The Value of Education: Learning from Books and Beyond
By: Michelle Binnie, Director of Supply Chain Management
Education has often been seen as the path to one’s first job; however, it’s just as important for continuously growing yourself and your career. Furthering my education has been massively important to my professional development, as I’ve gone back to school twice since beginning my career. However, not everyone has the support system or opportunity to go back to school, a circumstance I was in myself at times, and there are many other ways to continue learning outside of a university or college system.
The world changes on a daily basis, and those who can stay up to date with their learning will become experts in their field and gain confidence in their work. Graduating gave me a great sense of achievement, boosting my personal morale. And in turn, this positive morale impacts one’s team and the company because you become a valued and respected member of the organization.
Four Tactics to Furthering Your Education Outside of School
While I had the benefit of going back to receive a degree in business administration and later my master’s degree, others often don’t have the same opportunities. It takes a lot of time and financial commitment, which is something that prohibited me in completing my degree at first. If that’s the case for you, don’t treat it as a roadblock; instead, find other ways to learn.
First, I’m a huge proponent of mentoring, having been blessed with many mentors throughout my career. Everyone I’ve asked to be my mentor has said yes; it’s as simple as asking the question. People are often honored you asked to learn from them, hear their stories, and gain insights from their experiences, so take advantage of that to help yourself and build a team of support around you. Secondly, ask questions every day to anyone you work with whether they’re your peer, direct report or supervisor to gain a deeper understanding of the environment around you. You won’t know unless you venture to find out.
The next suggestion is to work with your manager to create a “personal development plan” – if you want to learn something new, then put it in writing and set it as your goal. You can be held accountable to achieve that goal all while having a cheerleader to encourage you along the way.
Lastly, the simplest tactic to learn: read. Read about your passions, whether it’s learning about other departments, a skill or personal desire. Become knowledgeable and use that information for your own and Jabil’s success.
Who Creates Your Success? You!
Knowledge is powerful and builds confidence which in turn can be shared with your team and aids in coaching and mentoring. I’ve always pushed myself beyond my comfort zone given my inherent need to be continually productive, and I realized additional qualifications would help me achieve the career success I wanted. Starting as a manufacturing operator for Mitsubishi, I quickly learned my talents lie with strategizing and efficiencies, both of which need you to look at the “bigger picture”, so I took on the challenge of getting my HNC (Higher National Certificate) in business administration, which led to an internal promotion at the company. When I started at Jabil in 2001, I realized I wanted to refresh my knowledge of the field and mentally grow, so I decided to embark on a master’s degree in business administration in 2013.
I made a conscious decision to go back to school to further the career I already had set in motion for myself. It’s never too late to learn again, you’re never too old to go to college, and you’ll never regret gaining confidence through knowledge.
Always make an effort to learn new things – it can only help you grow in your success!