To paraphrase Shakespeare: “To train or not to train? That is the question.”
And it is a darn good question.

Change is the only constant in our world and it is picking up speed. One only needs to reflect on life 2 years ago then compare it to 5 years ago then 10 years ago then 20 years ago to see the phenomena changes that have occurred and realize that our rate of progress is increasing exponentially. The amount of knowledge in the world will continue to grow. In 10 years I’ve heard the amount of knowledge in the world will double every 3-30 days. On top of this we are in the middle of a communication revolution. With the ever increasing cost of travel and lowering of cost of communication people from around the world will be working ever closer on projects together. These factors have lead to the new reality of life long learning.

So what does this new realty mean?

It means we are going to change the way we work.

In the past, people learned on the job. Once you entered the workforce you tended to leave the academic world behind. There may have a one or two day workshop here and there but overall you where done.

In the new world you will constantly need to upgrade your skills to keep pace with new technology. Also since people from around the world will be working on the same projects certain worldwide standards will evolve. There will still be workshops but short term certification courses that require constant professional development like PMP will become more and more a necessity. In the near future people will no longer be just in the academic or work world but instead they will be balancing between the two.

To someone in job transition what does this mean?

Within the last year certain realities and shifts in our labour force have happened.

There are two choices first spend a lot of time looking back and figuring out why this change happened or move ahead and adapt to the new world the best you can.
Training can greatly assist in this process.

However I can hear the argument now. “I don’t have time to take training I need to find a job.” I’d counter this with if you can economically afford to do training I recommend doing training. Why you ask?

1) You will have valuable skills that will set you apart from other candidates
2) They provide great networking opportunities
3) In great depression the economy fluctuated quite a bit, a graph of the stock market looks like a rollercoaster. Sound familiar? There will be upswings when people are hired then down swings where people lose their jobs. If you have some special designation you are less likely to be let go.
4) It shows a potential employer that you are serious about your career and showed you are doing something professionally development related during your job search.

So to answer the question I posed at the beginning. “To train or not to train”.
My answer is the world is a constantly changing place. Change does not have to be bad and scary experience it can be a positive and growing experience. So for all of the reasons I mentioned above I’m planning on doing training.

Cyrus Jeejeebhoy
M.A.Sc., P.Eng.