learn new work skills

Penn Foster recently launched a short, new program geared toward helping you build the skills employers desire in the workplace. Career Readiness Bootcamp takes you through several lessons on integrity in the workplace, keeping yourself organized, and some universal soft skills you might find in a training packet when you start your first job. Though it’s called “bootcamp,” the program won’t wear you out and isn’t intense. It’s a practical, interactive guide to give you some workplace training before you even apply for a job. But what if you’ve been working for years, already? Is this certificate course just for younger students who haven’t had their first “real” job yet?

I’ve been working since I was seventeen (twelve whole years!) and have gone through a bunch of training videos, exercises, workbooks, and more while working at coffee shops, grocery stores, museums and, of course, Penn Foster. At this point, I’ve assumed that I know all I need to about the correct way to act at work. It’s just common sense, right?

Even if you think so, the Career Readiness Bootcamp lessons were actually a nice “refresher” course for those of us who’ve been working for years. I also learned some new things when I didn’t think there was anything new for me to learn. For example, one lesson that particularly struck me was an interactive study guide going over workplace integrity and responsibility. It asks you to answer open ended questions like “What does integrity mean to you?” You also answer multiple choice questions based on different scenarios. One question went something like, “What’s a more productive way of getting your work done?” The answer choices included: do one task at a time to focus on your work, multitask and complete several tasks at the same time, switch from one task to another whenever you’re bored. I thought, duh, of course you multitask! I’ve always multitasked, had a handful of projects going at once thinking I’d get more accomplished.

I clicked the answer and was actually a little put out to learn that I was wrong. I’ve been thinking for years that by multitasking, I was doing more and doing better than others. However, what I learned was that multitasking without rhyme or reason can actually put you behind in your work. It’s best to focus on one task at a time, so that you’re giving your work your all. Concentrating on one task at a time can also help you complete your day to-do work list much quicker, because you’re not bouncing from one thing to another.

I don’t like being wrong, but I do like knowing why I was wrong so I can fix things in the future. The benefit of the interactive scenarios is that it actually explains why your answer isn’t correct. Even though I’ve been working for more than a decade, this “training” review reminded me of some skills I needed to brush up on and I think it can be valuable to anyone in the workforce - and it’s always nice to be able to put completed certificates on a resume!