When planning our education smart goals we need to let go of the idea that learning only takes place in a classroom setting. The best education can happen through experience or reading a great book. And most importantly your education shouldn’t end once you finish high school or a post-secondary institution.
Remember this great quote while thinking about your education smart goals:
“you’re either growing or dying.”
In other words, if you are not seeking out opportunities to learn and grow, you aren’t going to continue to develop in life. Especially in your 20s when you have many career decades ahead of you.
Here were my education smart goals in my early 20s:
1. Finish my undergrad at university.
2. Apply for a one year post-grad at a community college.
3. Graduate from the post-grad with job specific skills and co-op experience in the related field.
4. Once hired from my co-op placement Firm A (I was lucky!), I wait a year to start taking more part-time courses towards my next level of certification that would eventually lead to job growth.
5. With a few years of experience and upgraded skills I accepted a promotion at Firm B.
For me it was more important to get my foot in the door and start working right away and then upgrading my skills for the promotion, than staying in school even longer. I know people that have been in school forever, well into their late twenties and early thirties and are losing valuable work experience. Unless you’re going to be a doctor there’s no reason to stay in school that long.
Although it’s important to set long-term goals, focus more on the short-term ones because you never know where your career is going to take you. What I have learned from experience, especially when starting out early in your career, is that a better career opportunities might come your way. And don't let the rising youth unemployment rate discourage you from your career path.
In my late twenties my career started to shift:
6. Firm B encouraged and provided me with skill specific training. As my skills become stronger I fell into the unofficial corporate trainer role of these skillsqa. I had the opportunity to travel and train others with these skills.
7. As a result of the experience from training I started taking courses towards becoming a corporate trainer.
A new career path was formed! I would have never included corporate trainer in my education smart goals.
Should you include things outside of your career in your education smart goals? Is it a waste of time or money?
Definitely not! No way! I believe that everyone should have a hobby or “side hustle” going on. Side hustle is your passion or dream that you do on the side outside from your current job. The goal here is that it will one day turn into your part-time or full-time career. For me I took my yoga teacher certification which is something I do on the side now.
To Recap Education Smart Goals:
1. Plan both short & long-term education goals, but focus more on the short-term ones.
2. Look for opportunities that might arise in your current career.
3. Continue to upgrade your skills and knowledge whether it is through a course, joining an organization or reading a book in your related field.
4. Don’t limit your education specifically to your course. Don’t be afraid to take personal interest courses.
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