How to Reinvest Yourself and Your Career

By John A. Vardallas

Vardallas John

Reinventing yourself is no longer a career strategy reserved for musicians and politicians. Job satisfaction in the American workplace has fallen to a record low of 45%, according to a recent survey by the Conference Board, a research organization based in New York.  

The economy is currently in a shifting mode and economists are forecasting job expansion and continued employment in many industries especially technology and service. 

The greatest threat to the future of the credit union movement is not the banking industry, fintech, companies or the regulators----it is ignorance and BAU (business as usual)!

Knowledgeable, well trained staff and volunteers are the keys to keeping credit unions operating in an efficient, productive and thriving member centric manner in the future.

The rapid technological, economic and informational changes occurring in business today make it mandatory for continuous staff and volunteer training and retraining. Embracing innovation and breaking old business models are the keys to keeping up with the Amazons and Apples of the world.

Change is no longer a force in the business environment--it IS the business environment.

We must develop a lifelong learning philosophy if we are to keep up with change.

These new change dynamics require workers to learn and update their skills and competencies as changes occur on a regular basis. As a credit union professional, you are responsible for facilitating your development process. You need to have a strategy to maintain your professional and personal edge.

To maintain your position, you’ll want to be prepared to “reset” yourself.  

This includes developing new goals, job related skills and keeping current as changes occur in the CU movement. Your development plan should include support from your supervisor and/or top management. They are the key players in your growth process and should be consulted on a periodic basis to insure your plan is lasting and successful. 

The Professional Development Process

As an employee seeking professional growth, the ultimate responsibility for implementing your career plan rests with you.

This means continually assessing your skills, interests, values and goals. Employees should take the initiative to seek growth and make decisions about career directions.

This includes exhibiting the desire for continuing education and learning.

Performing current job duties in an effective manner is a good beginning point for the career development process. Employees must bring their A Game to work every day, as well as garner the resources to make career growth a reality.

This implies finances, time and strong effort needed to accomplish your goals.

Employees should approach their supervisors in a cooperative non-threatening manner regarding their training and career development.

What to Emphasize

Emphasis should be placed on how the professional development process can improve employee performance in the credit union.

And for the number-twos waiting for their opportunity to take on the leadership reins, you may have to wait a bit longer since there will be a smaller pool of credit unions to move into and current CEOs will be staying on longer due to changes in their retirement plans. Emphasis should be focused on developing laterally, cross training, and being the unofficial VP of Championing innovation, technology, process improvement and member centric wow service initiatives in your credit union. Showing your competencies and success attributes in laying out your future vision for the credit union will help to separate your self when it comes time to interview for that number one position.

Because the credit union movement has along standing tradition of promoting staff from within, an awareness of the career ladder in our movement is essential. 

Building your competencies and positive performance experiences should help to keep you positioned for growth opportunities.

Taking advantage of local, state and national educational offerings can help prepare you for future leadership opportunities. Successful completion of these programs can provide you with new skills, experiences, professional networks and a valuable career credential.

The work environment will continue to change rapidly and be more Darwinian and you need to become a survivor by adapting to change—one with resiliency who is not thrown by crisis, defeats, or failures. 

Your future success will be measured by how much you invest in keeping your self growing and going and never letting go of your dreams.

Strategies to Consider

Some strategies to improve your job satisfaction/prospects:

  • Keep Up Your Skills & Competencies
  • Think Positive
  • Challenge Yourself To Learn Something New
  • Build Networks and Stay Connected
  • Bring You’re “A Game” to Work Everyday
  • Look for Ways to Help Your CU Be Successful
  • Learn to Think Outside The Organizational Box 
  • Reward Yourself Periodically by Celebrating Your Accomplishments
  • Maintain A Survivor Mindset     

John A. Vardallas is a Madison, Wis.- based speaker/consultant to the CU system focusing on improving profitability/performance/productivity. He can be reached at (608)577-8707 or

Section: Standard
Word Count: 969
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Copyright Year: 2019
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