are a great place to start, you can move on to other subjects from there. Learn something just for the fun of it or think about where you see yourself in 10 years and choose a skill you need to get your dream job.
2. Grow a Side Hustle
A side hustle can not only bring in extra cash, but it can also help you develop your skills. I know it’s not easy to find spare time to follow your passion when you are working 40 hours or more a week. But it’s so worth it. Not only will you be feeding your creative side, but you’ll also be making contacts for when your side hustle becomes your business.
3. Join a Professional Networking Organization
Maybe you are working in your chosen field but want to move forward in your career. Join a professional organization. By joining a professional organization, you will make contacts that you can use later. You may even find side gigs or a new job through these contacts. Grow your network before you decide to leave a job, these types of connections can’t be developed overnight.
4. Take on Tasks That No One Else Wants
There’re always things you can learn at your current job that you will use in the next stage of your career. This is especially valuable when working in a small company or startup. For example, where I worked, we got a new software system that was difficult to learn. I became a superuser so I could teach others how to use it. This required that I learn a little bit of HTML code, which helped in my next job where I sometimes need to adjust minor coding issues on WordPress sites. I’m not a coding expert – yet – but who knows.
5. Try to Save Some Money
Common wisdom says you shouldn’t leave your job until you have a new one. But you never know what will happen. So, if you can, start saving some money. This will give you more freedom to pursue what you want down the road. You may have to take on side gigs to do this, but if they help you grow your skill and put a little extra cash in your savings account, it’s a win-win.
If you want to invest in yourself, do it now. Don’t get so engrossed in your work that you fail to see how everything is shifting around you.