Should You Go Back to School or Back to Work?

Middle aged woman in school

For long-term parents who are either stay-at home parents, or else work very rarely, there can be a bit of a shock that comes when your kids finally reach the age where they all move out and start living their own lives. This time will probably be a mixture of sadness and relief, but the part that surprises most people is how much it shocks their sense of purpose. When you’ve spent the better part of 2 decades, at least, with raising children as your primary goal, then the sudden absence of that purpose can leave one feeling empty.

Typically, when considering where to go next with their lives, people consider two major possibilities: should I go back to school? Or back to work? This is a dilemma that honestly depends on the specific person’s situation, but there are some things to consider that make this decision a little easier…

Consider career happiness

First of all, if you are considering going back to work full-time, then you want to make sure that you will be able to do something that you somewhat enjoy, or at least something that you don’t absolutely hate! Because of this, it can make your choice rather easy if you find that you don’t necessarily have the qualifications to do something in a field that interests you. Oftentimes, people will find a way to get a position around something that they are in to, but other times they will need to go back to school for a period of time to put themselves in a position to do so.

Is it financially viable?

Obviously, the big question about going back to school is how much it is going to cost. It’s no secret that the price of higher education continues to climb, year after year. Do you really want to add that enormous expense to your pocketbook this late in life? Maybe you do. But the financial viability of going back to school is something you always need to consider. The good news is that there are many ways to get a secondary education for a relatively minute cost, such as applying for scholarships or taking classes at a community college.

Check out online school

Aside from cost, the practicalities of going back to college are easier than they’ve ever been for a lot of people. That’s because the landscape of higher education continues to change, particularly with how it interacts with the internet. Online classes have enabled countless people to get an education from a remote location, or take classes at a completely different institution than they go to, physically. It’s entirely possible that you’ll be able to work towards your education with online schooling, while at the same time going back into the workforce.

Consider a tech school

Higher education is a gigantic commitment of time and money. Sure, you may love the idea of going back and getting a degree, but several years of college is something that can be harder to justify later in life. For some people, though, with specific career interests, tech schools are a perfectly viable option. Tech schools tend to be very low cost, and can be completed within a matter of months, rather than years. Tech schools nowadays offer all kinds of programs, from metalworking, to cosmetology, to graphic design.

Look for an accommodating job

Again, there are a lot of different ways that you might be able to have your cake and eat it to, as it pertains to working while getting an education. Lots of the companies that are actually worth working for will have some degree of flexibility, in terms of letting you go to school while working there. If you are able to schedule your classes on one or two days a week, then it’s entirely possible that you will be able to find a job that is willing to work with that schedule while you are going to school.

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