Despite the fact that I live in Northern Ireland, and have an Irish name and complexion, I’m actually an antipodean.
I’ve been living here for nearly six years, and I’m proud of the fact that when I greet people I say, “What’s the craic?”, eat some form of potato product every day, and am acquiring a taste for whiskey.
And it struck me last week whilst walking to work, how whiskey is like professional development.
Now before you stop reading, indulge me for a moment, because despite the fact, that they seem unlikely bedfellows, let me put my case forward.
Whiskey is loved by some and hated by others
From what I’ve observed, people love and hate whiskey in equal measures. It seems that if people have been introduced to peatier flavoured whiskey too early, they are lost forever. The same can be said for professional development. Bad experiences are remembered longer, far longer than good ones, and can turn people away from engaging in professional development as regularly as they should.
A little goes a long way
Whiskey, I’ve been told by a connoisseur I know 😉 is best enjoyed in small amounts with few adornments. A drop of water, and maybe ice, although that can be controversial, is the best way to enjoy it. The same goes for professional development, you don’t need to do a lot for it to be useful. In fact in many cases, less is definetely more.
Buying whiskey is a good investment
Whiskey can last for almost forever, and if you invest in a good bottle and don’t open it, it’s price can soar. Learning is never wasted and good professional development experiences will continue to pay dividends, personally and professionally, long after the formal learning is over. Not only will it improve your professional practice, learning has a number of other benefits. Exercising your mind, for instance, is one of the recommended ways to reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s.
Millions of people surely can’t be wrong about whiskey. With time and persistence, I’m hoping to acquire a real taste and appreciation of this much loved spirit. So if you haven’t acquired a taste for professional development yet, don’t give up. Take control of your own professional learning, and find ways to enrich yourself and your professional practice in ways that work for you. You’ll soon find something that’s to your taste, and then I have no doubt, they’ll be no turning back.
Tara Walsh – Senior Learning Designer
Connect with Tara on Twitter:@TaraWalshNinja