Professional Development: Pros & Cons

Jul 8, 2016

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Professional Development: Pros & ConsA handful of weeks ago, I attended my first professional development seminar in a long time. When work gets busy, conferences and seminars are the first to drop off the calendar.

But, back to my seminar: I was gone for the whole morning of “in office” work, which is the first in my list of “Professional Development: Pros & Cons.” Professional development takes time. You’re out of the office and not working on anything directly quantifiable. Con #2: Professional development usually costs money. So, why attend? Why spend any time at development, especially the kind that takes time + money out of the office? 

No matter what industry you’re in, there’s always chances for professional development. Some take very little of your time and are virtually cost-free (like an online webinar with no registration fee), while others take a whole day and require a payment before you can register (like the Social Media University held every year here in Milwaukee). I urge you, though, to get out and go to in-person conferences, seminars, workshops, etc. Pay the entrance fee, get out of the office and leave that pile of work on your desk to wait for Wednesday. Here’s why:

Professional Development: Pros & Cons

Rejuvenate Your Passion

Feeling burnt out about the daily grind? Conferences are a great way to light your spark again. You’re learning from the experts, asking the questions you’ve been wondering, surrounded by peers who are just as interested in the topics as you are. Speaking of those peers…

Networking

You either love it or you hate it. The thing with conferences, though, is that there’s room for both types. Even if you’re not the kind to chat up every table at the post-conference networking happy hour, you’re probably not a fan of awkward, silent lunches, either. Which means, you have to talk to someone. And there you have it! You’ve networked. For those of you who love to rub elbows, conferences are a heaven-on-earth. With most counting over 300 in attendance, even you won’t be able to talk to everybody. Take that as a challenge, if you want.

More on Networking: 10 Networking Tips, How to Follow-Up After Networking

Get Your Questions Answered

We briefly touched on this one already, but it’s so awesome that it deserves its own point. You don’t have to be the expert today—you can ask all the questions you want. And do it! It’ll make the conference that much more worthwhile if you can come away with specific insight into the issues that have been nagging you at work. Don’t just ask questions of the experts, either. Talk to your fellow attendees—what tips do they have? What trends have they noticed? Have they ever dealt with ______?

If nothing else, there’s free lunch!

And that almost makes up for the cost of the ticket, right?

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