Professional development means maintaining essential knowledge and skills necessary to perform tasks in the current job, as well as developing additional competences for promotion or transfer to another position. Ongoing development of knowledge, enhancements in technology and production, and expanding of job roles force require most employees to constantly learn and adapt. To ensure we remain a competent part of the workforce, to apply a promotion, or seek different job roles, it is often necessary to improve existing competences and to acquire new ones. A lack of development can be a source of stress, may reduce self-esteem, and cause a lack of job satisfaction.
In addition, hard skills (e.g., knowing how to repair PC, prepare documents or operate complicated machines) being required of employees, soft skills (e.g. social or interpersonal skills) are becoming more and more important. Soft skills focus on the way you relate to and interact with other people. Examples of soft skills are conflict resolution, time management, and dealing with challenging costumers. Possessing such skills helps to cope with difficult and stressful situations and can be a positive asset to have when applying for promotion or a new job. When professional development is blocked by external factors (e.g., lack of promotion opportunities) or internal factors (e.g., lack of motivation to change), we experience frustration and work ceases to give us satisfaction. We may feel a lack of energy, lack of sense of daily achievements, and low self-esteem.
It is important to treat professional development as a long-term process that requires thoughtful, planned action. To plan your actions effectively, it is good to think about your professional goals, how to achieve them, and what blocks their development. If you feel that your career is stuck, try talking about it to your manager. You could also check if there are any new training, development or job opportunities in your department, or other departments in your organisation. It is never too late to learn, and if your employer does not offer development prospects, it is worth thinking about your future and what you want to achieve, even seeking a career elsewhere could be an option.
The EMPOWER project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement No. 848180