If you’re reading this, you’re improving your career. People who read the Popforms blog and newsletter are almost always people who are interested in being more outstanding and more productive in their jobs, and reading our blog is one way they do that.
But blog posts can only get you so far.
There is only so much return you can get from free resources; that’s why they’re free after all. They’re easy to produce, they’re one-sided, and they’re limited to the amount of depth one can achieve in roughly 1000 words.
And yet free resource like blog posts are as far as many people go in terms of investing in their careers.
There are lots of excuses for why. Not enough time, not enough money… But when you think about how much time you spend at work and how much potential capital you are potentially missing out on by not leveling up in a more significant way, it is probably actually costing you money not to be spending more on growing your career.
It’s kind of like investing in the stock market. If you invest a penny into a hot stock, your investment will go up. And that’s fine. But it won’t go up by as much as if you had invested $100 or even $1000. Your returns are directly related to how much you are willing to invest, and if you don’t invest much, you’re missing out on a lot too.
The same goes for your career. While there is a lot to be gained from free reading and reminder tools, there is so much more to be gained by going deeper.
This week, a case for investing in career resources like workshops and a guide to making that kind of investment work for you (including how to get your boss to pay for your career investments).
Why you should invest more money in your career
Josh Kaufman, author of The Personal MBA, explains why investing in your career is worth the money:
“…investing in your own personal knowledge and capabilities always provides the best returns. Too many people spend time and energy trying to perfect their investment approach, at the expense of developing their career. That’s a mistake.
By investing your money in books and courses that improve your skills and capabilities, you can use what you learn to build businesses that bring in tens of thousands (or millions) of dollars every year. You’ll never find a better return on investment anywhere.”
He goes on to explain that your career is your biggest source of money in your life, for most people. So it is an investment. And the more you put into it, the more money you’ll get out of it by becoming amazing and getting the benefits awarded to people who are amazing at their jobs. Promotions, higher salaries, and more opportunities.
Your career is a big part of your investment portfolio, whether you like it or not. So invest wisely.
Why a workshop is one of the best investments you can make in your career
Your skills and perspective are being shaped at work every single day, whether you like it or not. Don’t you want the input you’re getting to be as full and well-rounded as possible?
If you’re reading this blog, you probably have a boss or a mentor who you turn to for career advice from time to time. But your input on career questions is limited to the people you always go to for help, and they might not always have the best perspective on everything. As smart as they are, they are confined to their own viewpoints, which means you are also being limited by their viewpoints.
It is worth, from time to time, opening up your career learning to new voices and perspectives that can shape the way you do your job for the better.
A workshop is an incredibly simple way to open up your career development to a wide, but qualified, group of people. Under the planned lead of an experienced workshop coach, you can get real answers to your biggest career questions and draw on the experience and knowledge of a room full of other people in a similar position to you.
Executive coaches and conferences are good ways to improve your career too, but both of those options lack great positives that workshops have. With an executive coach, you get lots of 1:1 attention, but it also costs a lot and again, limits you to the viewpoint of just one person. And with a conference, there are plenty of people to learn from, but the odds that you’ll get to be coached face-to-face by someone experienced in your area is unlikely.
Plus, I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time absorbing things I hear over the course of an entire conference, with speakers only getting 40 minutes to speak on an idea that might be brand new to me. Even if I take notes, I tend to be so overwhelmed with new information coming from all directions that very little of it sticks.
It’s worth thinking about how you learn when you’re thinking about investing in your career. Some people can just pick up a book or listen to a talk, and learn everything they need. But most people aren’t that way.
Most of us (myself included) need to hear things, see things, and then test them out before they really stick. And that’s why workshops are so awesome. (And why we decided to do one of our own.)
In a workshop, you make a one-time payment to get a jam-packed day of one-on-one attention while being exposed to tons of new information and perspectives while you learn, so you can hone your knowledge on the spot.
You get the best of all possible career development worlds.
How to get your boss to pay for your workshop costs
While a $997 price tag might be a little steep for the average person to pay for one workshop (even if you can see the benefit of paying that amount for the long term returns in your career), the good news is that you might not even have to be the one to pay for it.
If you are smart and good at your job, most of the time your organization will be happy to pay for your career development.
(And if you’re not sure you’re succeeding 100% at your job, then you might want to stop reading this post. Workshops and career development investments are really best spent on people who are serious high achievers; if you’ve got other skills to hone or areas you need to improve before you’re really shining at work, then you should spend your time getting up to speed there before you spend your money or ask your boss to spend their money on a big investment in leveling you up.
Again, think like an investment. If you’ve got serious debt, you shouldn’t be investing in the stock market hoping to win big. You should pay off your debt; then look at taking things to the next level. But if you’re doing well and you’re looking for ways to get even richer, then it’s worth looking at making a big investment. Then it’s time to look at investing in things like workshops to take you higher and higher.)
But if you know you’re doing well at work, then you should ask your boss to pay or help pay for your workshop attendance.
When you ask your boss to pay for career development for you, there are right and wrong ways to pose it.
Don’t make your request a question, like “Would you be willing to pay for this workshop?” or “Would it be okay if I went to this leadership workshop?” Even though this is an investment in your personal development, your boss will be thinking about it as a business expense. So make a business case for it.
Explain why it’s valuable. What will they gain from it? How will they see the money they spend on you here returned? What will this help your team accomplish, and how does that help move the company closer to its goals?
Always come to the meeting prepared. If you have a hard time phrasing the benefits of the event on your own, you can copy and paste copy from the event website outlining the advertised benefits of the event and then apply those benefits to your org’s current needs.
And after the event, touch base with your manager to go over what you learned and to demonstrate what you’ll do to give them a return on their investment. Outline how you’ll take action on what you learned to achieve the benefits you mentioned when pitching the workshop to them.