Wall Street can teach you why it’s important to invest in yourself. We’ve got five ways to show you how.
Wall Street is famous for many things, some good, some terrible and some involving shoulder pads and three-hour movies with Leonardo DiCaprio.
You can hate ’em, you can love ’em, but you have to admit that in one area, they get it right: Wall Street bankers invest. (Click here to tweet this thought.)
We often invest a lot in our careers at the very beginning. You choose to go to graduate school in law or business or education, or get that certificate in something relevant. But then what happens?
And often, as time passes and you stay in one job or at one company, you stagnate. When you stagnate, the stock that’s you becomes less valuable on the open market.
You haven’t invested in yourself.
When was the last time you invested in your career? If you hear crickets, it may be time to rethink your approach.
Career investments come in all sizes
You don’t have to sign up for the next round of “I’ll take that MBA!” if you don’t want to. Going to school and plunking down a large amount of money isn’t the only, or even the best, investment you can make.
Here are a few investments that can pay off right away:
1. Sign up for a certification program
You can choose something relevant to your job — project management, Six Sigma, Excel — or something relevant to what you want to do next — how to start a blog, yoga instruction for beginners, whatever floats your boat.
2. Reach out
Find a mentor in your industry or one you want to be in. Invest time in yourself to develop strong relationships with people who can help you.
Volunteer at your company by asking for new tasks or projects that will be helpful to your organization — and to your acquisition of new skills. Or volunteer in your community in a position that teaches you something for your future career moves.
Whether it’s taking on the position of treasurer because you want to get into a financial or accounting position, or serving on a board and doing communications or project management, you’ll gain concrete skills and a stronger network to shine up your resume.
4. Hire a coach
They can help you figure out what you want to do next. When was the last time you really thought deliberately about your career? Considering how much time you spend at work, what is it worth to you to love what you do?
5. Read up
Pick a subject that interests you. Or spend some guilt-free time surfing the Internet. With a little digging, you can learn about almost anything Sometimes reading up on a subject can give you the expertise or information you need — or at least give you motivation to keep going.
6. Get schooled
If you think you have your direction nailed, but you know you probably need more formal education, check out a graduate or accredited training program. Make sure it’s something that won’t completely break the bank, and that the school will help you get a job when you’re done.
Think about one small investment you can make in your career right now. Maybe it’s buying a book or taking that class you’ve been putting off. Maybe it’s emailing a potential new mentor or watching an inspiring TEDx talk. Pick one action you can do today to invest in your career — and do it.
The banker in you will thank you.
Christie Mims is an expert on career happiness. Want to invest in finding your passion… for free? Sign up to get access to a spanking fun workbook: 6 Simple Steps to Find Work You Love.