Having worked for more than 20 years in the corporate world I find it fascinating to look back and evaluate my career path and growth.
Most of us start our working life as inexperienced and young employees. This status changes quickly as we become more experienced and skilled.
I started my career at the very bottom of the organisation, but worked with vigour, passion and pride. I made it my goal to do my utmost best at my job and to let my performance results display my success and commitment. I took every opportunity to learn and (usually) accepted extra work with a glad heart as it enabled me to acquire more knowledge and experience.
This broadened my knowledge of the organisation which helped me a great deal when I started applying for more senior positions.
Everyone has the ability to do certain things well and to develop proficiency. All that it requires is a passion to grow and learn. Decide what you want to have, what you want to do and who you want to become and that will drive you and make it easier.
Acquiring skills requires knowledge and training. Becoming competent, mastering certain abilities or improving a weakness requires persistent and focused effort. The good news is that when you develop and expand your know-how in one area, you are able to apply it in other areas of your life.
With a new job the first priority is to acquire stipulated technical skills in order to successfully, and effectively, perform the core functions of the job. Learn about, and follow, the specific business processes and procedures that will equip you to do your tasks accurately and efficiently.
Once you have mastered the basic technical skills, you can assess your non-essential skills that will take your job to the next level. These are equally important and would include problem solving, time-management, interpersonal and communication skills.
Ensure that your management agrees with the skills you have identified and then draw up a personal development plan and put in deadlines!
As a person with a disability, you must always ensure that your human resources consultant is aware of your disability and the accommodations you need when attending any internal or external training. This will enable the training department, or external training supplier, to make appropriate accommodations and ensure that you can access the venue and training material.
It is important that external training suppliers also make accommodations for persons with disabilities who attend training. If you are visually impaired pre-training reading material should be sent to you in electronic format and in text enlargement format for the partially sighted.
Trainers should also ensure that structural access needs, such as ramps and bathrooms, are both available and appropriate.
Support staff should also be briefed and sensitised so that they can assist and ask the trainee whether they need assistance with the serving of meals and refreshments.
After training it is important that you regularly practise and implement what you have learnt. So often people attend training but never implement the skills they have learnt and, within a short while, the knowledge and skills are forgotten.
Back at work, if you do not understand something, ask questions or ask for help - it is positive to admit that you are learning - and far better than making a mistake. Having said that, also remember that we mainly learn from our mistakes and then do better the next time!
Challenge your self to be a continuous and life-long learner and to implement what you learn. This will enhance your skills which in turn will increase your performance and output.
Once you develop, internalise and implement skills and knowledge they are yours forever and will help you to grow your career and to be successful.
In a future issue I would like to discuss the things that frustrate people with disabilities in their places of work.