Quit My Job and Go Back to School? Ask Madeleine

Graduate womanDear Madeleine,

I am an office manager for a mid-sized business. I really like my job and am well treated and decently paid. I am also a single mom of a son who is in eleventh grade. He and I are spending a lot of time planning for his college applications and I have been researching scholarships.

My problem is that I find myself envying my kid. I never finished college for all kinds of reasons—the biggest one being the birth of my son. The professionals in my office all have master’s degrees. I know I am at least as smart as any of them, but without a degree I will never be considered for those types of positions. Daily, I fight the urge to quit my job and go back to school. I am worried that one of these days I’ll just up and quit. —Champing at the Bit

Whoa there, Champing.

Envy doesn’t make you a bad person. Actually, it can be a gift—it gives us insight into what we truly desire. So use it as a critical data point about how you plan to spend your time and your resources. In the future.

I sympathize with your impatience. You seem to have really behaved like a responsible grown up, which I can tell you from personal experience can be exhausting. I can certainly understand that you are feeling done. But let’s not get crazy and do anything rash. It sounds like your job situation is decent and I believe you’d regret losing that security without a plan in place. The key word there is plan—and that is what I recommend you make for yourself. Take a look at adult education options where you can start earning college credits while you are working. You could get a few credits under your belt and then continue more intensely once your son goes away to school. Many companies will reimburse their employees who take courses toward a degree. Have you ever discussed this with your boss? Even if your company won’t pay, you can certainly pursue a degree while you are working. I earned my master’s that way. Okay, it took me a long time, but I finally finished and I cannot tell you how satisfying it feels.

So. Don’t quit a good job. Do your research, make a plan, start small and take steps. Soon you will be so busy achieving your goal that you won’t have time to feel impatient.

Love Madeleine

About the author

Madeleine Blanchard

Madeleine Homan-Blanchard is a master certified coach, author, speaker, and cofounder of Blanchard Coaching Services. Madeleine’s Advice for the Well Intentioned Manager is a regular Saturday feature for a very select group: well intentioned managers. Leadership is hard—and the more you care, the harder it gets. Join us here each week for insight, resources, and conversation.

Got a question for Madeleine? Email Madeleine and look for your response here next week!

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