Should You Go Back to School if You Hate Your Job? 8 Questions to Ask Yourself

“Should I go back to school?” For someone who feels stuck in a job they don’t enjoy, one choice is to go back to school to earn some additional education or training to move toward a new career.

This is a great option for many people–the question is, is it the right choice for you?

In order to help you decide, you’ll need to carefully consider the reasons you want to leave your job, where you want to end up, and put together a clear plan for how your education will fit into your plan to reach your goal.

1. Is it your job or your career that you hate?

There’s a big difference between hating your job–it could be your coworkers, your boss, or your company–and hating your career, or the kind of work that you do specifically.

If you’re unhappy in your career choice/path, then it may be time to go back to school. If it’s just your job that isn’t a good fit, then maybe you can look for a similar position with a different company.

2. What kind of job or career would you like to go into?

If you’ve decided that your career path is the wrong fit for you, then it’s time to do the hard work of figuring out what new career you’d like to pursue.

There are many ways to go about this–from researching careers on the internet, to local job fairs, even job shadowing or internships. The key here is to find a job that marries some amounts of your skills/talent with your interests to find a career where you’ll feel happy, successful, and fulfilled.

3. Are your skills transferable to this job or career?

Carefully consider how your current job skills or experience may be transferable to your new chosen career path. You may be surprised to find out that some of the skills or knowledge you have learned from your previous or current job might actually play well into a career in the new direction you want to head.

4. Does this job or career require a specialized degree or education that you don’t have?

If this is the case, then you’ll almost certainly need to go back to school to change careers. This would apply to careers like nursing or accounting that have strict education and license requirements which can’t be substituted for relevant experience or demonstrated skills.

5. Could you enter the field in some other way?

One last time–consider other options that might help you change directions.

Could you possibly work your way into a position by starting at something more entry-level? What about a transitional work-training program?

It’s important to consider all of your options before investing the time and money in going back to school. If it turns out that you didn’t need the degree, after all, you’ll regret the decision later.

6. If you were to go back to school, what would you study and where?

Okay, if you’ve decided that going back to school is the right choice for you, then it’s time to start to research your options.

Will you study online or on campus? What factors are important to you in a program?

Also, carefully consider which majors or programs will move you in the right direction. You may have the option to study a number of different specialties within a single field, so you’ll want to narrow down your options and really create a clear plan

7. Have you confirmed that this education path will move you in the right direction?

Before you do anything, double and triple-check with people in the field, hiring managers or whoever else you can get in touch with, that the degree or program you are considering will be moving you in the right direction.

There would be no worse outcome than to work hard for your degree only to find out later that it’s not relevant or well-regarded in your new career.

8. What other relevant experience or connections can you make along the way?

Outline a schedule for internships, job shadows, or part-time positions that you can pick up while getting your education. This will help ensure that you have the relevant experience and work history you need upon graduation to get a job in your new field.