By Jim L. Smith
Thinking about buying the latest business book or taking a training class? The book or class might benefit your organization, so you think “maybe the boss will agree to pay for it.”
What do many people do? It is not uncommon for people to avoid the discussion, so they miss the opportunity. However, you might be surprised at your organization’s willingness to reimburse expenses for this learning opportunity.
Within many organizations, not only can you expense that book that may change the way work is done, but you can probably take a course at the organization’s expense (and perhaps even get some time during work hours to devote to the learning).
Why would an organization do this? Bottom line, as a rule, organizational management does not do something without getting something in return.
Reimbursing employee expenses for training is a great deal for the company. The employee gets paid the same, but now they are smarter, more engaged, and more skilled. In short, a valuable asset!
Plus, it is a wonderful deal for the employee. Management notices people who apply the new learning to their work performance. These people typically see greater merit increases and promotional opportunities.
It is interesting to consider why so few people take advantage of this extraordinary perk.
One reason might be people are so busy with their nose to the grindstone, they never think to seek out this opportunity. It takes time, thought, and initiative to consider possibilities and plan for meaningful discussions with the boss.
A second reason is that learning might remind you of school, and alas, school has created bad associations for some people who may have been hurt by the command-and-control mindset of industrial education.
However, it has been my experience the main reason is that people are afraid. Afraid to ask the boss, afraid to assert their desire to learn something, and afraid that after they have learned it, they will not be able to live up to the increased expectations. Even as I write this, I hope you can see how silly this is, but it is true in many instances.
Relentlessly lowering expectations can work in the short run (remember George Costanza, a character in the American television sitcom of Seinfeld played by Jason Alexander), but it is hardly a strategy worthy of you or your next 10,000 days at work.
Try this over the next few days: Spend a few minutes deciding how you can benefit yourself by making your job easier and help your organization at the same time. This will make it easier to get acceptance.
Enroll. Engage. Learn. And level up to a new work level. Approach your boss with your idea and seek out feedback. However, do not let the possibility of rejection deter your next step. After all, you will be the primary benefactor of the new you!
Think about it…
About the Author
Jim L. Smith has more than 45 years of industry experience in operations, engineering, research and development and quality management.