How to Keep Your Job Skills Current When a Boss Won't Approve Training

Dear Office Mom,
The company where I work won’t pay for the training I need for my job. My requests to attend external training that I need to stay current on my skills has been denied. How can I get approval? I’m ready to float my resume!
— Jill

Dear Jill,

Most young professionals need to stay current on skills, but many work at companies inadequate to provide it for whatever reason.
Make a solid business case and stop whining.  Before you say WTH? and click out, let me explain. You want something, somebody won't give it to you, and you're going to pout. That's whining. :) Here are two options:

  1. When you make your next request make a solid business case. Why is it important for the company that you hone these skills? Why you? Why now? What is the payoff for your boss and the company? How does it mesh with the company’s operational and strategic plans? If the budget isn’t there, the budget isn’t there. But,  sometimes it magically appears if you have a compelling business reason. Do your homework and look at the big picture. It’s not about you! It's got to be about the business. Explain it and have a document to back it up. Your boss may need approval so he has to sell it. Make it easier to do so.
  2. As for the whining, you can’t sit around and wait for somebody else to give you anything or help you become the skilled professional you want to become. Of course, we all want to work for a company with world class talent development initiatives, but that’s not realistic. Like it or not, the buck stops with you. Take the initiative to explore options outside of work. Learning is a lifelong endeavor. How can you source knowledge and build the skills you need on your own?  And, don't worry if it's not "formal" learning. Most employers don't care how you know something, just that you do.

Now go get 'em, boss lady!

~YOM