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1. Move up in Your Career
From the moment you're hired you're measured as a professional by how much you can learn and execute in a given amount of time. Homework is no longer required as it was in school, but becomes a professional mandate for those who want to advance faster. Those who are curious and eager for instruction at work, and willing to take on extra assignments for what it will teach them, are headed for the fast track. It's not just about taking a class or professionally training, but also someone's drive to take as much from their work experience (and colleagues) as possible. In this way, upward mobility in a given profession is largely based on this drive for knowledge.
2. Switch Careers
It's nearly impossible for anyone to pick the perfect career path right out of college, and most people strike out at least a few times. Yet transitioning careers can be challenging, especially if you're unable to develop the new skills required for a different role. Some organizations offer the lateral flexibility with on-the-job training, but most often professionals must pursue the training on their own, through formal or informal channels. This can include taking classes in the field of interest, assisting in a consulting capacity with peers in other fields, or even pouring themselves into nonfiction reading to acquire perspective needed to attain a job in a new field. The common thread continues to be the individual's ability to learn.
3. Build Practical Life Skills
Our first foray into the real world offers a myriad life lessons completely foreign than those faced in high school or college. We may take on our first residential lease, negotiate our first salary, discover how our financial credit works and what we can do to improve it, and manage our own insurance and benefits for the first time. Aside from the skills and knowledge we acquire in our careers, it is imperative that we are equally diligent about building our street-smarts.
3. Acquire Self-Knowledge
Through our experiences, we develop an ability to examine our own minds to identify the roles, activities and priorities that make us fulfilled. Every task we complete, every team we're a part of and company we work for provides these clues as to what career will bring us the most fulfillment. It is easy to let these lessons pass us by if we're not focused on this type of self-study.
5. Feel more Fulfilled
Aside from all the practical and personal benefits, the most important truth is that learning has a huge impact on our present. Human beings are born curious, and we measure ourselves both as a society and as individuals by how much we're learning, advancing, and growing on a daily basis. There is nothing like the joy of having just figured something out, or like the satisfaction of beautifully executing something that you took the time to study and master. This then is the most important reason to learn: it's fun; it makes us happy, and gives us meaning.
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About the Author: Evan Fain is a founding team member of CourseHorse, a resource that helps people find, compare and enroll in high-quality local education from leading universities, non-profits and smaller-scale educators. Previously, he co-founded Deals For Deeds (now Recoup), helped shake up the local media space with the national hyper local news and information network Patch, and worked in management consulting.