Lateral move to a different company where I hope to stay for a long long time?
October 5, 2009 8:52 AM   Subscribe

CareerFilter: Do I jump ship now or wait it out while finishing my (2nd) degree? I have never seen myself on a career path and could never envision one for myself. Now I do. Should I run with it?

I would really like to apply for this job: intellectually stimulating and in a department where I would like to end up career-wise - Public Health. It's an adminstrative assistant position in the dept at the university hospital near me but the job description makes is seem like it's more than updating a spreadsheet with invoice payments and sorting the mail (which is the major focus of my job now. blah.)

I am starting classes for Nursing school and plan on getting a job at this university hospital when I'm through. and then taking their MPH program in a few years. My current job pays ok, has good benefits, but I really hate it. (as mentioned in a previous post) After talking with career counselors and other folks who work in the medical field, I really think this is the right path for me, mentally, emotionally, career-wise. I've had a real interest in public health/health policy for a long time and by getting the RN, I'll be getting experience and a background that is required for admission to the MPH program.

That said, I'll be doing clinicals in a 18-24 months, so I wouldn't be in the position long term.

Do I stick it out here for another year or two or do I jump ship in hopes that I can get a foot in the door at the institution where I hope to spend a good part of my career? I've never even thought "career" before, but since deciding on this whole nursing/public health thing, I see a path where before there was none (or none that looked at all like anything I'd want to do.)

If I do apply, should I mention the nursing school in my cover letter? I have admin experience, and I've worked in HR and IT. The only reason I'm at my job right now was because it took me a long time to find a decent paying job after I graduated college and this was the first thing that came up. (I graduated in May 2008). I'll turn 31 this December and have a fairly decent job history (no firings or anything). Going backwards, I have been here since July 2008, prior to that, I had a temp job for 3 months, prior to that I had some time off to finish school (1 year), and prior to that I had a job for 2 years (the HR one). I've been at all previoius jobs a year or more, but sometimes I had to change jobs because of school.

The program I'm in now is all evening classes until clincals.

Part of me says stick it out, part of me says go for this other job. I kinda think I won't even get an interview, but ... hence, I turn to askmefi.
posted by sio42 to Work & Money (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Why aren't you just going into an MPH program off the bat? It doesn't sound like you want to be a nurse. I know plenty of people that went into an MPH program right after college without even needing a healthcare background.
posted by anniecat at 9:12 AM on October 5, 2009

I need to have 3 years of relevant experience to apply plus have done research of some sort.
posted by sio42 at 9:21 AM on October 5, 2009

Also, the nursing degree will enable me to earn a higher salary sooner than I can expect in my current line of work. I've looked into the starting salaries for my area and graduates of my program - pretty darn good.

i don't want to be a nurse forever, but i would like to be a nurse for a whle.
posted by sio42 at 9:33 AM on October 5, 2009

Well, then, stick it out where you work right now rather than jumping ship. If you want to be a nurse for awhile, the experience you have working in the public health dept as an admin assistant isn't going to really help given that you need relevant experience. If you're going to be a nurse, I think nursing would be relevant experience enough.

Generally, I think showing that you can stay in a position for awhile is more important than hopping into one, especially when you know that you're going to be leaving it.

If you do apply, however, I probably wouldn't mention the nursing program. It might be a dead giveaway to them that you'll have to start clinicals (assuming they take up all your time and you'll have to leave) eventually and leave. But obviously if you don't mention it, and they hire you, they'll probably feel lied to.
posted by anniecat at 10:17 AM on October 5, 2009

Yes! Apply, go for it - very little to lose, and lots to gain. I would assume that you have your nursing school activity on your resume, so you probably don't need to mention it in your cover letter unless you think it might help.
posted by acridrabbit at 10:17 AM on October 5, 2009

What reasons do you have for not applying?
posted by Houstonian at 10:40 AM on October 5, 2009

my reasons for NOT appying are what anniecat says: sticking in the job i'm at until clinicals would give me like 2-3 years of one place employment. moving to the new job means possibly having to leave for clinicals (there is an option to do an evening clinical rotation, but i would have to leave work at 2 one day a week for a year - this is not an option at my current job. at all.)

i think that i would be happier moving to an academic realm anyway. plus, since it's a university, i can take classes for free or get a 75% reimbursement on classes taken elsewhere. here, i don't get tuition reimbursement unless it applies to my job directly (IT).

i took this job because i needed one that paid well and had insurance. i couldn't afford to be terribly choosy at the time and wait 3 months to find the "right" job.

so...i just don't know. there's definitely pros and cons either way. i just don't have very many real-life people to discuss this with. my friends and boyfriend who have careers they love had the good fortune to have parents or other family members pay for college and were able to do internships etc. no one in my family ever went to college and think that a degree just means i'll get any job i want (which is sweet but woefully inaccurate, as we all know :)

thanks for replies. i enjoy hearing both sides so feel free to devil's advocate or not.
posted by sio42 at 11:00 AM on October 5, 2009

Apply. Don't mention the nursing school at all- admin assistants positions tend to have a fairly high rate of turnover (at least the one in my med school department did) so as long as you could stay for at least a year, that's completely reasonable. (but no need to sound the alarm bell in the interview)

Also, I think your plan to get an RN is a good one. I have a Ph.D. in science and am interested in moving into public health, but it seems to me like a clinical degree (RN or MD) would have opened up a lot more doors. Good luck!
posted by emd3737 at 11:24 AM on October 5, 2009

I say apply. There's no harm, interviewing will give you a chance to see if you really like the environment and give you more data points about whether or not you want to move on. I don't think this part of your employment history (how long you've been at that job) is going to ultimately matter once you finish your studies. Tuition reimbursement is a huge, huge perk.

And I've always noticed that it's easier for me to get where I'm going when I'm in a good/happy place to begin with. Why not give yourself the opportunity to work somewhere where you're happy rather than "stick it out" and be miserable until you can move on?
posted by Kimberly at 11:53 AM on October 5, 2009

The worst that happens is you apply and don't get the interview or job. Although it looks good to stay at the same place for a longer period of time, but you've been at your job more than a year. I would probably put nursing school in the resume, because if you really are going to be able to work for 18-24 months that's reasonable for an admin assistant, and I think it helps explain why you're looking for that job.

If you apply and get the job, you don't need to accept it in the end. And writing up letters and going on interviews is good practice.
posted by jeather at 11:58 AM on October 5, 2009

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