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When NOT to invest in learning (I'm about to save you money)

A yellow and purple sign in the shape of pencil saying 'love to learn'

Can I ask you a question? Or three?

  • How many courses have you bought over the last year or so?

  • How many of these courses have you actually FINISHED?

  • What have you DONE as a result?

  • How many course or study brochures have you looked up?

  • Have you ever thought about doing an MBA? Or another Masters? Or a PhD?

  • When you think about doing something different is your FIRST thought 'Oh, I'd better do a course for that?'


I'll let you answer that.

Yes. Thought so.

You see, I've been having conversations. And a lot of those conversations went along these lines:

'I'm starting an MBA soon. Yes, to progress in my chosen profession. Yes, I know I'm on a call with you because I'm not happy and want something else.'


'Over the last few years I've spent over $10K in courses and programmes'


'For me to do something different I need to study X first'

Sometimes the conversations you're having reflect what's happening in your own world.

Because I'm as guilty as anyone.

Something not going right in my business? There's probably a course for that!

Someone showing off great success? Let's buy the course and let some of that success rub off on me. (Or make that person MORE successful and rich, says the cynical me).

Want to change up what I'm doing? Let's see what programme or course I can do first.

I know the signs.

I also know that I'm - as Denise Duffield-Thomas says - 'procrasti-learning' and to just get on with it.

But what is more disturbing to me is this.

When I talk to some of you you tell me you want to do an MBA. Or another Masters. Or even a PhD.

But for the wrong reasons.

And don't get me wrong, I LOVE learning. It's in my Top 5 of strengths. I would always encourage you to keep learning.

But I want you to embark on the serious business of doing a serious study for the RIGHT reasons.

So, I'm going to give you THREE questions to ask yourself before you embark on that study, buy that course, enrol on that programme:

  1. Do you really - REALLY - love the subject you're about to study? Because, if you do, then GREAT. You'll LOVE it. You're likely to benefit HUGELY from it. You'll attend the classes, do the homework. The course you're about to do might be NOTHING to do with your work, but will do EVERYTHING for your happiness.

  2. Do you really - REALLY - need it to get the career you want? Sometimes you THINK you ought to do that MBA, embark on that Masters. But do you really? What is the reason you think it is required? Did your manager tell you? Is it in the job description? Do you need it to progress to the next level? Or is it a belief that you hold? About yourself and your capabilities? About what you BELIEVE you need to progress? Are you - in fact - good enough already? Do you, with your skills, your abilities, your experience and expertise - already have all it takes to do the job you want to do?

  3. Do you KNOW what career you want, and what is required for you to get it? 'I don't know what I want. But it's NOT what I'm doing now. So I thought I'd embark on this (MBA/Masters/PhD).', is what you say. But what I'm really hearing is this: I don't know what I want. I know what I know. Which is what I'm doing now. It seemed sensible to continue on this path. To do this study. And hopefully it will give me direction. It will give me connections. It will give me confidence. It will give me the courage to take my next step. Even if I don't know what that is. I'll figure it out, you know, in two years time. Or something. Is that what you want to do? Kick your decision down the road? Take deliberate steps down the path you don't know you want to go down? Build your career building strategy on HOPE?

If your answer is NO to any of the above questions, then I've just saved you £20K. And a lot of your time and energy.

Because THAT is when NOT to invest in learning.

You're welcome.

In comparison, my Career Freedom programme, in which you'll get clear on where you DO want to go and will hesitate no longer in making THAT happen, comes at a FRACTION of that price!

It will get you clear on what you WANT in your career.

You will be clear on what you're GREAT at, what you LOVE doing, what your VALUES are, what's IMPORTANT to you.

You'll know what life and career you want to create for yourself.

You'll have tested IDEAS for your career, so that you KNOW that your next steps are the right ones.

AND you'll have created a plan and taken REAL steps to make your new - happy - career a reality.

With FOCUS. And confidence. And a spring in your step.

I'd say that's a bargain.


Tineke Tammes is an ICF credentialed Career Coach, who supports professional women in making successful career transitions into work they love! Besides that she is also a lifelong feminist, part-time portrait artist, never-only-read-one-book-at-any-time reader, and obsessive doodler. Oh, and she knows a bit about change management too.

Follow her on LinkedIn, or better still, why not book a free Introduction Call?

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