Two Ways To Enhance Any Career

Career & Workplace

two ways to enhance any career
Did you know that anybody can enhance their life, and thus their career, by improving some simple, basic skills? Once you have a handle on these skills, there’s no telling what can happen but you have to apply them consistently: everybody needs to learn how to learn and learn how to teach.

Learn How To Learn

Learning is essentially acknowledging that you don’t know everything and being open to expanding your horizons.

  • What are you reading? If you don’t read, start slow and it will get better quickly.
  • If you are always reading a novel, try reading some non-fiction regularly.
  • If you never do fiction, start with some short stories and work up.
  • Take a class in something that appeals and intimidates you.
  • Play games on  your phone or computer that are not in your comfort zone, like words for a math whiz and numbers for the linguist.
  • Learn how to use your hands or your body a different way, like dancing or knitting or soccer or anything fun.

I bet you thought I’d be telling you to work on a career skill, and that certainly is a good idea. But for many of us, we need to start developing the ability to learn first. When you start with what you like and stretch your mind a little bit, you are learning how to learn.

Learn How To Teach

Teaching is not being a windbag standing in front of suffering students and talking to hear themselves. Good teachers listen to their students and try to understand how they perceive things so the facts being communicated get through to the brain. A teacher needs to have a good grasp of the subject in order to explain it effectively.

  • Offer to explain something you are good at to a friend who wants to know how.
  • Show a newbie some tips about a skill you have.
  • Write instructions just to see if they make sense when you follow them.
  • Improve your writing skills so you can communicate better.
  • Rewrite things that are confusing to make the meaning clearer.
  • Research the styles of learning and figure out how to explain to each style.

The truth is that we all teach, whether we realize it or not. The goal is to be a teacher of good, helpful things who passes on all you have learned. When a person continually is learning, and is also continually sharing their knowledge, it completes the circle of intelligent growth. It also keeps you in a positive stance for whatever your career is doing and enhances any job.

Job sharing is one way to get work hours flexibility, especially if you need it because of child care or elderly parent responsibilities. My mom did job sharing when I was young. She worked Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning, and her co-worker worked Wednesday afternoon, Thursday and Friday. Both loved the arrangement and through careful planning, this went on for 15+ years.
Sharing a job with another person requires flexibility and good communication skills to keep the work flowing even on the days when you are not at work. This goes beyond good face-to-face communication skills as you have to be able to communicate with the other worker when you are not working at the same time. Email is one type of communication that helps in a job share situation. Being flexible and able to accept phone calls on non-work time is also helpful.
Good documentation skills are critical to job sharing. This ensures that the work gets done properly with no mistakes even when you are not there yourself. One example of documentation skills is medical charting for doctors and nurses. The next doctor or nurse should be able to tell what treatment a patient has received and what he will need next. My mom and her co-worker had ‘in’ and ‘out’ boxes so they knew what the other was working on. They also had lots of sticky notes (this was all that was available 30 years ago!).
Neatness counts. If you share supplies or equipment, they need to be checked on a regular basis to ensure that you do not run out of anything critical or misplace a needed piece of equipment. Return all equipment to its storage place. Also check for breakage and let the other job sharer know if something is broken so that this person does not try to use it until it is fixed.
Job sharing adds critical thinking and planning skill sets to your resume. It also adds documentation skills and communication skills. All of these skills are a bonus, so make sure you indicate on your resume under Work Experience that a position you held was a job share. You can list the position then put in parentheses: (job share, 30 hours per week).