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Sharpening My Skills

Continuing education allows professionals to sharpen their skills to get ahead in the workplace. Photo by Joe Zachs.

During my career I have had a number of opportunities to rise up the corporate ladder which have passed me by. People who were hired at the same time as me are two, three and even four rungs above me, and I’ve been watching them climb while I continue along—business as usual.

There have been a few opportunities for me to take professional development since I began; most of my colleagues have taken Project Management certifications and other programs which sharpen their organizational, managerial skills. I wanted to focus on my family though—when I started I had recently married and my husband and I were concentrating on starting our family. My children are in high school now, though, and the time has come to focus on climbing the pyramid! (Let’s be honest, my 14 and 16 year old could do without the extra attention anyway!)

The first major hurdle was deciding that I wanted to return to a university. My last experience was great, don’t get me wrong! Of course, I didn’t pick Tulane for—let’s  call them—academic pursuits… I had heard Mardi Gras in New Orleans was a can’t miss (if you ever have the chance, by the way… okay I’m getting off-topic). Anyways, my university experience was more focused on the “experience” part and less on the “university” part, but it did what it was supposed to, and my English degree got me my job. But going back to university as an adult… I honestly didn’t want to be lumped in with a group of 20-something alcoholics, nor was I particularly interested in doing group work, lectures or anything else with them. My kids and their friends are about all the youthful abandon I can handle.

That’s the beauty of this program! You have to be at least three years removed from graduation from your bachelor’s degree to even be admitted into it. More than that, you need at least three years of relevant work experience to qualify.

I don’t mean to be rude, but this is honestly phenomenal for me and—I would imagine—people in my position. We don’t want to be taking courses with kids who have the same age, maturity level and experience as our children. We don’t consult our children when we have trouble at work, why would we consult people exactly the same as our kids when we’re doing programs meant to advance our jobs?

So, if it wasn’t obvious, I’m really excited for my program to begin! I have to complete 36 credit hours to be awarded one specialization, and I can do another 12 and come out with two specializations (I’m thinking Human Resource Management and Interdisciplinary), a Masters and a new expressway towards promotion!

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