AdviceHey, Bonita!

I Got Fired—Should I Get Another Job or Go Back to School?

Recently, I was fired from one of my part time jobs. It had the potential of being full time, but it fell through. But here is the thing—I’m not upset. If anything, I am happy it happened because I soon realized it was a job that I knew I couldn’t do forever. I enjoyed it for what it was and loved my coworkers, but I also dreaded the work itself.

My question is: What now? Financially I’m fine, since I have another job and savings, but I want to focus on a career. I’m also tired of the job market in Athens and thinking about moving out of state. But I also have the underlying feeling that I should go back to school to get a master’s degree in something. Either way, I would love to hear what you have to say. 

I feel you. I’m sure it’s a relief to only have one job now—more time to yourself, more rest, more socializing, etc.—but those savings will run out fast if you’re not careful. That’s actually how I ended up in Athens. I’d been working on the East Coast, and when my full-time federal temp job ended, I took stock of my savings and decided that I could relax for a while. I’m glad I took time to myself and visited vineyards, had fancy “gastronomique” cuisine at the priciest brunch in the tri-state area, and did hella drugs, but after three months I was delivering packages seasonally for UPS. In the end my savings and seasonal income were too skimpy to make job searching in a huge city feel productive, so I moved to Athens. While I regret that I had to learn about saving and job hunting the hard way, I still think the circumstances that got me down here were right on time. Man oh man, I love you, Athens.

Sorry for the digression. This town is just very, very dope for lots of reasons. Specific to you, Athens rules because there’s plenty of part-time work in our robust service industry for you when your savings start to dwindle. I strongly encourage you to do a little math right now and figure out how long you can coast on what you have, and to make a plan to be fully employed again within that time frame. Maybe you’re not a service industry worker, and that makes your job prospects here a bit more limited. Moving isn’t a bad idea at all if you are finding more job leads in your line of work. I did it, and it worked out great for me. While I’m sure that I would have found something up north eventually, skipping town was my choice, and it was a great one.

You could find another second job, sure, but the best idea you have is to go to graduate school. There are grants and loans (avoid the latter if at all possible) that would supplement your income while you study, and you can create a schedule that allows you to continue to work one part-time job while earning your next degree. In a perfect world, you’d find an assistantship that would allow you to stop working altogether and focus all of your attention on the big picture. Anyone can tell you that an advanced degree makes you much more attractive to employers and more eligible for high-paying jobs. The end goal is to find that one full-time job that meets all of your needs while not feeling too much like actual work. That’s mostly a cliché, I know, but I do think it’s possible to live very close to our dreams.

Grad school will be a big change from the workaday lifestyle you have right now, so be sure that this is something you want to do and are able to do before you take the GRE. I’m actually considering grad school myself, and right now I’m asking myself if I am truly ready and able to change the entire course of my life. Because that’s what grad school is for someone who has been working for years and is completely removed from academia. I wanna be sure I can succeed, and I want you to be sure, too. Good luck!


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