So many times I have heard from an interviewee that their current or (and) past employers have not provided sufficient means to extend their professional education, or the job has been so mundane that it involved no inherent learning. This usually comes from those not really up to the bar, so these type of revelations are meant to explain the shortcomings of the individual and register a promise of fast growth in order to fill the gap. There is nothing innately wrong in trying to sell one’s future self, and I have no doubt that the majority of them has at least the desire and at most the ability to make it work.
Except for one nuance. Your growth is your responsibility.
The modern infrastructure for work and study leaves absolutely no excuse for stagnation. Assuming you are employed at the most routine job I can possibly imagine, there are still a myriad ways to catalyze your professional growth even without quitting (although you perhaps should anyway). Get a more substantial freelance contract, volunteer at relevant initiatives, build something of your own, read, read, read…
That’s an awful lot of stuff to do, and it requires an equally awful lot of time. And yes, it’s going to dilute your leisure time significantly.
Professional growth requires investment of personal time.
There is no workaround to this law. There is no formula that can get you there on a nine-to-five work schedule. Sure enough, everyone grows to some extent simply accomplishing their day-to-day job responsibilities diligently. This “extent” is highly dependent on the nature of the job itself, and the more fulfilling your work is, the higher is the return of every minute you invest on top of that.
Many companies are investing heavily in their personnel. There are often perks and benefits that are universal, but only select individuals are getting the best opportunities. As a manager, I’m not interested in spending chunks of limited budget on employees who don’t even want to spend their own time on themselves. Those who do, eventually get an “unfair advantage” over the rest of the pool, doubling up their growth channels. Ever seen a new inexperienced employee bypass a bunch of old-timers in record time? This mechanics is exactly what’s behind such exploits.
Those who invest personal time in their professional growth, get many additional opportunities “for free”.
Between any two professionals with comparable skills, I always prefer the one with less experience. The rationale is obvious — skills are function of time. If you put in the daily hours, you can usually get away without putting in the years. This applies equally both to talent acquisition and to talent retention aspects. Employees who show no potential for growth are managed out. They are handed fewer promo