development is everywhere (actually, anywhere)

You may have read a recent post by my colleague, Bryony, which introduced the Thirty30 Staff Development Festival at The University of Sheffield. Well, we’re now in November and the festival is well underway, with lots of activity taking place around campus (have you checked out the Lego Lunches and the Active Learning Sets?) and the hashtag #myThirty30 seemingly a major fixture on our twitter timeline.

One of the ideas behind Thirty30 is that “development is everywhere”. I was thinking about this in the build up to the festival as my role is to support Doctoral and Post-Doctoral Researchers with their professional development but, if I’m honest, I rarely take time to attend development events myself. I can feel a bit of a fraud advocating to others to take the time out to invest in themselves when I don’t really do that as much as I should.

I know my main barrier is that it’s far too easy to offer up the “I’m too busy to do that” excuse. So, for my participation in Thirty30 I pledged to sign up, and complete, a MOOC. It’s been a long time since I’ve done any *proper* studying and the course I signed up to has taken a direction that I wasn’t expecting by using literary analysis models, but I’m really enjoying it. I’m dedicating time every week to completing the modules – fitting in half and hour every couple of days during lunch times and some study at home. Participating requires you to contribute to online discussions and by doing this I’m learning to be less cautious at sharing my opinions; I’m happy that I signed up for this reason alone!

So if you’re like me and you’re just “too busy” to dedicate a full or half a day to a workshop, look for alternative development opportunities. Staff at the University of Sheffield have access to, an online educational tool which offers a whole host of courses in software, creative media, leadership and much more. All tutorials are delivered by professionals and can be studied at your own pace. When you complete a course it updates on your LinkedIn profile – handy!

When we’re talking about development being everywhere, we’re not limiting that to job/career related activities. I’ve looked at the Thirty30 pledge page and people have identified wellbeing goals such as meditating more and spending 30 minutes on planning their life. Again, the “I’m too busy to do that” excuse can reappear, but taking annual leave, scheduling breaks and generally looking after yourself doesn’t mean an end to your productivity and can often result in an increased output.

30 I suppose what I’m trying to convey is summed up in the three ideas supporting Thirty30. Development is everywhere, it really is; huge thanks to the AV technician who shared his video wizardry knowledge with me last week– I’ve used it today and at least two people were impressed! My development is my responsibility; the opportunities are out there, the onus is on each of us to engage with them. And finally, thinking is the beginning; take time to think about your goals, what you need to do to achieve them and commit to making a change.

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