Magazine article Corrections Today

Professional Development: Taking Responsibility for Your Own Career

Magazine article Corrections Today

Professional Development: Taking Responsibility for Your Own Career

Article excerpt

In the August 2006 Corrections Today Professional Development Update column I asked the question, "What would happen if you lost 25 percent of your agency's leaders?" At that time, we were watching our baby boomer staff march out the front door for retirement, to relaunch themselves in a new career or to find their passion. The focus was on preparing up-and-coming leaders to take their place. Two and a half years later, we face a much different scenario. We're not just losing our leaders; we are losing staff at all levels as we face turbulent times. It's a little scary right now. But we have been given an opportunity to shape our new reality, and we must understand, accept and exploit it.

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How do we take advantage of these new realities? One thing we cannot do is decrease our commitment to professional development. In fact, it's critical that we invest wisely and innovatively in professional development. As correctional professionals, we must also take responsibility for our own individual development. We can no longer expect our agencies to take care of all our professional development needs for us. They may no longer be able to offer tuition reimbursement at the same level as last year. They may have to cut nonessential training classes temporarily. We must invest in ourselves. It harkens back to the L'Oreal hair color commercial of a few years ago with the tagline "because I'm worth it." It's a chance to enhance our knowledge or to reinvent ourselves. People change; we become different people with different needs, interests and perspectives. This is especially true today as we stay in the work force longer.

We must know ourselves and have a vision for where we want to go, and what knowledge will help us get there. This requires reflection, and for many of us who rush between work and home with a myriad of responsibilities, reflection time just isn't at the top of our "to do" list. …

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