So I recently made a decision to go back to school. It is a (scary!) pivotal moment in my career where I have reached my “ceiling” so-to-speak in terms of potential growth. I have volunteered anywhere I could in my position, I have been asked to preceptor new hires as well as be part of many committees and groups that are agents of change in my workplace. I love teaching by the book and being a good example of consistent, ethical, 110% effort nursing. As many of my colleagues would tell you, I was adamant that I would NEVER be unsatisfied with my current career, that there was always room for improvement…and while that may not be entirely untrue, I have been motivated to look at this step as not just a career move, but also a process within which I can challenge myself and increase my skill level.
I am lucky to be in a career (nursing) where education is very accessible while still working. This program is a part-time, online course that will take the average nurse 5 years to complete (if following the 2-course-per-semester design). Hopefully I will chop a few years off after they view my 3 post-secondary transcripts (yikes!) and that the years will *fly* by.
Career choices are very tricky things when you have a family; you have financial responsibility, parenting responsibility, relationship responsibility…..your plate is relatively full, right? So how can anyone justify taking a “blind” leap of faith to pursue a change? Well, I have come up with my own Pros and Cons list that has helped make this decision for me:
- Challenging and improving my existing skills and knowledge
- Providing a great example to my kids to keep pursuing and pushing for a career they love
- Greater financial benefit with new position
- Potential for more avenues of career opportunities
- Current program is largely reimbursable (read: almost free upgrading!)
- Can complete the program in less than 5 years
- Potentially very challenging to juggle current responsibilities with added schoolwork
- Stress from juggling added responsibilities may strain relationships
- Might not do well in school
- School costs added to existing financial bills
- Potentially committing to 5 years of my life to this program
After just a few points in each column, I started to see very clearly what my decision would be; my Pros list contained points that were absolutely, without a doubt TRUE, whereas the points in my Con list were basically “what ifs” and the worrywart in me…so as scary as it is, I am 35 years old and becoming a student again!
While going back to school is definitely not for everyone, I encourage you to take a look at where you work/what you do….are you satisfied with where you are at career-wise? Is there a step you can take toward the career you want? Will you be happy here for the next 5 years? 10 years? Try to make a pros and cons list to see where your answer really lies. I also strongly advise you to consult any significant other or family whenever you are contemplating a career change or any major steps!
Have you ever made a huge change in your career? I’d love to hear about your process: how did you decide to go for it? Was it worth it? Was there anything you would change about the process?
Hitting the books,