Sunday, December 2, 2012

Your Career and You: "Professional Development: 'Periodic Maintenance for Smooth Performance'”


Moment of truth here. I’m sitting in my local tire dealership waiting for my chariot to get a new set of “shoes.” There’s a mind-numbing soap playing on the television in the lounge area, and the magazines on display would suck the intelligence from a rock.

So ample time for “thinking.” This exercise, for me, entails lots of soul-searching and angst…mostly angst.

For any of you who have read anything I’ve written, you know that I’m all about education, continuing education, and never-stop-learning education. I blog regularly about experiences both in my previous professional life as a public relations professional and in my current life as a public relations professor.

One thing that I hear time and again from my undergraduate PR students at Curry College is “I’ll be so glad when I graduate and won’t have to study all the time. I’m ready for ‘real’ life.” (I don’t hear this so much from my grad students at Regis College because most of these folks are working professionals who have figured out that ”getting ahead” entails much more than just doing what’s in the job description.)

My unchanging mantra is just this: “You have to conduct regular professional development checkups to make sure that your knowledge base is current and your skills are ‘cutting-edge.’”

What this means is that you have to read literature relating to the communication profession, including current discussion of public relations, marketing, social media…the list goes on and on. The message is…read.

It also means staying current by participating, either live or virtually, in professional development programs on topics that you are either unfamiliar with or feel that you could use a “tune-up” in.

This should be “no-brainer” advice, but we all can benefit from reminders once in a while.

I’m a pretty pragmatic guy…see an issue…examine it…deal with it. The “fluff and stuff” come as a part of the overall program planning. (And I’m pretty sure someone among you will yell at me for this wording. Sigh…)

So start local with your research. What does your local PRSA chapter have on tap for professional development? What about other communication organizations in the area?

Then, or simultaneously, look at what PRSA has to offer…both on-site and on-line. PRSA has a boatload of reasonably-priced as well as no-cost programming on a variety of topics.

Finally, look at your local colleges or universities. Do they offer programs or courses that you might be able to take advantage of? Check ‘em out. You might be surprised!

The bottom line is that professional development…your professional development…is critical to your continuing ability to provide the public relations services that your employer or your client wants and expects.

One of the "Provisions of Conduct" addressed in PRSA’s Code of Ethics is “enhancing the profession.”

This, to me, means that we…public relations professionals…have a responsibility to demonstrate our commitment to continuing education and learning in order to provide clients, employers...or students...with the most current advice and counsel possible…periodic maintenance for smooth performance.

To paraphrase my hero, South Park’s Eric Cartman, “What we should have learned here…”

See you in class!

“Properly speaking, for the public relations man, as for every other person whose life is more than unthinking routine, the process of education should never cease.” (Edward L. Bernays, “A Definitive Study of Your Future in Public Relations,” Chapter VI: Education and Public Relations)

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  2. Thanks for sharing. I couldn't agree with you more.Maintenance workforce development ensures that you get the type of training you need.

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