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Should I go back to school? The Dilemma of Mid-career professional.

Should I go back to school? The Dilemma of Mid-career professional…

For me, I didn’t realize when it turned 10 years after I graduated. I really didn’t until I was talking to an old friend whom I hadn’t seen since our graduation from the University. The conversation was like, Long time…and he goes 10 years this February dear… we ended the conversation and then it occurred to me that I really had spent the last 10 years building a career.
I didn’t realize that I was that old!
It confirmed the reason why I was restless and wanting to get more out of where I was really. The feeling of being invisible, especially since I was neither a fresher nor a c-level executive, I am more in between. I had started to ask myself hard questions like:
Do I want to do the same role in the in the next 3 years?
Is there a chance to progress in my career using this same path?
The realization that although I would have loved to have greater responsibility placed on my capable shoulders, I might not have the ability to move up in my current organization or any other establishments because I needed leverage to get me through the door.
It seemed like a new degree was the next point of action to help me add the much-needed motivation to my career. I wanted to sell my skilled self.
These questions helped me make the decision that worked for my situation at the time.
Things to consider about returning to school
More than having a wish to do this, there are things to consider.

How do you intend to finance this venture?

Do you have to take a loan from family or the bank?
Do have to spend from your saving?
Can you get scholarships?
Can you pay in installments?
You see going back to school is an investment but have you taken out time to evaluate all the other important aspects of your life that need the financing too?

Have you discussed with your family and support system?

Yes, I know you believe this is all about you and your advancement and desire to be great but you are no more 20! You have a family to care for or support and at this time you need their support to get on this journey.
If you feel they might be averse to the idea, I suggest that before you speak to them, check their pulse for feelers, try to document all the fears you envisage they might have and prepare to respond to them. There is no need wearing your relationships thin because you want to get something. Trust me even when you start the school, you would need them for days when you wonder why you took on this journey in the first place. No matter how tough you are, those days are coming!

Discuss with the Boss.

…Ehen, this is a little erky but it’s a good step. At first, I didn’t feel comfortable doing this, because I wanted to keep a low profile and just show up with a new degree on the day of “reckoning” but I quickly realized there would days where I need his support – so pretty much I didn’t have a choice but to discuss it. Besides, some organizations require as a matter of policy that you discuss such huge steps with your line Manager and the Human Resource.

So Faari, what if my boss is from hell?

Ehen, choose wisdom…but prepare to discuss it as it would come up; so brace up for it. Like that of family, you might just need to woo the boss.

The return on investment!

Yes, you heard me right – the return on investment. The Nigeria job market as much as I wonder why, still considers qualifications as a means of weeding our resumes. Does this degree add up?

Another return on investment is perhaps the networking opportunity giving you a chance to collaborate with like minds on projects in the future.

It’s Ok to list personal development as an ROI although it’s almost intangible, however so relevant. So are you ready to invest another 18 months plus just to get a degree that says you know your onions? Or can you take short courses for the skills set needed?

Online or Offline / Part-time or Full Time?

These are scenarios to consider too. Thank God for technology, it’s now possible to have online degrees here in Nigeria and attend exams on campus in the case of a hybrid system or online all the way. It also affords you the opportunity to have minimal disruption to your lifestyle because of the degree.

Some Nigerian Universities are catching up with the availability of the online option, while some are stuck in the traditional way. The best they offer in terms of flexibility is part-time options, which are usually weekends only.

Considering these options you might need to check if your lifestyle right now can accommodate that. If it’s outside of your present location, are you willing to take the trip every weekend? Would you get the needed help with the family or do you work weekends?

Forex or Local currency?

Now here is the real deal. Are you considering an international school? Nigeria is said to be going through a recession and Forex is gold right now! It’s not stable and it’s scarce. This might affect your payment plan projections or hinder the whole payment! Although the banks allow you get Forex at a specified bank rate for education, health and a couple of other bills by just applying for the Form M but it is a very limited resource right now and that might keep you on the waiting list for some time.
If you, however, have family abroad that can help make payments on your behalf, and return the favor here in Naira for some project they are undergoing. Great! Just be aware of the current Central Bank positions on Forex.

Having said all this, going back to school as a mid-career professional has a lot of dependencies than when you first started out in your career, however, it’s worth the adventure because it can help you re-purpose your career; it can help give you a new lease on life that learning new things does; it can help you change and discover the new career path.

There is never going to be a perfect time for this if you truly want it.

No matter how long you have gone in your career, the question to ask is, would I regret not taking this leap 10 years down the lane?

Author: Abisoye “Faari” Akinola

Abisoye is an IT Professional and a Corporate Trainer by day, Mom & Wife on weekends and LinkedIn enthusiasts every other time.
She believes LinkedIn is the real deal to find and meet awesome professionals and thanks, Reid Hoffman for the Idea!
Your go-to girl when you need to brainstorm great ideas.
She helps bored mid-career professionals who need get to switch gear to the next level using personal branding and confidence as tools!
You can find sharing her daily wisdom on Instagram

One thought on “Should I go back to school? The Dilemma of Mid-career professional.

  1. Well said. I will add this…if you think its worth the while, please take than leap than not doing nothing.There is always something to gain in educating yourself if you deeply think it is the right thing or path than not venturing or attempting to. Leave God to do the rest. Just play your part.

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