HR Insights

Are You Committed Enough to Invest in Yourself?

invest-in-you

“I don’t read this crap. When someone gives me an article to read, I just say yes I will. I don’t read anything anymore. When I leave work, the last thing on my mind is HR.”

This was from one of my HR peeps.

My thought was, “boy they have checked out.” Not only that, but they have checked out and don’t even know it.

Do you “invest in the night?”

My favorite TV channel is CNBC. When I get home at night, that’s what is on my office TV. But the other night I noticed something new on CNBC — their new marketing push with the tag line, “Invest in the night.”

I love that phrase because it says a lot about what we all do for a living no matter what your career is about. Are you investing in it, or, has it become a dormant asset?

My commute routine at the end of the day is the same as it has been for as long as I remember. I cull 10-15 articles from across the Internet that I want to read and digest on the way home, and it is always all HR/organizational development for me.

Yes, you must invest in yourself, so I “invest in the night.” That’s because once you embark on your chosen profession you must create a process of investing in yourself. That is the ultimate ROI.

Getting a fix on your career ROI

One of the advantages of the Internet is that it has enabled us to move past weekly or monthly magazine articles. We now can read any number of different articles, blog posts, or other information about our profession daily across the globe. Thought leaders are more accessible on the various social media platforms, and some of the most thought-provoking bloggers are putting out first-rate stuff. There are web sites dedicated to any and every profession imaginable.

Are you interested in what you do? That is, are we interested? If your career was an investment portfolio, what would be your rate of return?

To get an adequate return, you have to invest in the right assets. That means you have to be cognizant of the issues facing your profession, your organization, and your industry. Your head has to be out of the sand.

To add value to your role and your career, you must invest in it. In professional sports, the really committed players watch game film all day whether at work or at home. They study — and then study some more.

Are you really committed?

A 9-to-5 career, if that is your model, is a recipe for career failure. Because of the constant change that is swirling around all of us and our organizations, it does not matter where you are. We are all in the middle of the storm. And by the way, when I mention the negatives of being a 9-to-5 person, I am not talking about having to be a workaholic instead. I am talking about being committed to what YOU chose as a profession.

Our only solution is to prepare and then prepare some more. Read and then read some more. Analyze and then analyze some more. Even people that have reached the pinnacle of their careers must still continually invest in themselves to stay relevant.

Yes, they really do invest and we all should be investing in our most important asset — and that is, ourselves and our career. It’s not just something you do if you work in HR; whatever your career choice is, you must invest in it.

Remember that commercial from a few years back that said, “be the best you can be?” That’s what I’m talking about.

Time to re-invest in yourself

Take a moment and look at yourself in the mirror. Are you striving to be the best you can be? How valuable are you to those around you? Do you stand out as an asset, or do you simply slip through the day with an eye on the clock?

If that is you, you will do yourself a great favor if you get out while you can. If you do not have the burning desire to invest in yourself, it may be time to load your belongings up and ease on down the road.

Hopefully, that future state will reignite whatever you need to power up your ambition and have you ready to “invest in the night” once again.

Use every opportunity to get a little better. Use every moment to get excited. If you don’t, somewhere along the line you will regret it.

Ron Thomas is a Chief Human Resource & Administrative Officer currently based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He formerly was Director, Talent and Human Resources Solutions at Buck Consultants (a Xerox Company) and is certified by the Human Capital Institute as a Master Human Capital Strategist (MHCS) and Strategic Workforce Planner (SWP). He's also worked in senior HR roles with Martha Stewart Living and IBM. Ron serves on the Harvard Business Review Advisory Council, McKinsey Quarterly Executive Online Panel, and HCI's Expert Advisory Council on Talent Management Strategy. He also serves as a Faculty Partner and Executive Facilitator at the Human Capital Institute. He has received the Outstanding Leadership Award for Global HR Excellence by the World Human Resource Development Congress in Mumbai. Contact him at ronaldtthomas@gmail.com, or on Twitter at http://twitter.com/Ronald_thomas.
  • HumanNatureAtWork

    Great article Ron. I was just talking with an HR friend of mine how amazed I am at the difference between the “corporate folks” I interact with vs. the entrepreneurs in terms of their hunger to learn and grow, and thei overall curiosity.
    I think everyone reading your article would benefit from asking “If I were an indpendent contractor and my employer were actually a client…would the amount of value I am providing right now keep them as a client?” and “Would there be other things I would be doing to provide more value (such as investing in my professional development more)?”

    I really hope people use your article to do some soul searching.

    Thanks,
    David Lee
    http://www.HumanNatureAtWork.com

  • http://twitter.com/TLBurriss Teddy Burriss

    Investing in yourself, not just your career, but your life, is a key tactic to overcome being a permanent cubicle resident, a dying cog, a working stiff or a direct deposit balance checker. Invest in yourself & grow. Thanks for the poke Ron.