Growth...this is our mantra.
Being part of a local independent business that has enjoyed 38 successful years trading within the local area; it can be easy to relax into the role of single branch business with the loyal support of your local clients (to be fair we have probably done so on occasion) however times move on. Recently we made the decision to expand into a new geographic location and with the launch of our new sister company, Windsor Employment Agency; a new and unique set of challenges were presented which required us to review our skill sets to decide if we had the talent internally to cope with such change, or did we need to go into the market to source the skills required? I myself have always been involved in both the operations and marketing aspects of the business, however our review highlighted the requirement for a more dedicated marketing function and this was a role I wanted.
The result? The need to train and improve my skill set by enrolling in a Diploma in Professional Marketing and a year I shall never forget. The requirement to dedicate such a large amount of your time and effort, coupled with a full-time job, is not something I would advise for the faint-hearted. Long hours, lost weekends and a slightly annoyed family (to say the least) are all part-and-parcel for the mature student; however, would I do it again? Most definitely.
Looking back; pushing myself out of my comfort zone opened my mind to the prospects available and the relationships formed in the hard slog of the classroom are ones that I never would have made in my day-to-day role. Studying and working alongside like-minded individuals really underscored the needs and requirements in today’s busy workplace and gave me new energy and perspective on how to achieve the goals you set yourself.
My advice? Well, firstly think long and hard about the time and dedication required to achieve your qualification, and if you still wish to take that step, I offer my pearls of wisdom:
Firstly – do it!
Yes it may drain you and take over your life for a period of time, but when it’s done, you get not only a piece of paper confirming your qualification but a sense of achievement and the realisation of the experience you have gained through all your hard work. It offers you new ideas and prospects that were not visible before and the toolset to implement these successfully into your workplace.
Work at it
Seems simple but you would not believe the amount of people who enrolled and did not put the time and effort into it. If you have made the decision to do the course, then do it! If you have the option to attend classes then do so. We had a lot of individuals who attempted the course remotely and I did not envy them. Being in a class environment and making new friends not only helped in terms of understanding, but the free conversation and discussions with your peers often lead to new ideas and understandings of the concepts your learning – that and it made you realise that you were not the only one struggling (believe me – this helps!).
Manage your time like you have never managed it before
If you are in full-time work and have a family then you will be well versed in time management, but believe me, this needs to be moved on to a new level. Commutes, lunch breaks, bed time reading, evenings and weekends need to be planned so you can get in the required reading.
Take some time out
Yes, yes. I know I have droned on about lost time but you still need to find some time for yourself. When working on big projects it easy to spend half a day on a problem that appears impossible, but on return from a break, is solvable. Sometimes we get so bogged down that we cannot see the way forward – my advice, if you can’t see the wood for the trees, find a beach!
Lastly – read your brief carefully, then read it again
The last pearl of wisdom I pass to you is to read your brief VERY carefully. Often, as in work, it is easy to get carried away with an idea and push ahead just to re-read the original request and realise you went off on a irrelevant tangent. The realisation that a piece of work you have slaved away on will have to be redone is a sobering one and one that I hope you never have to experience.
Right, that’s it. If you are moving ahead with any form of training I wish you the best and hope, like me, it offers the skills and experiences that will open doors to areas you have not looked into previous. After all, to stay still is not moving forward!