The last 12 months have seen a lot of changes for me and for the profession generally. The GFC is apparently over (depending on who you listen to we never had one in Australia anyway) but times still seem to be tough for Learning and Organisational Development professionals.
My own journey over the past 12-18 months is probably indicative of a lot of people in the field. In May 2009 I was happily toiling away as the LOD Manager for a large pharma company when we got word of restructures, partly driven by budget constraints and partly by a transition to a new “global model” for HR. I can already picture some of you shivering at that thought. A global approach to HR is all the rage at the moment for multinationals – I will reserve my judgement as for its efficacy (for now). Long story short, I took a redundancy and decided to change what I did. Like many people, I think you get disenchanted by the corporate world at some point, or perhaps a number of points, in your career. I wanted to see what lay beyond the internal LOD function and decided to go out on my own and see if I could piece together a portfolio career. So far, so good on that one. In fact, I’ve loved every minute of it – lecturing at uni, studying, working in different organisations on interesting projects and meeting new people.
I give my example as one of many in the LOD field who may suddenly find themselves in different circumstances, either with their current employer or moving on to elsewhere. It’s not all bad but it can leave one with a sense of doom and gloom. From looking around the place and talking to friends and associates there are mixed messages at the moment. One the one had apparently there is an increasing demand for our services. On the other there seem to be more contract roles than ever as organisations are unable (or maybe in some cases unwilling) to commit to a fulltime, permanent arrangement. So where does that leave us?
I don’t pretend to have all the answers but I must admit that one thing I have learned over the years is the importance of keeping up-to-date on developments in the field and with your own qualifications. It’s such an easy thing to let slip when you’re comfortable in your role (mia culpa) but it’s also critical to keep yourself marketable and relevant. As I’ve commented before, the world of LOD is changing and traditional “training” techniques are fast becoming obsolete. Partly because organisations want to save money by making more learning self-paced but also because there is finally some recognition of the better learning outcomes that can be achieved with a more blended and informal learning approach.
So after all of that…my take-home message is keep current!
On a related note I have been really embracing blogs lately and found a few that I think are pretty interesting. Enjoy!
Brain Rules – very interesting blog about the brain and how we learn
Jay Cross Informal Learning – gets me thinking…
Stephen Fry – not exactly about learning but I am addicted!