advice on my crossroads please

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advice on my crossroads please

Postby crossroadsat48 » Wed Jan 21, 2009 7:19 am

I will be downsized (read--laid off) soon. I've prepared by having 8 complete months at least of living expenses saved PLUS my hubby is getting more opportunities at his job which translate into more money for us. Plus, I am getting a generous severance package.

I have an Associates in Science degree plus extra hours in Medical Laboratory work. I have been diagnosed with a malady (no details/takes too long) that prevent me from doing my job there and I haven't worked in the industry for a couple of years. Not possible to go back to that industry. I also have been working in a public speaking capacity for a non-profit on an as needed basis, but that job will end this month as well d/t economy. I will have two children in college in the fall for one year ONLY.

Crossroads are:

1. Should I go back to finish my Bachelor's degree while i have two in college to claim on my FAFSA and thus qualify for more student financial aid? (this will make me more qualified for jobs in the future)-- and with two more classes I can have my medical billing/coding license that I can also use. I have my Microsoft Office Certification as well, so office work is definately another option.
2. Should I live by partially using this savings to do so? (I'd need to go full time to finish in one year)
3. Is it worth gambling on this economy to work on that degree now?

The thing is, my older child graduates college after this coming year, so this seems to be a one shot deal on that extra financial aid. My financial situation is unusual in that I have no mortgage, no car payment (which may be temporary, I realize), and little bills. My children are paying for nearly all of their own college as well, so no bills there to amount to much (I help pay for books and stuff like that).

At this point, I'm just afraid of making the wrong decision. Both hubby and I were out of work some years ago, so fears of being in that situation again are always there. Jobs in my area are scarce and every one I've sent a resume to said "Bachelor's degree required" and gave no leeway for experience. And these were all basic office/entry level jobs......hmmmmmmm.

Thoughts pro and con are welcome.

Thank you,
Crossroads at 48

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Postby brad » Wed Jan 21, 2009 8:13 am

While some government contractors (for example) are required to hire people with at least a bachelor's degree, regular companies would be shooting themselves in the foot to ignore experience in favor of academic qualifications. Note that Steve Jobs, for example, wouldn't be able to get a job at a company that insisted on a bachelor's degree. Is that stupid or what?

That said, it's the reality, and by being laid off you have the opportunity of being able to go to school fulltime to finish a degree or certification or whatever you decide to do, much more quickly than if you were working fulltime and going to school part-time. So going to school sounds like a good plan to me: it'll vastly expand your range of options in the future in exchange for some short-term hardship.

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Postby Ryuns » Wed Jan 21, 2009 11:31 am

I'll second school. All signs seem to point to it: You don't have a job, it's a bad economy (meaning harder to find other jobs), you may be able to get student aid, you have a severance package coming, and you can probably claim unemployment (if you want to). You say you can finish in one "full-time" year. You may consider keeping an eye open for jobs and seeing if it's appropriate for you to resume work and continue school part-time, or if you can take classes full-time and work part-time. (I was consistently a full-time+ student during college and generally worked 20 hours/week or more and usually did not feel overwhelmed.)

Good luck!

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Postby plonkee » Fri Jan 23, 2009 6:29 am

Generally, it sounds like a good idea to go to college and finish your degree. Given that bachelors degrees seem to be required I don't think that on balance you will be worse off than you would be by trying to get a new job now.

OTOH I'd still keep an eye out and apply for interesting jobs between now and starting college in the fall. It'd help with the bills, you might be able to gain more relevant experience, and interview practice is never unhelpful.
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pointing signs

Postby crossroadsat48 » Sat Jan 24, 2009 4:18 pm

I tend to agree that all signs seem to be pointing to going back to college full time. I have also been actively looking for another job, but I'm having little luck.

When I feel as if signs point to something, I generally feel as if it is ME who sees them and no one else, so it was good to know you all fee the same way from this brief descriptive of my situation. I wish I'd taken time and finished much earlier in my life, but raising kids and all I just didn't do it.

Now, I guess my only real delimma is to decide what to do with this degree, and I guess that will be something I'll have a year to find out.

Thanks to everyone and if anyone else has a comment, feel free to leave it for me. I appreciate all thoughts.

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Postby schatzi » Sun Mar 08, 2009 8:10 am

Option number 2 is a bad option. You'll end up with no money after some time. You should invest in something and I think education/knowledge is the wisest investment.

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