Career Capital: Are you depreciating?

Picture of stacks of coins, decreasing in height, as a metaphor for career value decreasing over timeIt’s the end of the financial year again – the time for mass EOFY sales, last-minute company purchases… and reluctantly finalizing my tax return.

Working my way through receipts the other day – and always keen to distract myself from tax – I found myself thinking about my earliest lessons in investing, from my Dad.

As a savvy businessman, he was keen to raise his kids to understand money – to really understand its value, know how to grow it, and know how to save it.

But to 6 year old me, cost of living, inflation and depreciation were completely confounding.

How could £10 – a massive sum! – possibly change value?

How could £10 become less valuable in 10 years, than it was now?

It hurt my head.

Of course, I understand the concepts these days… but I think depreciation still has the power to confound people, particularly when it comes to careers.

Because if our cars and computers depreciate over time, so – without care – do we.

We often talk of our home as our biggest investment; our single most valuable asset. In my work as a career coach, I beg to differ…

Your biggest asset is you.

Without doubt, you’re the most valuable piece of kit you’ve got. You’re also one of the best places for you to invest, looking to the future.

I’m not just talking financial investment here. Adding value goes way beyond cash outlay… I’m talking ‘big picture’, about investing in yourself, your life and your livelihood.

Here’s 3 key ways to invest in yourself…

1. Invest in your learning

In an increasingly knowledge-based economy, your knowledge is your future. If you want to maintain a viable career as the world shifts and changes around you, then knowledge really is power.

Ask anyone working in the field of careers or employment; life-long learning will be key. We’re all going to need to keep growing, to keep pace and keep ourselves marketable. We need to see and track the trends, to stay ahead of the curve…

The good news? There’s never been an easier, or cheaper time to keep learning.

We take it for granted, but information that was once the preserve of the wealthy, powerful and elite is now available to all of us – online, in books, through documentaries. TED, LinkedIn, MOOCs – we can follow, subscribe to, and learn from the best in any field.

Take advantage! Grow your knowledge, and you grow your value. 

2. Invest in your relationships

Want to build long-term career capital? You need to grow your networks.

In an increasingly connected world, where reputation’s key and jobs go through people, we all need to invest meaningful time in people, groups and communities.

It’s not about collecting business cards, shaking hands and tallying connections – it’s about quality, not quantity. You need to build genuine relationships, be part of a community and be of service. To help, support, know and be known.

After all, it doesn’t matter how much you know, if no-one knows you…

3. Invest in your reputation

… and in an increasingly digital world, that includes your digital presence. It may be the first ‘you’ that someone meets, and it’s the ‘you’ that’s always there, facing the world, when you’re off doing other things.

If you’re reading this, then you’re already a step ahead – you’re already opening up a world of digital opportunity. How far you go will depend on how genuine you are, how much you engage, and how much you contribute to your communities.

It depends on how much of yourself, your time and personal energy you invest – both on-line and off-line. Whether you’re giving… or taking.

What do you want to be known for? 

Next time you’re working on your finances, I encourage you to take a break, think beyond figures, and reflect on your wider career capital…

To stay employed and employable – to sustain a viable career – you need to invest in yourself, your knowledge and your networks.

Without that, you’re depreciating.


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