Working and Grad School
March 10, 2011 8:37 PM Subscribe
Working an unrelated job while in grad school: yea or nay
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
(This is anonymous because I have friends who read MeFi, and this is really obviously me, and I don't want them reading my past questions and comments!)
There are all these questions about work issues and school lately. I am adding to the mess.
I have spent the past two years working 24 - 32 hours a week while in an undergrad/postbac program, taking between 8 and 16 (usually around 12) credits. I really like my job: my coworkers are great, my supervisor is flexible with my hours, and I make good money and have health insurance. However, it's not really related to my field, except in the broad sense that they are both health care related, and there's not much room for growth. It's a step above an administrative position, and a lot of the skills aren't transferable to my future career.
I just found out that I've been accepted to a MS professional program starting this fall. Graduate school has been the goal all along, so I'm pretty excited. My husband and I always talked about me quitting my job once I start grad school, but suddenly, he's starting to pull back on that, and wants me to stay on with my current job for as long as possible.
As mentioned, I like my job and they like me, but I don't feel like this is the best decision. First, I'm already working hard in classes, and still not able to give 100% in them because of work commitments, and these are just undergrad level classes. Second, I'm not involved in the department at all (for example, when guest speakers visit or meetings of a student group. There's also been this interesting volunteer opportunity that has popped up a couple times that I've never been able to make time for) because of my schedule. Finally, because it's not really related to what I want to do and not a resume builder, I don't want to spend another two years at it. If I am to work, I'd prefer to do so in a position that is directly related to my future goals. I've already experienced periods of total anxiety related to scheduling, commitments, etc, between work and school, and feel like I am always asking one or the other for special favors. The idea of doing it for another two years is really depressing and exhausting.
My husband thinks I can't pass up the money, and that it'll be easy to do both. He's in graduate school right now and graduating in the spring (he doesn't work, but he has a paid internship in his area of interest with about 10 hours a week). He's also unsure of his own ability to find a job in his field. and I think that's the source of his change of heart. I understand his concern, and I recognize that I'm very lucky to have this job.
Does anyone have experience working an unrelated job while in grad school? Any advice or thoughts?
(Oh, and since I'm sure someone will bring this up: there's very little opportunity for RA/TAships in my department, unfortunately. It doesn't get a lot of funding, and what little we get goes to PhD students.)