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Read: Five ways to keep learning about the plumbing industry

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Think you know all you need to about plumbing?

Many skilled people feel they don’t have anything new to learn in their chosen field, but as soon as you start thinking that way, you start falling behind.

Having employees who will improve themselves over and above company-sponsored training is critical to a business that wants to innovate and improve. That is also why the Plumbing Industry Registration Board’s (PIRB) Continuous Professional Development system is so valuable to any plumber and plumbing business. This is ultimately important because it ensures a person to stay competent in their profession.

In a new article for Plumbing Magazine, Walt Grassl gives us an anecdote: 

Eleven years ago, Ben got a summer job working in the mailroom at a local business before he started college. The company had been in existence for over 60 years and was run by Jack, a longtime employee and company legend who started in the mailroom. Three weeks into the job, as Ben was on his way from the basement to the top floor, the elevator stopped and who should enter but Jack. He smiled at Ben, introduced himself, and mentioned that he had started out in the mailroom. As they exited the elevator, Ben asked if Jack had any advice for him.

“Never stop educating yourself,” he said. “In fact, come into my office and let me elaborate. I have 15 minutes before my next meeting.”

Jack proceeded to share these five principles for continued education:

1. Take responsibility for your education

You alone are responsible for your education. Whether or not it makes sense to invest in formal education, there are free and for-fee learning opportunities available to everyone. The PIRB, for example, also provides plumbers with the necessary tools to learn and stay up to date with changes in the plumbing industry.

2. Don’t expect entitlements

Time in service should be no guarantee of advancement in a successful business. It is what an employee learns with his or her experience that determines the value of the service time. In other words, if you put in your time, you are guaranteed nothing.

As your time with the company grows, seek lateral transfers or increased responsibility without necessarily a corresponding increase in title or pay. Realize you are making yourself more valuable to your employer, and view growth assignments as an investment in yourself.

3. You cannot rest on your laurels

Many employees feel that they do not have anything new to learn, and they become complacent. They decide they don’t need to put in any more effort and stop striving for success.

When you reach a goal, celebrate your success, but then identify your next goal and begin to take action. When you stop moving forward, you are actually falling behind all the others who continue to move forward.

4. Stay current

You need to stay up to date with industry trends by reading industry news and blogs. If you are seeking or moving into a management position, read leadership books and blogs. New trends are frequently entering the workplace. You have a choice: be aware of and lead the change, or try to catch up — or, worse, resist the change.

5. Respect generational differences

A big issue in many industries is getting several generations to work well together. Each generation has different learning and working styles. Educate yourself on the differences between generations, the issues these differences bring to the workplace, and things others are doing to address the issues.

You can use this information to change how you interact and, to the extent you can, help your company improve its processes.


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