In the day-in-day out frenzy of most workplaces, it can be a struggle to know when it’s time to take a step back and reevaluate the true potential of your skill set.
It’s not a question of whether or not you’re proficient at your current job, it’s a question of what heights you could reach with some further enrichment and development. If you’re weighing your options, here are some top signs that it might be time to head back into the classroom—either online or in person—to pursue executive education.
- You’re bored.
Sounds simple—even trite. But don’t confuse busyness with engagement. You can be coping with a jam-packed 80-hour workweek and still be bored. For one reason or another, the majority of American workers report job dissatisfaction. More concerning, a 2013 Gallup poll found that 52% of American workers are neither committed to nor enthusiastic about their jobs. Worse yet, another 18% said they are “actively disengaged” and have totally checked out. So what’s at stake here when less than one-third of American employees actually wake up bright eyed and bushy tailed to go to work every day? Your career trajectory.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to find a way to engage with your job. For many people, the road may be through executive education. Studies have shown that learning and curiosity stimulate brain function and even improve your memory—ultimately recharging your brain’s reward center. So it’s not just about the skills you can gain in class to help you perform better, it’s also about the emotional and mental boost that can help you be more engaged—and engaging—on the job.
- You’re unsure what’s next.
The era of the 30-year tenure with a single company in a single role is largely passed. Now—as Sheryl Sandberg put it in Lean In—a successful career can look a lot more like a “jungle gym scramble” than a linear climb up a corporate ladder.
But knowing which way to swing next on that career jungle gym can be daunting. By picking up a new set of skills or by learning about a previously-uncharted sector of your industry, you may ignite a fresh passion or pique an interest that can lead you in the right direction.
- You’re worried about the future of your job.
You’re the life of the office party and the go-to mentor for new staffers joining the company. You’re good at what you do and you’re widely perceived as a leader. That’s all well-and-good, but you have a sneaking suspicion that your job might be obsolete within the next decade—and retirement isn’t coming any time soon.
Market volatility has shaken nearly every industry and traditional jobs that were bankable for a century are now being eliminated as technology comes to the forefront. Not to mention that industry shifts are causing buyouts and consolidation that may make it harder to make the case for your particular position—when someone else can take on your tasks and another person’s all by himself.
Staying relevant is vital to remaining a driver of innovation at your company—but thinking globally and strategically about the key needs of your industry will never go out of style. Taking the time to pursue an expanded skill set through executive education can give you a renewed outlook on your company or industry that will make you too critical to future goals to downsize.
There will ultimately be a wide range of reasons—both personal and professional—that can decide whether or not pursuing executive education is right for you at this moment. But in an economy rightfully obsessed with growth, choosing to enrich yourself through professional development can positively communicate to your company and your clients that your own future goals are growing too.