Dear Staff and Administrative Employees,

When you think of professional development, what is the first thing that comes to mind? A conference in another city? Another degree? Watching a video on LinkedIn Learning? Learning a new software program?

Professional development means different things to different people. After I finished my degree last year, I needed some serious downtime to recover from the rigor of academia. But over the last month or two, I’m ready to start again. I want to learn something new, serve in a new way, or find a project that makes me feel that energy you get when you’re learning!

(“Learning, for us, is life-giving…” McKay School Core Message)

I recently did a Google search, “What is the easiest thing to learn?” which led me to the next question, “What is the fastest skill to learn?” I then found a fun and interesting list called, “Top 50 Useful Skills You Can Learn Fast (in your free time).” This list includes everything from breathing (if you don’t know how to do that, let me know, I’ve been pretty good at it for 50+ years), how to unsend an email (definitely a useful skill), select good produce (I know where NOT to shop for good produce—half the battle), and type faster. (I used to type over 100 wpm, but not anymore; fast typing is also useful when learning how to unsend an email.) This list also includes more meaningful life skills like how to cope with stress, how to think before you speak, how to negotiate, and how to understand others’ emotions.

As you consider ways to develop yourself professionally, I hope you consider the myriad of choices you have available to you as part of the campus community and the McKay School community. Talk to each other and get recommendations. One of my favorite professional development books is Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. This was the first book in this genre that I truly enjoyed and learned from. If you’re an audiobook kind of person, the author has a gritty voice that places you right in the action and makes the experience even more gripping. I also loved the book Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. It's a book about effecting change in both you and others.

We’re here to support you and are working on some new professional development concepts. If you have questions or want to talk about possibilities, I’d love to brainstorm with you.

Your development is important to the McKay School!