Congratulations to the Class of 2017.
Whether you’ve just completed high school, college, a technical training program or apprenticeship, enjoy the moment. You deserve to celebrate your accomplishment.
Chances are, people have been giving you lots of advice of late. Perhaps you’ve listened to some, perhaps some has just gone in one ear and out the other.
This tidbit may fall into the latter category, but we’ll offer it anyway: While you’ve completed your course of study and collected your certificate or diploma, you haven’t stopped learning.
If you’re headed to college or technical school, you’ve got the next step in your personal and professional development mapped out. If you’re looking for entry into the workforce, you may not realize it at the moment, but you will spend your career constantly developing new skills — because if you don’t, you’ll quickly find that you won’t have much of a career.
According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, the typical U.S. worker has 11 different jobs during his or her career. People tend to change jobs every 4 to 5 years. If you want that next opportunity to be better than your current position, that means improving skills and broadening your knowledge — in other words, continuing to learn.
And even if you stay in the same field for the next 40 years, as technology changes, so will the skills required to do the job.
In today’s economy, employers value not just well trained employees who can fill a current opening, but also employees with the potential for growth to meet future needs. A new hire is an investment; companies small and large would like to see that investment pay dividends down the road.
What’s more, a better job isn’t the only reason to continue learning; learning for personal enrichment is part of leading a happy, well-balanced life.
So, again, congratulations on what you’ve accomplished so far. Now it’s time to put that education to work — by going out and learning even more.