I was working on our new budget and downloading some different Excel templates and apps and realized most of the downloads did not have a line item for professional development. As a certified coach specializing in career management, as well as a Domestic Administrator, I found this quite interesting. Over the years, I have found budgeting for my professional development to be very helpful when meetings, events and registrations came by way. I would review and consider if they were within my budget and if they would provide me with a return on investment, either needed CEs for different certifications, or somehow open doors for me in the future. I would also edit the line items based on my organization’s contribution to my development. Sometimes there were great years with my companies, others were lean, but I created a standard for designating a certain amount of my income for development.
As I work with career coachees, many express a desire to work in a company that supports professional development – either through professional time off, mentoring, coaching, informal training, e-learning or financial support through event registration, professional dues or tuition reimbursement. Yes, that is the ideal work environment, but in many companies, professional development is the first thing to be cut during tough economic times. In today’s business world, many companies may not have the resources to train and development new hires and others expect new hires to come into the workplace skill with certifications, knowledge and hands on experience in hand.
Putting on my HR hat, I’m not sure I completely agree with that philosophy because one way to create organizational commitment is to help employees or “talent” grow professionally. As with all things, there are many sides and many perspectives, but regardless, active and passive job seekers need to be “batter-ready.”
Although many new graduates are entering the workforce with student loans, their professional development does not end there. Professional development continues throughout a career, and although the internet is a great resource to learn for free, and we will see more of virtual learning in the years to come, professional development is generally at the expense of the individual. Many times in the past I have heard colleagues say these words, “If the company isn’t paying me, I’m not going.” I cringe at the thought of someone not preparing themselves for future opportunities because they have not budgeted for their own development or worse, feel the company owes them development.
So, be batter ready. Consider your career “age”, determine what you need for current success and future possibilities, and weigh these against available professional resources. Consider adding the line items below into your home budget:
- Continuing education training including fee-based webinars and formal classroom training
- College courses/tuition/books
- Professional organization annual membership fees
- Professional development event fees, meals, travel and accommodations
- Certification or license fees
- Networking events, including lunches with personal connectors, influencers, mentors, community organized events, etc.
- Resume writing services
- Social promotion and branding assistance (video resume, social media, personal website, etc)
Not all the above are pertinent to your career situation. You may not need all nine every year of your career life. But “just in time” registration for professional development will not always give you a structured career process for development.
Consider this. We budget for manicures, pedicures, groceries, fitness clubs, recreation, vacations and our basic family needs. Doesn’t your career need the same level of financial care? Assess your career, envision your career path, and be open to possibilities. Plan. And budget.