For many, money is a powerful motivator. One tool to get more change in your pocket can be found in a not-so-obvious place — professional development. Before dismissing the idea, just give this a quick read and you’ll see how it doesn’t take a giant leap to get from A to Z.
Professional development is defined as skills and knowledge attained for both personal development and career advancement.
Based on this definition, there are two facets to these learning platforms. For personal development, there is an extraordinary amount of knowledge that can be taken away from these opportunities. As military members, we should be at a constant state of learning and PD provides this continuum of education. As with everything in life, you get whatever you put into it and each member should take full advantage of it.
So as I step down from my soapbox, I’d like to focus on the second piece of PD, which is career advancement.
In both the military and civilian workforce, career advancement is very competitive and leadership is always looking for who stands out in the crowd. Professional development assists with this separation by enhancing individual leadership and management skill sets that enable you to efficiently and effectively complete the mission.
In conjunction with our mission effectiveness, we are also evaluated in other areas to include our developmental growth.
Whether you agree or disagree with “the whole person concept,” it is a supervision measurement tool, and it’s not going away.
PD training aids in filling those squares and highlights you as a superstar while increasing your chances for promotion. More stripes equal more money.
Additionally, the reality is we will all put away our uniforms at some point to take on the civilian workforce and résumé building is essential to securing a post-military job. This development does not begin and end with professional military education and local professional enhancement courses. Remember, one aspect of PD is personal growth and knowledge, and this can found through a variety of approaches ranging from college courses to formal study seminars to leadership conferences. Based on an Education Department study in 2010, the average annual salary for those with a bachelor’s degree is $50,000. There was a sizable drop of $17,000 a year for those who had only a high school diploma or equivalent in which they only made a median salary of $33,000. Numbers don’t lie.
Although I could’ve written pages on the importance of professional development to you and your career, hopefully this perspective put a different spin on the subject. The bottom-line is we all should continue to grow both professionally and personally with PD being a key component. So if you value money, I wouldn’t just wait for PD opportunities to come up. I would be actively hunting them down. You can earn the great combination of knowledge and money at the same time.