I recently got my SCUBA diving license. Yes, me, the girl who was terrified to swim in the ocean because of the risk of being swept away by a current or stepping on a creepy crawly creature that would bite my little pinky toe off. I’m a proud PADI diver now and I could not have done it without the skills I honed at work. You hear a lot about how your class work or life experience may help you in the workplace, but today I’m going to share how my work experience helped me play.
My employer puts an emphasis on building our skills to keep up with the changing world: one way I can do this is through training. Recently I went through a great class on the Fundamentals of Project Management and I walked away with some tools that would help me build a schedule, make sure I have the right people involved, and identify major milestones along the way (to keep me on track and also as a way to celebrate wins along the way).
All of these tools pointed me in the same direction: they helped me get organized. I left the training feeling excited about how I could get organized with my personal life and my focus was going to be my current goal of getting SCUBA certified.
While I was given some tools that would help me with work (many of these tools were Excel templates and other programs I had access to), they wouldn’t work so well with my personal goal. Lo and behold, I came across a paper scheduler at a bookstore–it may not be as tech-savvy as Excel, but I think it’s prettier, and there’s something satisfying about crumpling up a piece of paper or crossing a task off a list when you’re finished with it!
Once I had something to create a schedule with, I did some research and identified the people I would need to involve in my goal of getting SCUBA certified: a place that offered the class and a place where I could get my certification. (A quick Google search and conversations with friends helped me pick a spot!) Lastly, I identified my milestones: these included signing up for a class, passing the pre-dive portion of the class, and feeling comfortable in the water. Before I knew it, I was on my way!
Another way to learn and grow in the workplace is through networking. As cliche as “It’s not what you know but who you know” sounds, it does have some truth to it. By networking, you expand your reach and knowledge through learning and asking about other peoples’ experiences. This is invaluable as first-hand experience is far more valuable than perception.
Networking in the workplace has helped me in lots of different ways: for example, I was talking to a colleague about a project I was working on when it turns out that she knew someone else who was working on a similar project. By connecting us, I was able to partner with this person instead of starting from scratch. I don’t know about you, but I like to save time and be efficient!
The same practice applied to my personal life too. I started talking to people about my goal and you wouldn’t believe how many people have their SCUBA certification! By connecting with others who are already certified, I was able to ask questions about the different licensing agencies and shops in the area. Ultimately, a good friend told me about a high school friend who had been diving for 8 years and worked at a local dive shop: because I had talked to her about my goal, she was able to make a connection and introduction that ultimately led me to my class.
At Intel, discipline is one of our core values. One of the ways we stay disciplined is by following a process. Through work, I learned to become more process-oriented and to recognize and learn the order in which things should be done. This helped me organize my thinking and actions.
This discipline and process-oriented learning was one of the keys to my success with learning how to dive. Diving can be dangerous but if you learn how to do it safely, it can be one of the most wonderful activities in the world. Because I learned how to think of activities as a process from work, I was able to think about diving as a process and learn how to do it safely. Every time I would get my gear ready, I would run through a checklist, similar to a checklist I would run through when working on a project.
This is one of the ways my work has helped with my play: it’s helped me become organized, I’ve used my work network to get contacts and information for personal goals and the discipline I’ve learned from the working environment has translated into success with personal goals. How has work helped you play?
Sejal is a Recruitment Marketing Project Manager at Intel. She is part of the team that is responsible for Intel’s global employment brand. This team helps connect candidates with Intel and Intel with candidates using channels such as the Jobs at Intel web site, the Life at Intel microsite and other Web 2.0 channels. Sejal specifically manages theJobs at Intel Blog and Intel’s recruitment Facebook strategy. Originally from Toronto, Ontario (yes—a real, breathing Canadian!), Sejal graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with her Bachelor’s in Communications before starting at Intel in 2008. When she’s not working, you’ll find Sejal working at crossing things off of her Bucket List (which includes skydiving, reading 1000 books and traveling the world), eating cupcakes or spending time with family and friends. To learn more about opportunities with Intel, visit intel.com/jobs, follow Intel on Twitter @JobsatIntel or check out the Jobs@Intel blog!