I want to learn new skills, but boss is a roadblock



Q. I’ve asked my boss about upskilling: I want to learn new skills and get certified. He told me no because he’s afraid I’ll leave. I know there’s money in the budget. Help!

A. You have a few options. First, bigger picture — what is your future like there? Sounds like your boss wants to prevent you from advancing, so my concern is the longer you stay, the longer you won’t get ahead. If he’s blocking a certification when there’s a budget, what else will he block? Can you have another conversation and point out how committed you are to your role and the organization and this can help you boost sales or whatnot by learning the skill — it makes you a more valuable employee.

If he still says no, I would pursue it anyway. And pay for it out-of-pocket, checking with a tax accountant to see if it’s tax deductible. Even if you have to pay, it’s an investment that could be well worth it.

Another option is to go above your boss’s head to get approval from his boss. This reminds me of the quote, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” You will find a way to make it happen. You deserve to upskill — everyone does! You’re being proactive in your skill set to stay sharp.

Q. I’m organizing a softball team to play other companies in the summer league, but I don’t want to leave anyone out. We’re competitive, but everyone isn’t interested. Can I still do this?

A. Team sports can add interesting dynamics to the workplace. On the one hand, they can boost morale, collaboration and teamwork! On the other hand, they can be counter-effective and occasionally unintentionally exclude people, especially people who don’t have time after hours for consistent commitments, such as single mothers. Back at the office the next day everyone may be high-fiving and that person may feel excluded.

Talk to your boss about dynamics, but yes, you can still do this but hopefully there are ways to be inclusive such as having a team strategy meeting perhaps in the office to include everyone and let them know it’s OK if they’re not interested.

There also may be other ways to drum up interest such as managing swag and schedules if they’re not into playing. Don’t force it though, especially the competitiveness (while that’s usually a good thing, the last thing you want is colleagues on the injured list!). You may want to think of other ways to get people involved aside from sports like group birthday celebrations and more.

Vicki Salemi is a career expert, former corporate recruiter, author, consultant, speaker, and career coach. Send your questions to hello@vickisalemi.com. For more information, visit www.vickisalemi.com and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @vickisalemi/Tribune News Service



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