Career Development Technical Literacy Professional Excellence

By Brown, Carolyn M. | Black Enterprise, September 2000 | Go to article overview

Career Development Technical Literacy Professional Excellence


Brown, Carolyn M., Black Enterprise


YEARNING TO INCREASE YOUR EARNINGS

How to maximise what you make by enhancing your technological literacy and professional skills

BE ALL THAT YOU CAN BE. GIVE IT ALL YOU'VE GOT. These timeworn cliches serve as daily mantras for today's corporate soldier. While it may not take strenuous physical labor to reach the pinnacle of your career, it does require that you build other muscles. Simply put, train yourself to work smarter--not harder.

The reality is that the more skills you acquire and the more valuable you make yourself to your company, the bigger the bucks you'll be able to earn. But while you're striving for a fatter paycheck or a better job, take full advantage of the company benefits package as a means of enriching your quality of life. Also, add your raise or bonus to your personal debt-reduction and investment program.

The key to achieving your career and financial goals is developing a vision of your life and figuring out how your plans meld into that overall objective. You can ascend up the corporate ladder and, at the same time, achieve wealth by following the steps that adhere to Principle No. 9 of the Declaration of Financial Empowerment--to maximize earning power through a commitment to career development, technological literacy, and professional excellence.

Assess your worth at work. It is crucial that you honestly and objectively evaluate your competence and skills at least once a year. Are your skills consistent with the marketplace? If not, you might discover that your employer views you as easily replaceable.

More than ever, the work environment demands employees who possess strong technological skills, If you have them, you will be able to better position yourself in the tech-driven New Economy. Even if you're not looking to make a living writing code or creating Websites, you need to have a working knowledge of basic technological applications, asserts William A. Schaffer, a business development manager for Sun Microsystems in Cupertino, California, and author of High-Tech Careers for Low-Tech People (Ten Speed Press, $14.95).

His hypothesis is that we live in a world that is increasingly reliant on computers, the Internet and wireless hand-held devices (i.e., palm organizers. pagers, and cell phones) as primary sources of information and communication. E-commerce is steadily becoming the norm for selling and buying goods. So how can you stay abreast of technological trends in this brave, new environment? By spending time reading publications such as the Industry Standard or the pages of the Techwatch section in BE.

You can also register for one of countless computer courses available at local community colleges and business schools. Familiarize yourself with the lingo and use teachers as resources.

* Upgrade your skills. Today's businesses are increasingly operating at Net speed. To compete, you need to constantly upgrade. If you've had your sheepskin for more than five years and you have an outmoded skills set, it doesn't matter whether you have an associate's, bachelor's, master's or doctorate degree.

* Accept continuous learning as a way of life. Take advantage of on-site training programs offered by your employer. Consider enrolling in management courses, such as those offered by the American Management Association (800-5868100). You can even earn a certificate through distance learning courses via the Internet. Go back to school to get an advanced degree or take continuing education classes relevant to your line of work. Let your employer pay for your newly acquired skills through tuition reimbursement programs, a common benefit from most companies.

Furthering your training or education will strengthen your position at work. Keep in mind that the more you know and can demonstrate that knowledge, the more valuable you'll be.

* Negotiate for the salary you deserve. Obviously, the best time to negotiate salary is before you start a job. …

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