Who could possibly be opposed to higher education? Actually, more people than you think.
Education is one thing, expensive, formal education that seems unnecessary for the job is quite another. A shocking number of people find themselves holding jobs that do not require the level of education they attained. The last thing they want to have to do is get even more of it. Even those who are using their degrees to the fullest don’t necessarily want to get another.
Most galling is if you find yourself overlooked for a job or promotion in favor of someone who does not have as high of an education as you. Why should you be forced to get even more education?
Here are three reasons why you might want to consider doing it anyway:
Taking your career to the next level
Let’s say you’re a nurse. That is a good job at every level. But make no mistake about it, there are levels, and they are not all created equally. There is a broad education and skill gap from entry level to professional level. If you are anywhere other than the top and wish to move up, you are going to have to go back to school and enhance your resume and your skills.
Many nursing schools offer programs that are designed to take you from where you are, to where you want to be. As a woman already working in the field, you do not have time or money to quit your day job and go to school with the rest of the 18 year olds. Many of these programs offer evening and weekend classes to accommodate your busy schedule. Though much of nursing is hands-on, nursing schools in PA and many other states now offer an online component for the curriculum. You can also search for accelerated degrees if you are on a strict educational timeline. Career advancement is always a good reason to gain more education.
It is one thing to have to work a little harder to get a little further. It seems unconscionable to have to work harder just to maintain what you already have. But that is the nature of the beast. Not every company is as successful as they projected on their business plan. Sometimes, the pressure comes from unforeseen competitive forces.
Remember the smart phone industry in 2006, before there was a such thing as an iPhone? Engineers working at companies like Motorola, Nokia, and Blackberry had a lot easier time than they do now. Most of them are working some place else. The ones who managed to hang on to jobs at those companies are the ones who had to prove, then re-prove themselves to be at the top of their game.
When companies downsize, only the best of the best can be kept. When the day comes that your boss has to make some hard decisions because of unavoidable budget realities, you want to be sure that you are among the best of the best. Having an even higher education at that time than you did when you started is one way to be sure that keep your job.
To counteract discrimination
As much progress as we have made over the years as a society, discrimination still exists. It exists for race, age, sexual orientation, religious preference, and yes, even gender. Law cannot change the human heart. But it can regulate behavior, hopefully long enough for the heart to catch up. When it comes to gender discrimination in the work place, the heart has not quite caught up with what we know to be right.
In some cases, all else being equal, a man will get the position just because he is male. Obviously, that is not fair, and it is very difficult to prove. In most cases, it is impossible to prove it. That situation is a lot easier to overcome if all else is not equal, and the balance of qualifications are in your favor. The easiest way to win the qualifications game is to have more education than the people against whom you are competing.
Barriers to increasing your education are obvious. It is time consuming, expensive, and it gets more difficult as you get older. But these days, continuing education is not just a woman’s burden; it’s everybody’s burden. The job market is crowded, and the competition is fierce. When so many highly skilled people are fighting for the same job, more often than not, the higher education is the tie-breaker. Back-to-school is not just for kids anymore.
By Ashley Andrews