This is going to be really short. Not that I don’t have a lot to say, but I’ve got another paper due as soon as possible. As some of you know, I’m working on a second master’s degree and these professors are not kidding. My question is, “when’s the last time you took some formal training?”

Last week I was presenting in Loudon County, Virginia and we got into a discussion concerning sharpening your saw. That means making sure you’re always upgrading your skills and body of knowledge. Doing so ensures you are always outdistancing your competition.

One of the conference attendees didn’t think taking more classes were worth anything to him, so we decided to see just how much money he was losing by not taking classes. His county government will virtually pay for any classes he’d like to take up to $3500.00 per year. They have so few people taking advantage of this benefit that they roll over budget money every single year. The gentleman I was talking to has been with the county for 13 years and never taken any classes. So let’s do the math. He has effectively returned $45,500.00 to the county over those years. He was shocked.

We didn’t stop there. We also discussed two other facts that he hadn’t considered. First, at his annual salary of $47,000.00 per year, if he took advantage of the education benefit, his annual salary would be $50,500.00. And second, taking advantage of the education is a great hedge against the downsizing epidemic. When I was a supervisor, the last people to hit the layoff list were the people I’d invested money in. Some organizations make employees promise not to leave in 2-3 years if they take the education benefit. But even if the promise is not made, ever organization hates to think they wasted money. So if they gave you $3500.00 extra this year to improve your skills, they’re not very prone to get rid of you next year.

So just how much money are you leaving on the table? And by the way, the gentleman I was speaking to last week signed up for his first college class the next day.

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Art Jackson, Professional Speaker, Executive Coach

Art Jackson

Art Jackson is a professional speaker and executive coach. He is a recognized expert in the areas of leadership, performance improvement and interpersonal skills.

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