Job Training Never Ends: Why Continuing Education Matters

Most of us are constantly in search of that proverbial feeling of “I made it”. Whether it’s reaching a new level of positioning at one’s job or working up to owning a business as an entrepreneur, we all have our own definitions of what it means to “make it”. One common pitfall that many fall into as their careers progress, however, is that of misplaced confidence and feeling that there is nothing left to learn.

Consider the example of a Nike executive, Vanessa Garcia-Brito. As the vice president of purpose communications for the prominent sporting goods brand, Garcia-Brito says she treats her job as any professional athlete does and trains for it accordingly.

What does this mean, exactly? “You need grit, courage; you need to be optimistic and flexible,” Garcio-Brito described in a recent interview. This type of mentality means that there is no finish line, no end of the road where one feels as if they’ve “made it”. For Garcio-Brito, the training and education to best prepare herself for her job is never ending.

This is an important takeaway for anyone who pursues excellence in their career. While some may reach a certain executive level or obtain a promotion and feel as if they are at the top of the food chain, the reality is that our world changes quickly and there is never a lack of opportunity for education.

While some may scoff at the idea of continuing education, this show of humility — proof that an individual can remove their ego and feeling as if they’ve “made it” — can do much more for a professional over time. Continuing to bolster existing knowledge by learning new skills or simply by staying abreast of topics of relevance to that person’s line of work are both forms of continuing education. And this knowledge can help a person’s job security and ability to continue to make strides in his or her career.

Those who choose to remain stagnant and feel as if they’re at the top of the food chain are more susceptible to loss of respect from those around them. Often, a refusal to continue one’s education in some form is seen as a sign of arrogance or, at least, a lack of humility. This can be disheartening to others and can lead to fallout or loss of trust over time. And for those concerned about job stability — for every aging executive, there is a younger, hungrier version just waiting for the right moment to strike.

Staying “relevant” is a loose term, and it means something different to everyone. However in an industry that is constantly seeing updates and changes, it’s important to maintain a working knowledge of the current state of affairs. This allows professionals to pivot quickly and to have the ability to make decisions based on trends within the industry.

Continuing education doesn’t only refer to taking a class or obtaining a second degree. Continuing education can apply to staying on top of current headlines, learning about new platforms or software offerings, and keeping up with one’s professional network. All of this works to create a more complete professional who is up to date on current trends and knows how to take their work to the next level according to this always-updating knowledge.