Often times we find ourselves at a crossroads when we’re unhappy with our current place in life and the easiest solution that comes time mind is getting a degree (or another). But is this what you should do next?
Ask yourself the following questions before jumping into a spiral of debt or a new degree:
- Why do I want this degree?
- Do I need this degree for ____ job?
- Without this degree I can’t apply for ____ job?
- What are the essential skills needed for ____ job?
- Do I know anyone in that field? If yes, can I set up a time to talk to them about what they do? See what transferable skills you have/that align with that role.
- If no, (don’t know anyone in that field), find someone talk to those around you and ASK them if they know anyone that does XYZ.
- Can I take a part-time job/internship/one day visit at XYZ place to learn more about the job?
These are just a FEW questions that you can ask yourself to before jumping into another degree. Of course there are some fields that a degree or post graduate degree is necessary. I still challenge you to consider taking a part-time job, an internship or just calling a place to do some job shadowing before jumping in. EVEN IF you think it’s your “DREAM” job you might find that you hate it and wouldn’t you rather know sooner than later?
When I was in graduate school for counseling, I fell in love with dual language and decided to switch programs to get a teaching degree. So for a year I took master’s level bilingual education courses. I loved the classes but the work was challenging. It wasn’t as “easy” as the counseling courses I had been taking. I wrote it off as just something new for me.
I got laid off around the same time and took a part-time job as a after school site facilitator. I found that yes I liked working with the kids, I had the opportunity to work with elementary and middle school children. I liked both and really thought yes I want to do this! I shadowed at a bilingual education classroom and still found myself loving it. THEN it happened, I had a parent that went off on me (no real surprise there) in front of her kid. It really irked me I rolled it off as she (the parent) was having a bad day. Some time passes and again this parent thought it was ok to just talk about my new haircut in front of all the children (why would you cut your hair, you look like my ex’s girlfriend) then that’s when I knew the real reason she was going off on me. This was the first a few events that led to me to run back to the counseling program.
The next one was FAILING the Spanish teaching exam, not just once but twice! Later I found out that a lot of teachers take it AFTER they have been teaching. I had literally failed it by 1 point, but honestly I took it as a BIG sign that it wasn’t for me.
The last thing that made this into a turning point for me, was a counseling professor I had. He asked me how it was going in the bilingual education program and I said it was good but it was hard. Like I really had to work at it, it didn’t come naturally like counseling. His simple comment really made me think “Maybe it’s because it’s not what your meant to be doing.”
That really got under my skin and really made me realize that even though I love dual language programs and I think they are great that teaching is not for me. Not because I couldn’t do it, but because it is not my passion. Remember just because you CAN do something doesn’t mean that you SHOULD be doing it.
Had I NOT taken the time to do some extra work in the field of teaching/working with kids I’d probably end up “stuck” in a teaching job hating to have to work with parents.
Dig deep! Your career will be your life’s work do you want it to be something you can do or something you’re passionate about?
Share your thoughts with me, have you ran from some careers? Found yourself at a crossroads not sure what to do? How did you decide on your degree?