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What’s the learning hurdle you’re most proud of clearing?

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Question: "I could have many more opportunities, and higher pay, if I learned French and could reply to emails from our French customers. At 38, though, I wonder if I really have the capacity to learn a different language just by taking a class three times a week—the local community college has a program. What's the toughest thing people had to learn for their jobs long after they left school? I'm looking for inspiration!" — Erin, Imports Staffer

See comments below, and send your own question to Admin-Pro@nibm.net.


{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Natarsha October 22, 2015 at 4:22 pm

I agree with LaTasha. At 39, a full time job, husband, and two kids, I will be graduating with my masters degree in December. Through prayer and faith, I have yet conquered another journey. So can you!

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Sandi October 20, 2015 at 1:08 pm

You’ll be 39 next year whether you learn French or not. Go for it!

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Lee October 19, 2015 at 12:30 pm

Oh my–of course you always have the capacity to learn– My mom and Dad learned enough French to comfortably travel through the Countryside for a couple of weeks when they were in their late 70’s!

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Sharon October 13, 2015 at 11:51 am

Most of my coworkers have worked for the company I work for over 20 years. They’re very set in their ways and have very little initiative to learn anything new, to reach out of their comfort zone, or to do anything extra. I don’t consider myself, at 45, too young or too old to learn new things, and this complacency drives me crazy! When you stop learning new things, you stop growing as a person. I’m going for my MBA so I can learn new things and become more of an asset at work. Change is good. Don’t limit yourself.

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Paula E. Powell October 12, 2015 at 11:34 am

Go for it! You can learn a new language. Try different methods to see which learning process works for you. But you are certainly not too old to learn; you just need the motivation and determination. Life is changing very fast so you need to adapt. Do it and you will open new avenues of success!

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Cici October 9, 2015 at 6:56 am

Rosetta Stone is a great idea, but can be pricey. Try Duolingo – a free app for Apple or Android. It’s something you can do in your spare time and it’s designed to help you learn at your own pace. Thirty-eight is not too old to learn a new language or skill. You’re at an age where you’ve learned a lot about your learning style. You’re better prepared for this challenge than you think you are.

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SK October 8, 2015 at 4:54 pm

At 38, I had a one-year-old, a three-year-old, a seven-year-old and a nine-year-old. I thought I had enough to do. I tried to go back to school and take one course per semester. It seemed too hard, so I stopped.
If I were 38 again, knowing what I know now–that I would be divorced at 56, in the job market, and needing a salary to support myself–I would learn a great many more things and bear with it. I would get that degree, even if slowly, and not give up, like I did.
At 38 you are YOUNG enough to learn all kinds of new things.
Don’t limit yourself.

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AF October 8, 2015 at 4:27 pm

I was 40 years old and just re-entering the work force after raising two children and only working very part time for about ten years. I had some limited experience in doing medical transcription in one venue only (orthopedics). I took a job at a local hospital as a medical transcriptionist and dove right in and felt like I came out the other end with a medical degree. It was by far the hardest job I ever had to learn – medical terminology is not for everyone. I ended up loving the job; but after four years took another position as an EA to a VP.

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Treva October 8, 2015 at 4:26 pm

Erin, you are never to old to learn anything. I applaud you for wanting to learn another language to better communicate with your customers. Rosetta Stone is a possible resource to learn a new language and this might be a better avenue to take than community college because you can learn at home. Honestly, the hardest thing I accomplished was school and I did it all in 4 1/2 years! As an adult student, I didn’t think it would be possible, but I am proud to say that I graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2012 with two BA’s and last year I received, with Honors, my M.A. So I encourage you to go for it! Think of all the amazing rewards and opportunities you could have once you’ve mastered the language and your employer sees how you’ve taken the initiative to successfully learn the customers’ language. Good luck, don’t delay and make it happen! :-)

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LaTasha October 8, 2015 at 4:15 pm

I’m 39 years old and I’m taking two classes each semester while working full time. I have been in the secretarial field almost 20 years at this point but I feel that it will be very beneficial to me to have a degree in business administration and to be bilingual. One day, I hope to be multilingual. I don’t have to learn these things for my current job but I know that everything I learn will be helpful to me as I move on to bigger and better things. So far, the toughest part for me is making my brain retain this information. I’m tired at the end of the day and trying to learn new concepts and then apply them in a meaningful way has been difficult. I’ve done very well in all my classes but it takes hours of work each week to get an “A”. I do the majority of my schoolwork on the weekends because that’s when I have the most time to devote to things like that. In addition to my business class I am learning Mandarin Chinese. The Chinese class only meets for an hour twice a week. Because I put in the study time (mostly on the weekends), I am doing well enough in that class to take the Chinese Certification Test in a couple of weeks. I’m not going to say that it is easy. It takes quite a bit of effort to work and take classes but I know that I will be a great asset to any company I decide to work for and I will have the degree, certification and knowledge to back up everything that is listed on my resume.

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Sharon October 13, 2015 at 1:46 pm

LaTasha-I feel the same way & wish I worked with people who had the same mindset as you! What an inspiration you are!

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LaTasha October 14, 2015 at 8:52 am

Oh my goodness, Sharon, thanks for the kind words! Your comment made my day!

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Mary October 8, 2015 at 4:07 pm

If knowing French is just for emails, try using google translate (it was shared in the November Admin Professionals Newsletter). You can copy and paste the French email into the box and it will translate it to English for you. It can also reverse it by typing the English and translating it to French. It’s the best tool!!

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Denise Cargill October 8, 2015 at 4:05 pm

I have learned how to use a PC and master many different programs and I did that at 40. (We didn’t have computers when I was in school.) In my late 40s I learned how to install, program & manage large business phone systems; a well as managing other telecom resources including multiple vendors. You are never too old to learn new skills. As I approach retirement I am seeking more new opportunities to learn something new. That’s what keeps you young and current.

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