Career Change Means More Education?

Stephanie is considering going into nursing but has a master's degree in public administration. Dave says she needs to be sure nursing is what she wants to do before investing more money in education.

QUESTION: Stephanie in Illinois is considering changing careers. She’s on Baby Step 2 and works for a government call center. She is considering going into nursing but already has a master’s degree in public administration. Dave says she needs to be sure nursing is what she wants to do before investing more money in education.

ANSWER: I don’t mind people living their dream. I want you to be able to afford to do it so it doesn’t become a nightmare. That’s problem number one. Problem number two is we have a tendency in our culture—and that’s why I’m fishing around in this conversation, and I haven’t caught anything yet—to think that anytime there’s something wrong with our career track, it means stop, go get another degree. Degrees aren’t always the answer. As a matter of fact, they often aren’t the answer. You don’t have to go back to school every time. You have to redirect your life.

I think you need to be very sure that a nurse is what you want to be for the next long period of time because you’re getting ready to invest yet another pile of money into education. If you’re going to do that and you’re that sure of that, then I think you’ve got to back up from your personal financial situation and figure out a way to do that logically. You’ve got to clean up some of your mess here. You don’t have to stay in a call center where you feel like the thing is out of control. You were very diplomatic, but you’re very unhappy there. It’s okay to make a two-step move here—not just quit there, go deeply in debt, and become a nurse. I don’t like that move. But quit there, go to something else, clean up a few messes over the next year or two, and then move toward nursing? I’d be okay with that. Start some of your prerequisites at night—that kind of a thing. Begin to do a step-by-step thing so that your dream doesn’t become a nightmare. I think that’s very important. I think it’s the way to go.

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