BY Jocelyn Wensjoe
At 22 and with two small children to care for, I didn’t have many options. Though bilingual and with some work experience in an office setting, I’d been too long out of the workforce – a mere two years! – to merit any serious consideration.
This was long before the Worldwide Web and home computing would make it easy to start an internet business.
It soon became clear that, if I wanted to have any chance at getting hired, I was going to have to up my game. After ensuring the babies were taken care of, I took classes.
The trouble was, at my young age, I lacked the self-awareness to decide which study path would provide me with lifelong professional satisfaction. I also lacked the wisdom to know which career fields would be lucrative and which would garner laughter if I said I worked in such a one at a party.
So I chose a sure bet: heating and air conditioning technology.
Unfortunately, at the time, women didn’t have the same job assurances that men did. I found that my HVAC-R Technician certificate was just as helpful as my linguistic skills and previous office experience in helping me land a job. It seemed nobody found any cachet in hiring a female technician.
And it wasn’t getting any less expensive providing for my family, either. It was time to go back to school; to learn marketable skills that would work for me.
In my experience, I can confidently say that going back to school has changed my life in such a positive way. I feel unstoppable. Yes, there will be some difficult moments where you will think to yourself, this is too much for me.
Balancing everything in my life from being an attentive mother, working at a part-time job, and making some time to study late nights is something I struggled with. Something, I was not counseled about when I decided to go back to school. But at the end, it was all rewarding.
Eventually, things changed for the better. With a two-year degree on my CV, my maintenance skills were suddenly in demand. I found work as a technician in a large firm and, as they say, the rest is history.
As you might have guessed, all of this was years ago. Looking back, though, I see parallels between my situation and what’s happening in the workforce today.
Studies show that few workers are enamored with how they spend most of their waking hours. For the majority of the workforce, their job is how they earn their money, not something they’re passionate about.
Besides, submitting to drudge work for a paycheck, workers labor under the persistent fear that they, too, will be excessed or be made redundant by the latest technological advance or round of budget cuts.
Those tandem phenomena are reshaping work as we know it, and it’s happening faster than anyone had ever dreamed it would.
They are the strongest argument for going back to school as an adult, even if you work in a field that is still relatively stable – like finance, medicine or law.
FinTech has completely revolutionized the financial industry. Everything from blockchain to mobile banking applications signals that standard banking and money market industries are undergoing seismic shifts.
Going back to school to learn about these new technologies – and an opportunity to network with professionals already in the industry is a savvy career move.
Advances in robotics should be every surgeon’s concern. Just think about how, only two decades ago, open-anything surgery was the norm. Now, robotic surgery is giving skilled surgeons’ hands a run for their money, and not just because the robots can operate with more precision.
For now, robots need skilled surgeons to guide their moves; that’s why it’s a good idea for doctors to return to school. Valuable indeed is the surgeon qualified to operate surgical robots. Don’t be the doctor who has no such training.
All of this is sound advice for those who are already well educated; what about workers who’ve not had the privilege of so much higher and further education?
For every worker, now is the best time to consider going back to school.
Between the pandemic – and all of its disruption, economic concerns and climate change, job security in all fields has eroded.
The wisest course of action is to be as prepared for change as possible. That’s why going back to school to develop new skills should be at the top of every worker’s to-do list. Not only does going back to school offer you a chance at a new career field, it boosts your job opportunities.
Studies show that most employers require at least some higher education so, even if you don’t study a subject you intend to work in, the extra education will polish up your CV, making you a serious contender for any position you apply for.
In current years, there has been more and more help from the government and other institutions for parents, veterans, and those who are struggling financially. Now more than ever is the time to take advantage of the situation if you fall under one of these categories.
Even if you are successful in your career and looking for a little change, setting aside one or two years of your life to pursue another career will do you no harm.
There are schools that adjust the classes according to your schedule, and there is even help online to obtain a degree or for extra reinforcement in a subject you might be struggling with. Online classes are now a days, very common and convenient.
Some people might find it an absurd idea to go back to school after their 20s, but this should not be the case. The way people think are changing, we are moving towards a new age where you’re never too old no matter what age, to go back to school.
If you have a dream job you’ve always thought about pursuing, go for it. If you just need to go back to school to study a subject that will present you with a better chance of earn more income, do it. Don’t spend life wondering, what if. Life is about opportunities and learning new things while experiencing an adventure.
Besides, with all of the job market’s instability right now, isn’t it a good time to follow your passion – to get busy doing what you’d rather do? Think of the boost to your self-esteem as you open your own (internet) business… if you only knew how to get started.
Isn’t it time that you did more than seriously think about private academic classes online?