Top reasons executives go back to college

I had a great career going – My earning was commendable. I had a Postgraduation from a reputed college, and I was in a plush position. To all around me, I was this person to be envied. What could possibly go wrong? Hmmm… Good question. I, too, did not understand. That is when I decided to quit my job, just out of the blue. And chase something new.

It is not just me. Today, more and more professionals quit their jobs. To pursue something. Something that needs them to learn all over again. Sometimes it requires them to go back to college as a student and start up from scratch. 

Frustrated man holding his head in his hands
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Why do people do it?

The reasons are many. Born between 1946 and 1964, the baby boomers and the early Gen X had a moderately stable professional life. Careers were not fast. Work was predictable. Tasks were not automated. They often started out on jobs that they stuck to till retirement sometimes. Gen X, the later ones, were the first to set foot into a fast-paced career scene. With automation and computers taking center stage, jobs became more competitive. Earning better money was possible as also getting fired from the job. To stay competitive, longer hours at work became the norm. Social life declined. Networking around the profession was more in vogue than that of family gatherings. In a professional landscape like this, there is room for burnout. People falling out of their mojo about their jobs increased. There were more and more job hops and career shifts too.

Why do adults go back to college?

More and more people today are not only job-hopping – they are also giving their career an edge above the rest by catching up with college studies. Needless to say, college studies come at a cost. And adults have a tough time studying like they did in their student days. So, why do adults go back to college? There are several reasons:

Need to stay competitive

The world today is fast changing. With technology at its best, more than ever today, there is a need to stay competitive. With hire and fire policy being the rule of the startup culture, a long career is guaranteed only with upgrades. Like the famous book with the same name goes, “What got you here won’t get you there,” you have to find new means to stay in the game. With automation being the business rule, your job may be automated, and you must make it automation-proof.

Three girls laughing
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It is an unfulfilled dream

Many of us had a childhood dream. To become a chef or an actor or to start our own business. Many things went unfulfilled. Maybe it was a family circumstance or inability to find a suitable starting point. You let life take over – to pursue something that you never liked just for the money. Your career was shaped by the life and its ways. After all, those years away from your childhood dream, you are in a place where you have it all – the money, the energy, the enthusiasm, and the dreamer’s fantasy. And you want to start all over again. So, why not? A new career – one for that unfulfilled dream.

Seeking a second chapter 

Some of us had great first innings at our profession. Good jobs, great money, excellent projects, lots of learnings- but then there is this void. A void that things need to spice up a bit – the longing to get the adrenaline rush, to build something new – up from scratch, like an itch that does not heal. You want to clean the slate and draw something new. 

person reading a fat book
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They are seeking a promotion

Many of you may be happy with your job- so happy that you want to keep it till you retire. But then, you hit a point where you stop progressing. Your career stagnates. No promotions, no new roles. Your rank subordinates seem to be jumping positions much faster than you. It is a known fact that promotions come easier at a junior level. Only the most deserving candidates snatch a chance to move up the ladder as the position is higher. Skills that cannot be automated take precedence. Cross-disciplinary profiles hold more promise. When faced with this roadblock, most often, the best route to take is to upgrade your profile with an interdisciplinary certification or degree. Sometimes, businesses offer their employees an option to study when holding the job, sometimes even paying their college tuition.

Loads of copper coins spilt from a glass jar
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They are just bored

Sometimes it is just boredom. The run of the mill burns out many. Doing the same thing for 15 – 20 years, one yearns for a break from the routine. What better way than finding a job that lets you choose freedom over money. And acquiring skills for such a job needs a fresh start. 

Irrespective of what the reason is for a new start, it is essential you plan before the switch. First, you may want to book a session of career counselling. A Career Consultant can help you with your career choices, courses, and colleges to pursue. Second, planning your finances is essential. Especially if you have a family, it is in everyone’s best interest to put some thought into your smooth migration into the new role without money hassles. If you want to read more about what you can do to plan your finances, read this.

There is no gain without pain. You have thought through this decision enough to move forward. There, sure, maybe obstacles. All adventures are fraught with obstacles. So, here is my closing phrase for you: ” Obstacle is the way!” 

You have got to take the plunge before you swim. And luck favors the brave. So, go ahead, take a planned approach, make it happen. It is one life, after all. Now or never!

Visit my blog space for more such articles about careers.

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