October 2020 – Jacque Walton

Jacque Walton , Service Executive

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know” – Continuous Learning is Key

Ever heard the saying, “Change is Constant”?  This is a loose translation of a quote from the Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, saying, “change is the only constant in life.”   Unless you are living in a cave on a island, that statement very much describes today’s world.  Especially, in the business world, change is constant and necessary to keep up with technological advancements.  The only way to thrive is for you to also constantly change, and that means constantly or continuously learning. AT&T offers many ways to learn a new skill or just increase your knowledge to help you stay informed and relevant.

As a strong proponent of education, I challenge everyone to enroll in classes, attend webinars, or just read an article or book about something that piques your interest and know absolutely nothing about.  Bite-sized pieces of knowledge can be powerful and go a long way towards helping you grow professionally and personally.  Of course, you cannot know everything about every subject, but familiarity can spark curiosity or conversations.

You may say you are too old, or there isn’t enough time, or I don’t know what I want to know.  Those are just excuses.  Excuses cause you to miss out on growth opportunities that could potentially lead to an exciting new career in an area you never thought you would be qualified for.  You are never too old to learn.  As long as you are breathing, you are learning – such as, how to cope with the changes brought on by the pandemic, how to home-school your children, take care of the house, and handle working from home at the same time – situations force you to acquire new skills.  So, actively engaging in learning, at any age, should not be an excuse if you want to keep up with an ever-changing world and keep your mind active and young.

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.” ~ Henry Ford

Finding the time to learn can be challenging but is not impossible.  If you can find time to watch T.V. or hang out with your friends, you have time to learn something new.  You do not have to commit to hours of classes or reading.  Simply take 30 minutes or an hour to start that new book or start on one of the learning paths offered in AT&T’s Personal Learning Experience (PLE) portal or AT&T University (TU).  The Business, Leadership, and Technical Skills Development Programs offered by The NETwork, are a great place to start.

You say you don’t know what you want to know.  Well, consider this; after an abbreviated collegiate foray to earn my Associates degree in Accounting. I left college to enter the job market.  Later, realized I was missing something (and that I really did not like accounting).  Years later, when I was in my early 40s, I returned to college to study Organizational Management and earned my bachelor’s degree.  I continued, and by my late 40s, I had earned my M.B.A.  In my mid-50s, I decided to pursue a Doctoral degree and completed all but my final dissertation, which was sidelined by my mother’s illness and ultimate death.  I may still go back and finish that final degree or I may not, but for now, I have the solace of knowing that I can do it; I am not too old, I can find the time, and exploring new subjects can be fulfilling and motivating.

I finally realized I loved learning new things and having a broad repertoire of knowledge about many different subjects.  You just have to find what interests you and realize that you do not have to master a topic to study it; rather, just be curious.  Having completed many of the learning paths offered by AT&T, has piqued my interest in several areas, and although I still need to work up the nerve to delve into Cybersecurity (it seems fascinating to me), I know that continuous learning is the key to staying relevant, informed, and growing.

The skills acquired through continuous learning are applicable in a wide variety of jobs and will help you cope with our rapidly changing world and will keep you agile and spry!  Lastly, I will leave you with this: The beautiful thing about learning is nobody can take it away from you.” ~ B. B. King