Formal training is a great tangible benefit an employer could provide. Informal training is learning that you gain through your managed observations, shadowing, or questioning. It is not just a result of the operations of the company. Sometimes it comes from conversations with colleagues.
[Catch up on the beginning of this series: Here.]
The prerequisite here is that you have a sense of what you are working to become. The more clarity you have with your life’s goals, the more attuned you will be to the information that will inform your development. Secure in your goals, you can reap the benefit of both ambient and specific informal training.
Ambient Informal Training
This is the type of training you get from watching how the business runs. The day-to-day operations of a business are incredibly instructive. From privacy issues to customer service, to sales, to support, to supply chain, and service chain, the complexity involved in running a business is something you must get a handle on. Also, recognize that it is rarely if ever a one-person show. Recently, I am sure that you have seen the two-person start-up highlighted: One person with a part of an idea and the other with the ability to engineer the idea. They then raise the capital to bring other inspired and capable people to the team. Let this be a lesson to you.
This is the type of training you get from doing your job or watching as other professionals do their job. I am not talking about taking trade secrets from your employer. I am talking about the insight Einstein gained while working as a patent clerk, accumulating 50 patents in his lifetime. Consider that Edison worked as a telegraph operator. Certainly, his development and ideas about electricity were shaped by those employment experiences. Alexander Graham Bell worked for a school for the deaf. He went on to create one of the greatest sound transmission devices.
I am telling you to pay attention in the context of what you want to do with your life. Find inspiration in the job you undertake. Require that there be an inspiration. Never forget the larger purpose of your employment.