Every year, the National Association of Black Journalists holds a convention. I missed early bird registration, so I must pay $375. A flight to the host city , Chi-Town, will be at least $200. I have a place to stay while I’m there. If I go, I won’t have to spring for a hotel room. The convention is for professional enrichment. There are workshops, parties, err, networking opportunities and guest speakers. My company is giving $100 toward costs.
Over the last year, with the changes in the economy and media industry, I’ve been brushing up my skills. I didn’t do a grad school stint, but I took some courses on new media at this place. I took a $600 course on content for websites that I loved. I took a $400 course on Flash, which made me run out of the room with my head pounding. I took a community college course for $120 dealing with new media. Heck, I even launched a website for not a small fee (think tax return spent).
I’m saying all this to say that I have been spending a lot of money upgrading my internet skills because it’s an interest of mine. I don’t regret taking the classes, but I wonder if organized learning is something I will have to factor in my budget. I know a coworker who spent tens of thousands learning video, which is all the rage at newspapers.
Is it worth it? Now, my blog has done very well. I got a mention last Saturday in America’s fav paper (other than the Miami Herald). For a writer, it’s HUGE that a reporter from the New York Times would notice what I’m doing. So maybe paying for my new skills has "paid off." Well, maybe paid off in recognition. I still haven’t "cashed in."
What do you all think? Have you had to invest in your career? Do you worry about spending too much on courses? Do you feel like it’s something you must do to stay relevant? Do you only go to career development courses that your company pays for? Do you wish you spent more money getting new skills at work? Or, do you think people need to learn how to pick up a book and self educate? Advice, pretty please.