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Part 1: Introduction

Part 1: Introduction

Have you had any of these thoughts lately?

  • What can I do to advance my career?

  • I know I want to stay in this field, but I need a change. What are my options?

  • How can I possibly keep up with what’s happening in my field?

  • Do I have what it takes to transition to human performance improvement?

  • OK, I’ve outgrown this job, now what?

  • How can I capitalize on what I’ve been doing over the past couple years to move my career forward?

  • I think I’m interested in transitioning to a position in training, but I’m not quite sure just what a trainer’s job looks like. How can I find out?

If these and other similar thoughts have been crossing your mind lately, you’ve come to the right place. The first four chapters of this book will give you the important information you need to begin tackling the questions.

In the first chapter of this book we’ll explore the key issues, trends, and workplace realities affecting our field. In chapter 2 we’ll give you a picture of the current areas of practice, including the traditional career options you’re most familiar with and some newer career options you may not have had a chance to explore. In chapter 3 we’ll zero in on these options so you can get a flavor of these positions’ day-to-day roles and responsibilities. Armed with this information you’ll be able to make informed choices about how to steer your career in the days ahead and how to pursue particular options that feel right for you. In chapter 4 we’ll present a Career Opportunities Model that illustrates how you can use all the information you’ve learned to move your career forward.

Throughout these chapters and in the second half of the book, you’ll find wise words and suggestions from experienced practitioners in the field who are continuing to grow and mature as training, HRD, and workplace learning and performance (WLP) professionals.

For example, the words of Richard Chang, CEO of Richard Chang Associates, Inc., and former board chair for ASTD, highlight the importance of understanding the field and your options within it. Here is what he says about business acumen and passion, two key ingredients for success today as a training, HRD, or WLP professional.

On business acumen:

You have to understand the business and the industry and the organization that you’re trying to support first, whether you’re internal or you’re external.

On passion:

It’s important to understand the options within the field and what it is you’re excited about because that is going to bring personal fulfillment for you and enable you to inspire others to learn.

Other professionals in the field with whom we talked echoed Chang’s sentiments with the following advice:

  • Know the business inside and out.

  • Understand what your client’s business needs are.

  • Be an astute businessperson.

If you take the advice of the professionals quoted in this book, have a good grasp of the cutting-edge workplace issues, and understand the latest challenges and opportunities in the training, HRD, and workplace learning and performance field, your career options will multiply, as will your chances for career satisfaction and success.

The time has never been better for you as a professional in the field to capitalize on your experience, education, and perspective to make bold changes in your career. And if you’re transitioning to this exciting arena after years in another field such as teaching, sales, public relations, or engineering, welcome! You, too, will find challenge, opportunity, and success as you contribute the valuable skills and experience you bring with you.

So let’s get started by looking at some important essentials you’ll need to make the career moves you want.



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