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Part 2: Introduction

Part 2: Introduction

From part 1 you received a sense of what the future holds for the training, HRD, and workplace learning and performance field and of the challenges that the future holds for you and your career. Our discussion of the present status of the profession and the outlook for tomorrow stressed the exciting and stimulating times that are ahead for practitioners. We also looked at the many job opportunities now available.

So it’s more important than ever to manage your career and keep control over its direction, journey, interim stops, and ultimate destination. You may feel, in the face of hurdles, responsibilities, and immediate needs, that you have no choice but to make concessions about your ideal work conditions or to remain in a job-that-pays-the-bills situation. But you always have choices. It’s up to you whether you feel confident and motivated enough to choose your best alternative or prefer to settle for what is the easiest or less risky option.

In part 2 we offer you career management guidelines and exercises for the kind of effective decision making that leads to professional fulfillment and achievement. Given the issues and realities of today’s workplace and the continual impact of technology on competencies and knowledge, career management is a survival skill that you cannot afford to ignore. At this point you may have more questions than answers:

  • As I move from one position to another, what can I do to adapt quickly and efficiently?

  • I don’t want merely to survive my work life. How can I experience success in my work?

  • What are my options to keep my professional expertise up to date?

  • Is volunteering a way to gain some needed experience and visibility?

  • I have a picture of my dream work situation. What can I do to make this a reality?

  • My job search and marketing skills are rusty. What are some of the latest job-hunting practices and strategies?

You’ll find practical and essential elements of career management in the next five chapters. Knowing how to plan and strategize is key to being prepared and in control of your professional life. You may need to redefine your professional image—who you are as a training, HRD, or workplace learning and performance specialist. You may need further education. Or perhaps you have some time to volunteer within your professional chapter and you need to decide what type of activity will benefit you most. No matter what your next career move or professional shift, your decision should be based on information, options, and resources that best meet your needs and allow you to proceed efficiently and effectively.

You are responsible for your professional life as well as your personal life, and sometimes the two conflict. But you also are empowered to integrate and harmonize the various facets of your life. In this section of the book we’ll introduce you to some basic elements of good career management and provide you with the tools to make realistic and workable decisions. You’ll have the basis for an action plan with its guidelines and exercises for

  • navigating successful transitions

  • developing a professional design plan

  • continuing your professional development

  • using volunteering as a learning experience

  • preparing for a job search or marketing campaign.

If you’re flooded with information from part 1 and wondering how to sort out and integrate all of that input so that it makes sense to you, in the next five chapters you’ll find a framework within which to apply what you’ve learned so that it’s meaningful and beneficial to you. You’ll be encouraged to do much self-assessment and reflection, to take a look at your personal and professional priorities, and to create a detailed vision of your future.

We’ve designed self-directed and individualized exercises at the end of each chapter to give you a platform and structure for your ideas about your career and about the training, HRD, and workplace learning and performance field. You can use those exercises in various combinations at different crossroads in your work life when circumstances change for you, and as you develop professionally the exercises will serve as reference and review documents.

You’ll find yourself returning to these chapters repeatedly for guidance and support. As you go through the materials for the first time, you’ll discover career planning information and practical exercises that are useful to you immediately. You also will find yourself making mental notes of items for future reference. Become more aware of yourself, professionally and personally, and assess how you balance these two sides. And, above all, learn never to make assumptions about limitations. Assume, instead, that with determination, motivation, and planning, anything is possible.



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