5 tips to own work and upskilling

John O'Keeffe 22.02.2017

After having the quarter life crisis of “what am I doing with my life?” - I decided to return to education to upskill.

I was working as a Customer Service Manager in retail, dealing with customer issues daily, generating sales for the organisation and also administration of a busy retail store. One day I decided that I had reached my peak. It was time to return to education and change the direction of my career. It was a big decision to make, but the attitude I adopted was “short term pain – long term gain” and this really helps keep me focused when I have assignments pouring out of my ears. It can be hard to balance the demands of full time employment as well as the extra demands of education, but the below tips are ones I found really useful. 

1. Stay organised

I know – I can imagine you saying, “easier said than done, John!” However, if you can master this skill you will be at a serious advantage. Make a schedule of your assignments and start planning and prioritising based on the most important – bearing in mind the weight of each assignments – putting assignments that are worth more to your final grade as a priority. 

2. Use social media – and not to procrastinate 

My class group have created a group on Facebook to update each other, ask silly questions, post useful documents and ultimately support each other on an informal basis. This has really helped my class group to stay on top of life in college. 

3. Keep your employer in the loop

It helps if the skills you intend to upskill are related to your employment. Make your employer aware of your intentions, and give present the business case of your decision to upskill, and how it may benefit them. I have been lucky, my course and full time job are closely related so I can piggy back off the experience of my day-to-day role and my colleagues. Their input helps me to be a more rounded student. Also most progressive employers have leave available to you for your studies. By letting your line manager know of your plans, they can assist you with the benefits available in this regard. 

4. Sleep

It’s so basic but so valuable. Work can consume a lot of headspace on a day-to-day basis. It can be challenging to have room left for studies. Having a good sleep pattern really does help. You are brighter with more sleep and this has a positive impact on your retention and concentration while in class. It also helps reinforce everything you have learned. 

5. Remember why you started this journey

Motivation fluctuates, that is normal. But when it’s becoming too much, think back to the reasons why you made this decision. You have a goal, keep that goal in mind, and use it to muster up that motivation you’re lacking. You want a promotion, you want a higher salary, you want to change your career, whatever your reason, keep it to the front of your mind and build your attitude around it. 

If you need any advice on how to manage, please feel free to get in touch with me through the channels below.

John O'Keeffe's picture
Senior Customer Experience Specialist