For the first time in five years since I finished my Master’s degree, I’m going back to school. Well, sort of. I’m completing an online certificate program, part-time. Because, as it turns out, working full time, and having a blog and sometimes podcast (with other side podcasts in the works), means that my time is not what it used to be. Oh yeah, and that pesky thing called a mortgage still needs to get paid every month.
This isn’t the sort of thing I’ve written about here, but I think it was worth sharing since it’s probably going to have a not insignificant impact on my work here.
Why even bother going back to school? Well, given that I have two degrees already, I think it’s pretty safe to assume that I like learning. when I was setting up my binders for the two courses I’m taking this fall (and yes, I know, binders are so 2005), I was so excited by the prospect of learning something new. I also love being organized, so the binders play perfectly into that.
I’m not the kind of person who believes that you can (or should, frankly) have one job or career for your whole life. Let’s ignore the statistics that show that we are likely to have 5 or 6 major career changes in our lives. Beyond the numbers, I just get bored easily, in jobs. I’ve been in my current position for two years and that is the longest I have ever been with one organization before.
I saw a tweet a couple of years ago now that still annoys me when I think about it. The general vibe was, ‘if you get bored easily in your job, the job isn’t the problem’. First of all, Mark (fake name), I don’t appreciate the personal attack. Second, people can get bored. We change our minds about what interests us or we up-skill and outgrow jobs (which is increasingly relevant in our current economy).
I’ve been doing the same kind of job for almost five years. I got hired in marketing right out of grad school, despite that not even remotely being what my education is in, and I have yet to stray from the marketing model. So yeah, it’s fair to say that I’m getting a teensy bit bored of the status quo. That’s not to say I want to leave my current organization. But, I don’t want to turn down opportunities to enhance or broaden my skill set when they present themselves.
Given the personal finance sphere I sometimes find myself in, I genuinely wondered if going back to school made financial sense. If I want to reach financial independence, and/or retire early, spending precious dollars on tuition didn’t make sense. That money would be better off being invested and letting the benefits of compound interest work its magic. However, thanks to the personal development gods at my organization, I not only receive a MASSIVE discount on tuition, I can also submit a good portion of it for total reimbursement. (Don’t get me started on how it is fair that I, as a salaried employee, have access to cheaper tuition than full-time students. it doesn’t make sense to me).
As I have been in my field for so long (lol five years is an eternity, folks), I started to keep my eyes peeled for other fields that may pique my interest. Thanks to an opportunity I had to sit on an interview panel for a human rights position that was recently hired at my organization, I had the great idea to try out Human Resources as my next foray into higher education.
When I consider my previous educational pursuits (anthropology, international development, geography, and digital marketing), human resources doesn’t seem like a totally off-hand idea. On a personal level, I am genuinely fascinated by how humans interact, communicate and organize themselves. This fascination was first piqued by anthropology during my Bachelor’s degree and continued during my Master’s degree where my thesis studied how people do or do not collaborate for mutual benefit. As an awkward turtle of a human being, the irony is not lost on me that I want to learn more and explore human tendencies. I just want to be one of you! And not whatever weird robot thing I currently am.
So, I’m going back to school. Because I am overly ambitious and wanted to take full advantage of all of my organization’s PD opportunities, I am taking two courses this semester. Is that a bad idea? Based on the two, 3-hour long final exams I will have to write in December, my preliminary guess would be yes.
However, I am excited to learn something outside of my normal daily realm of social media and digital marketing. I am also excited to have the chance to read more on a daily basis things that aren’t just in the minimalism or personal finance sphere (I still love you, blog friends). Basically, I’m excited to broaden my horizons.
I would say that it feels weird to be going back to school. But, it doesn’t. I’ve only been out of school for five years and not a day has gone by that I haven’t thought about going back to do one thing or another.
You can take the person out of academia, but you can’t take academia out of the person.
Are you learning any new skills right now? I’d love to hear all about them.