Three years ago, when I took that big test, passed it, and then spent months preparing work product submissions, the far-off prospect of recertification didn't seem difficult—or important. Oh, I read the information about the requirements and even made some preliminary plans; but then life, as it always does, intervened.
Life happened, work happened; I responded to demanding requests and put out fires. I planned large and small projects, experienced the fruition and the frustration of them. But in the back of my brain a germ of an idea sprouted that I'd better keep on top of this and get things attended to, year by year, and not in some mad scramble at the end.
And recertification is important. You can read all about it on the Internet.
Dozens of professional and well-constructed websites will tell you about the “Top 10 Benefits to Earning a Certification,” “Why Certification Is Important,” or “The Importance of Maintaining Skills and Certifications in Your Career.” And they all have good reasons why it’s so important.
Of course, most of those pages are operated by companies or nonprofits selling certifications, so you'd rather expect them to be in favor of people getting and staying certified.
And what about my own experience?
Years ago my employer paid for me to go back to school to earn my master’s degree in adult education. It was hard work and I appreciated the opportunity to get the degree. But I was shocked and surprised that the effect that earning this degree had on my career: Nobody seemed to notice.
I might just as well have earned an advanced degree in hydrology. A degree was a requirement for getting my job, but past that, the people who made decisions didn't seem to act in any way that demonstrated their understanding of the value of my educational achievement. When discussing policies, procedures, planning, or analytic tools, the opinions of others in my department (who had little or no academic preparation or even vocational training) were valued equally—and sometimes more.
I am the first to say that I don't blow my own horn much. If I have professional failings, they probably are aversion to office politics and being somewhat of an introvert. I do my job and I do it well. Shouldn't that be enough?
Well, not always.
Three years ago, when I earned my CPLP certification, I was proud to join a professional association of peers who were experts in their respective areas. What I did not realize was that those same people I worked with would be oblivious to my certification. It never occurred to me that the same manager who would sign off on $1,000 certification expense would be totally unaware that I had achieved a certification.
Sound familiar? Obviously, relying on your certification to inform or impress people does not make a whole lot of sense. It is important for the certification holder to educate those within their organization in the meaning and significance of their certification. If you do not do this, you should not expect others to comprehend the importance of the effort you have expended to certify or recertify. What was true for my graduate degree was equally true for my CPLP certification.
As with other accomplishments, it is critical that you to advocate for your professional standing. No one else is going to do that for you.
You cannot expect the achievement of a certification to confer upon your co-workers any understanding of your competencies or capabilities. It all comes down to you and how well you educate the people you work with about the implications of your CPLP and why it can make a significant difference to your team.