Within the last two years, I’ve taken various steps to increase my happiness at work. One first measure I put in place to increase my satisfaction in my work days has been to make the conscious choice to be more engaged in the way I select courses and training through my employer.
Rather than simply perceiving those courses as only being applicable to the work I am currently doing, I decided to think more broadly about the value each of those courses could bring to my future. Furthermore, although we are on the way to reach financial independence by 2025, we still have a good 5 to 6 years of depending on our current jobs to both fund our cost of living and keep growing our investments, therefore, might has well gain knowledge and tools that can help us perform better in our work and make our work days more enjoyable.
Indeed, in his interview with the Mad Fientist, Cal Newport who wrote, among other great books, So Good They Can’t Ignore You goes on to explain that the premise of this specific book is that the standard advice of “follow your passion and you will be satisfied in your job” is flawed. According to his research, people that gain pleasure and happiness do so when they become good at doing something as this leads to gaining more autonomy, competence and feeling connected and valued by others. As such, what better way to become good at doing my own work than to optimize the training programs offered by my employer!
A comprehensive view of the value of each course
I chose to reflect on how the courses offered through my employer could not only enrich my current work but also any entrepreneurial and side-hustling that I embark on along the road to or once I will have reached financial independence.
I began by choosing certain courses in planning and organizational skills. It’s very easy to justify how such courses are useful in my work as a financial analyst, for example to manage the high volume of information and files. From a side-hustling point of view, since all planning and organization is self-directed, this is indeed quite an important asset to master.
Following this, I chose a course on dealing with difficult behaviour in the workplace. Since a large part of my work is tied to managing complaints, I’m often faced with difficult behaviours so this was definitely a useful course for my everyday work. Furthermore, since every social interaction can lead to facing difficult behaviours, the use of this course goes way above my job and is highly applicable in many aspects of life.
In short, by having a comprehensive and broad view of my interests and objectives, I was able to put together a fairly complete list of various types of courses I would like to take in the coming years. My list of upcoming courses includes writing workshops, communication and negotiation courses and many other various subjects that I am excited to explore. All kinds of topics that can improve my ability to do my job while also improving my ability to perform all kinds of tasks associated with generating money through entrepreneurial activities. Furthermore, a lot of these will be useful in everyday life as well as increasing my abilities in some of my hobbies such as writing this blog.
Opting for Quality Courses:
I also focused particular attention on the organizations and specifically the people that were leading the courses I was interested in taking. Since employers spend money on training their employees, it is in their best interest for them to offer some guidance on suggested quality training and courses.
Personally, I have access to various lists indicating past training that employees have chosen. This list also includes conferences as well as various events that are open for attendance and reviews on these from employees who have attended in the past.
You can then do your own research on the websites of the various institutions that offer these courses and elsewhere to find out what is the level of appreciation of past attendees for those courses. For example, I chose one specific planning and organizational skills course based on such research. Indeed, the teaching institution presented comments from past participants and this particular course was highly rated by numerous people from various fields, and the results seemed to indicate that this course was applicable well beyond work.
After following this specific course which I highly appreciated thanks to the wide range of knowledge shared but also thanks to the teacher’s specific training method, I did further research to find out what other courses and workshops were being led by this teacher. This allowed me to find an excellent course on time management which has greatly helped me in the pursuit of my occasional side-hustling. As an added bonus, this teacher is a full-time freelancer, including these teaching gigs, so it was super interesting to listen to those experiences!
You also have the possibility to innovate and find a completely new course to suggest to your employer. In such a case, I recommend that you gather the positive testimonials that you’ve found and present them with all the reasons why you wish to follow this course. Explain specifically how taking this course will give you an edge and tools to do your job better.
Some employers are even ready to pay for longer term certificates and programs such as a CPA or master’s degrees taken on a part time basis. If this is something you’re interested in eventually doing, I highly suggest you look into this possibility through your employer since you could save a lot of money by having their support! There are also sometimes various bonuses or packages for returning to school or specializing your studies therefore make sure to stay aware of such programs being offered by your employer.
Reviewing documents and information received after the training session
When I’ve completed a course, I always take a bit of time to review and organize the information and notes I’ve taken during the session. I’ll recycle what I won’t need in the future, organize what I am keeping and digitize what might take too much space. That way I know where to find the information if I ever need it and this step has the added benefit of allowing me to better absorb the information that was given in the course.
In fact, one of the courses I took in the last year was recently useful when Mr. Mod encountered an issue at work. A colleague of his was frustrated that the solution he proposed had not been chosen by their manager and he was engaging in complaining about this on a regular basis, which was making the days a little heavy for Mr. Mod. So I took out the documentation I had kept from the course on dealing with difficult behaviours and we even practiced examples of solutions which helped Mr. Mod manage the difficult behaviours of his colleague more efficiently.
Benefits of being committed to optimizing the training and courses offered by your employer
Finally, when your reasoning for choosing to take a specific course is well thought out, it is rather surprising to see the extent of the knowledge that you’ll gain from this training. Indeed, since you attend in a more receptive state of mind and that you’re in a better position to understand the benefits that you’ll get out of the course, you’ll likely be more efficient at discovering tips that will be applicable for yourself.
The courses I’ve taken since I changed my perspective in selecting training offered by my employer, have truly improved my work days. I am more organized and have used various methods to bring some positive changes in my organization. Furthermore, since I already have a good list of courses that I am looking forward to attending, this has had the effect of somewhat minimizing my impatience to achieve financial independence.
Have you ever followed training offered by your employer that brought you benefits going way beyond your job? Has a specific course ever helped you be happier at work?