Stephen Bush is a consulting and career training expert. He is the CEO and Founder of AEX Commercial Financing Group.
Cost-Effective Career Training Solutions
Career training programs and career planning strategies have changed for many reasons during the past several years. The economy and financial uncertainties have resulted in many of the most critical changes because fewer jobs mean fewer career opportunities. The rising cost of education and specifically business education has also impacted career planning because reduced affordability translates to fewer realistic career training solutions. The fact that so few recent college graduates have been able to find appropriate jobs is a further sign of problems with the existing career training programs.
What are some of the new career training solutions that tackle these career planning risks and problems? A few practical career development strategies are identified below.
Find out what you like doing best and get someone to pay you for doing it.
— Katherine Whitehorn
Career Training Solutions: Individual Results May Vary!
The search for a "successful" career has entered a new phase. Perhaps it is due to the changing economy or that everything (including education and training) seems to cost so much more than it should. It certainly doesn't help when the job and career you trained for is eliminated or outsourced. Some of us have probably experienced seeing a career vanish simply because a younger person can be hired at a much lower salary.
When I say that "individual results may vary," it is an acknowledgment that not everyone is in need of career training solutions. Nevertheless, we are now in an extended period of economic change that might eventually and unexpectedly impact those currently engaged in successful careers.
My advice: (1) Take a career time-out. (2) Always have a Plan B.
As noted below, training does not occur in a vacuum and requires interacting with people. The quality and experience of those other people will heavily influence the outcome of any career training program. For many specialized careers, individualized training (one-to-one training) might be more appropriate or even essential to career development success.
Training is everything. The peach was once a bitter almond; cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.
— Mark Twain
Four Observations About Career Training
- Training is not an individual activity. It literally requires interaction with other people. Training programs involve seeking out help to learn more about the skills needed to succeed in a career. ("We get by with a little help from our friends.") But this does mean that you will be relying on other people, so choose those people wisely!
- Career time-outs are critical in choosing which career path to pursue. This should involve a variety of self-assessment and external reality checks. Taking a career time-out is essentially the opposite of "stopping to smell the roses" because it involves so much more than just patting yourself on the back for a job well done. When done properly, this strategy will involve a candid evaluation of the pros and cons of what you are currently doing as well as potential career opportunities.
- Always have a Plan B. This is prudent advice for small businesses as well as your career. This involves thinking about "What could go wrong?" so that you will be prepared to move ahead with little or no delays if or when something does happen unexpectedly. Having contingency career plans particularly looks and feels like the smart thing to do when we go through a period of economic and employment uncertainty (the past few years, now and for how much longer?)
- One-to-one training (compared to group training) is a rare but often necessary element in achieving a successful career. This is particularly true for more specialized careers such as small business finance consulting. When analyzing training costs, group training is likely to cost less. This is when you need to evaluate the cost-effectiveness and cost-benefits of your career training program. If nothing else, remember the enduring wisdom of "You get what you pay for."
There Are No Right or Wrong Answers
Most of us have strong opinions about what is important in choosing and moving along in a career. Please choose which of the options noted below is the most important in achieving enduring career success. Remember, there are no "right" or "wrong" answers.
Your Opinion, Please!
The biggest mistake you can make is to believe that you are working for somebody else. Job security is gone. The driving force of a career must come from the individual. Remember: Jobs are owned by the company, you own your career!
— Earl Nightingale
Taking a Time-out for Your Career
Taking a step back and reviewing your career can be hard to do, and for that single reason the use of a career time-out strategy is often overlooked or perhaps dismissed as showing a sign of weakness. This is your life we are talking about, and if ever there was an area where you get to make the rules this should be it!
Success is peace of mind that is the direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.
— John Wooden when he was 24 years old
Identifying the Right Questions About Skills
Anyone who is involved in making career planning decisions will usually notice that there are generally three to five key skills needed for a specific type of job category. There will occasionally be disagreement about what those skills are, and two critical questions should be answered at the earliest possible opportunity:
- What are the most important skills for the career opportunity I am seeking?
- How can those skills be obtained?
One of the most cost-effective career training methods for obtaining applicable skills is a specialized career training program. Such a program should help you identify which skills are most needed as part of the overall process. But be prepared to also do your own homework in this area because it is too important to rely 100 percent on external recommendations.
If a training process is individualized (among my strongest recommendations for achieving effective results), then the process should be able to accommodate some flexibility for providing help in obtaining additional skills. Overall, I have found two career training ingredients to be most instrumental in shaping future career success—personalized training and flexibility in the training program.
It is our choices . . . that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.
— J.K. Rowling
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2012 Stephen Bush
And now, your thoughts on the subject . . .
Gayle Dowell from Kansas on December 26, 2012:
Great useful advice. I have a daughter in college and one in high school soon to be in college. Will need to have them read this as well.
Stephen Bush (author) from Ohio on October 19, 2012:
@Melissa Miotke: I am glad you asked! A wrinkle chaser is a job in the shoe manufacturing industry and is generally responsible for ironing wrinkles from various shoe parts. It is such a specialized field that I also saw references to related positions like a "Lining Ironer" and some others which refer to the shoe part that they are smoothing.
Melissa Miotke from Arizona on October 14, 2012:
What on earth is a wrinkle chaser? Haha-great lens:) Blessed
crazy4u2 on August 28, 2012:
Training is a tool for development of skills for which most of the organization spend about one-fourth of their earnings in training their employees. Your lens is very informative and on positive note.
besttechgadgets on July 11, 2012:
I like the PLAN B t-shirt... that would make a great gift! Good lens...
BestMusicGear on July 11, 2012:
Great lens... we all need a Plan B. Thumbs up!
jeromeyoung on June 25, 2012:
Some people have not landed a job due to lack of hands on training. They might have a degree in college but an on the job training is I believe necessary to convert the theories learned at school to actual work. It's great that you write something like this topic. Helpful to many.
anilsaini on June 15, 2012:
very nice lens with motivational info
Johnkadu on June 15, 2012:
Great lens especially in the recession when everybody is looking for a job.