Reading is a known career advancement strategy. Self-directed reading is key to earning and maintaining professional credentials. Daily reading has many benefits including increased knowledge and reduced stress, and comprises varied approaches, such as the:
- Renaissance Learning method (15 minutes of reading a day1);
- Tomas Laurinavicius method (30 minutes of reading a day2); and,
- Brian Tracy method (60 minutes of reading a day3).
When endeavoring to advance a career by reading, there are a plethora of resource choices. Examples:
- A Google search for a list of recommended books and articles offers voluminous choices;
- Many industry and professional organizations offer a variety of excellent publications (i.e., articles, journals, and research papers); and,
- Personal and professional development sections of online and tangible bookstores offer a huge selection on a wide range of topics.
An overlooked but essential resource
Often overlooked is a key document that binds all others together. This document is essential to career advancement and success. A glossary.
Learning existing and new discipline- and job-specific terminology is forward-thinking and progressive for career development. Reading a well-written glossary:
- Assists those who speak or read English as a second language (ESL) and inexperienced professionals;
- Assists with knowledge transfer when personnel move to a new company, industry, project, or role;
- Enhances the ability to more clearly and effectively communicate with others (in writing and verbally);
- Expands horizons and encourages different ways of thinking;
- Improves knowledge broadly; and
- Improves the ability to speak intelligently (especially to colleagues and professional superiors) about a range of subjects.
Refer to a glossary frequently to confirm understanding of existing, and to learn new terminology. Read a glossary to expand knowledge and keep current with industry trends. A glossary is not meant to be read cover-to-cover.
Instead, it is meant to be a reference for clarifying and unifying understanding the content of business, project, and strategic documents on the job. It is the go-to resource for reducing the risk of ineffective communication.
- Do others understand the terminology you use, or used in your business or industry?
- Do you understand the terminology used by others, or used in their businesses or industries?
Good glossaries contain useful broad and specific terminology that often focused on one common area or industry (e.g., law, engineering, oil and gas, procurement, project management, and science).
Good glossaries encourage readers to read more. For example, reading a glossary entry about welding could be a launching pad for a reader to learn more about welding processes (e.g., FCAW, GMAW, GTAW, MCAW, SAW, and SMAW).
Good glossaries are comprehensive, all-encompassing, examine specialized terminology in detail, include etymology, and provide authoritative, reliable and well-defined data that is thoroughly researched about a myriad of related topics.
Knowledge gained is noticeable and transferred
Good glossaries contain terminology related to specific subject matter (e.g., a specific industry such as the construction industry). By contrast, dictionaries contain all words in a given language – which means a dictionary contains far too much general information and not enough industry-specific information.
Clearly, a dictionary is not a glossary. But a glossary is like a dictionary in that it is very selective and specific. A glossary is like a surgeon while a dictionary is like a general medical doctor. The point of a glossary is to increase universal understanding of common terminology. A glossary provides a forum for all readers (from beginners to experts) to become informed and improve communication.
A modern, up-to-date, and well-written glossary provides precise definitions for phrases and terms, including:
- Abbreviations and acronyms;
- Brand names, proprietary names, and trademarks;
- Company-, discipline-, industry-, and project-specific terminology;
- Expressions, historical use of terms, etymology, and social influencers of jargon and slang;
- Phrases and terms used by third parties; and,
- Preferred and non-preferred terminology.
The cumulative knowledge personnel gain from regularly reading a glossary is noticeable; these personnel are generally more current and knowledgeable about terminology than their colleagues. Personnel who use this knowledge on the job are more likely to retain and share it, foster knowledge transfer, and be promoted.
My kingdom for a glossary! Where can I find an appropriate glossary?
Your company or industry is an excellent place to start. Many glossaries are available online by searching Google. For example, search for one of these industry-specific glossaries:
- ASQ Quality Glossary4;
- CII Knowledge Base Glossary5;
- Inspectioneering Integripedia6; or,
- NACE Glossary of Corrosion-Related Terms7.
Lastly, well-written technical books and reports often contain a glossary of document-specific terms.
Reading a glossary increases knowledge, reduces stress, and provides many other benefits key to career advancement and success (e.g., earn and maintain professional credentials, foster knowledge transfer, and more effective communication). Get started by reading a company or industry glossary. Then, build on this knowledge by exploring other related resources that drive business success. Happy hunting!
This article was published on the Canadian Heavy Oil Association (CHOA) blog 21-Sep-18 https://choa.ab.ca/what-reading-is-essential-for-your-career-a-glossary/. An edited version of this article was published in Stantec’s The Lens 16-Nov-20, https://www.stantec.com/en.
About the Author
Roy O. Christensen founded KT Project to save organizations significant money and time, by providing key resources to leverage expert knowledge transfer for successful project execution. The signature KT Project guideline is the glossary, Common Industry and Project Terminology, the first comprehensive terminology resource written specifically for capital projects in energy and other sectors.
- Glossary https://www.cminds.com/build-glossary-wordpress/
- Two Examples of Launching Pads for Reading. Roy O. Christensen
- Quote by Harry S. Truman
- Renaissance. The magic of 15 minutes: Reading practice and reading growth. https://www.renaissance.com/2018/01/23/blog-magic-15-minutes-reading-practice-reading-growth/
- Tomas Laurinavicius. Read Every Day to Learn from the Ultimate Mentors in Life. https://tomaslau.com/read-every-day/
- Brian Tracy. One Hour Makes All the Difference. https://www.briantracy.com/blog/personal-success/one-hour-makes-all-the-difference/
- ASQ. Quality Glossary. https://asq.org/quality-resources/quality-glossary
- CII. Knowledge Base Glossary. https://www.construction-institute.org/resources/knowledgebase/about-the-knowledge-base/glossary
- Inspectioneering. Integripedia. https://www.inspectioneering.com/topics
- NACE. Glossary of Corrosion-Related Terms. https://www.nace.org/resources/general-resources/corrosion-glossary (registration and login required)