Personal Development: How much have you invested in yourself?

Ruth Olurounbi

I sat through a four-hour meeting today for a company I consult for. It was a meeting between the managers of the company and the workers. The managers wanted to know how they have fared and how they can move the company forward in partnership with the workforce. It was a big step from the two parties. It was the first time in the history of the company that something like that was happening.

The workforce did not feel like they could trust management, and so it was tough going at first. But eventually, the ice was broken and everyone started to voice their concerns. It was a long list – from the major to the minutest and diverse suggestions coming forward. It was a long and exhausting time.

One thing that stood out was anger from the workforce over the company not investing in training of workers. Sure, that was something to be angry about. I understood their point of view. But I also saw it from another perspective. If the company doesn’t provide on-the-job training for its workers, what stops the workers from getting trained personally?

Someone mentioned that he’s been with the company for five years and he hasn’t been exposed to training from the said company. When I asked him how much he had invested in himself, he drew a blank. I asked if he knew there were free online resources he could take advantage of, and he looked momentarily lost before he began to stammer. I wondered, should he step out to take another job, how would he prove himself worthy of it when he hasn’t personally invested in his own development.

Sure, the company in question was wrong not to be providing ongoing training for their workers, given the highly technical nature of their work and given the ever changing corporate environment. The managers apologised and promised to change, which I find commendable. But I also think it behooves individuals to invest in their own lives. That is how to stay relevant and become indispensable in the organisation your work for.

Your value is determined by how much investment you put in yourself. How much personal development you acquire tells me that you take yourself seriously and that gives me the confidence to give you a job or a bigger role because I know you’d take my company seriously.

So, the next time you sit and whine that your company isn’t living up to its expectations, you may want to ask yourself, Are you living up to yours?

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