Reading never was top of my priority list, not for school or personal enjoyment and certainly not, when it came to professional development. When I first started my career, fresh out of college, I thought I was done with reading novels, textbooks and Cliff Notes! My first job was also my first relocation, to the tune of 1,000+ miles away from home. My new boss sent me along my way with reading material, Who Moved My Cheese, by Spencer Johnson, a book about dealing with change in your work and life. I thought to myself, yeah ‘both are changing but I don’t need to read a 95 page book about it, I am living it every day’ and I was done with required readings, that was not in the job description! Well when you’re 1,100+ miles from home, working in a small office where 95% of your co-workers are 20+ years older than you, your social calendar can be a little empty that first week or two. I found myself picking up that book to read out of boredom one night. There were some parallels I could see between these mice and my life, but I was glad to see the end, and shelve that one!
Unfortunately, I kept this attitude through too many of my influential, professional development years as a young person in the working world. Around year seven or eight, as I became more involved in business planning activities, I realized that successful people all around me were referencing books they had read or were reading, and applying them to whatever scenario we were planning. As part of my role at the time I was conducting trainings for college students and again there was my boss with a book recommendation. He had recently head the author speak at a conference and read her book now he thought I should mention it as a resource in my trainings. Well you can’t promote a book if you haven’t read it! So I did, They Don’t Teach Corporate in College, by Alexandra Levit. Wow. Everything in this book was dead on! They sure as heck don’t! Why had I not read this book in year one of my career, what a difference it would have made? And what else was I missing out on because I wasn’t reading? Professional Development books provide deep insight on such a variety of aspects in your career; how to deal with your co-workers, how to be better at your job, outside factors that impact your job, company and industry!
I still don’t love reading but it’s a little higher on my priority list and I’ve even read a few books for enjoyment – a certain trilogy of books released in 2012 convinced me that reading can be addicting. I also travel a lot and discovered audio books, game changer! I now find myself referencing books I’ve read when I speak to groups, in meetings, and during business meals. I rush to make note a good book when a speaker, client or co-worker mentions a book they recommend for professional development. Next to news worthy current events, professional development books are my second favorite small talk topics for business meals, football and golf don’t stand a chance when dinning with me!
The old saying ‘Leaders Are Readers’ is very true! So over the years our AgCareers.com Team have polled our clients, friends and added our own personal favorites to our Leaders Are Readers board on Pinterest. I encourage you to check out the list, send us your additions and read!