The second reason to learn something new is for helping others. As I mentioned in my last post the InDesign skills that I learned mostly on the job at my business made me the go-to coworker at my day job. In other words, because I had gotten pretty good at the program I was then able to help people who needed it.
2. Helping Others Helps Us
Back when the internet was new to most of us, I was working for an advertising and promotion agency. I foresaw that learning web design would be a useful skill to have. My boss at that job was not seeing it that way so I had to learn it on my own. Eventually I convinced him to cover the cost of a course on HTML. With that class (on a series of CDs) I was able to get up to speed enough to design our first website.
A previous employer’s first website.
Once the site was up and running the Account Execs could sell the agency’s “expertise” to our clients. It wasn’t long before I was designing the first website for Hellmann’s Mayonnaise, one of our biggest clients.
My design for Hellmann’s first website.
That says to me that learning something new can have real career advantages, even if you do it mostly on your own time and on your own dime. I was at that job 10 plus years after that and I look back on the experience when I need motivation to invest time and money into learning something new today.
Next Week: Reason Number 3 To Learn Something New!
In my own business, I have to be open to learning something new pretty often. It’s because opportunities come up that require a different skill than I have but that I can acquire without much effort if I want to. That brings me to this blog post on three reasons to learn something new. The first is below. The next will appear in my next two posts so stay tuned.
1. It opens up new opportunities
Like I said, sometimes I get offered a new assignment that is not something I’ve done before. So I open up my Lynda.com account and search for the courses they have on it if available. Then I start learning!
Learning by doing
I just got a job revising an ad created by another designer in a program named Sketch. It’s a program I’d learned about once and knew would be a good one to add to my skill set. I would need to get the program to do the job and luckily my client agreed to pay for half of the cost. Then I dove into the online course on it and learned enough to do the project.
Sketch, a Mac-only program
Learning has career benefits
Up until 2012, I had only a beginner’s knowledge of Adobe InDesign. In a past job, I worked in QuarkXpress. That was great because it helped me land a job at a corporation’s in-house advertising department that used that program. In my business though, I knew I needed to get up to speed on InDesign, which seemed to be becoming the industry standard. So I learned it by doing all my client work in it. As it happened I was getting several projects that involved longer documents like white papers and ebooks. That helped me at the day job when they gradually switched over to InDesign. I was quickly becoming the go-to expert my co-workers relied on when they couldn’t figure something out.
Thanks in part to the way learning something new opened up opportunities for me I was able to take on the challenge of growing my business, enough to do it full time now!
(To be continued.)