The Remote Worker’s Guide to Going Back to School & Changing Careers

In the midst of the Great Resignation, many workers are rethinking their career paths in the pursuit of happiness and work-life balance. This issue has only been exacerbated by many companies wanting to return to the office. During the quarantine or work from home arrangements, you may have become more aware of what inspires you and what’s important in life. As a result, going back to the office may not seem all too inviting. But in the spirit of finding your dream job or finding a career that embraces remote work, you may have considering going back to school and changing careers.

Don’t forget. It’s a challenging pursuit.

Unless you’re still in your 20s, going back to school and changing careers is something that requires an all new mindset. You have to get back into student mode, feel confident in your move, and weather the storm of family life and your financial well-being to succesfully make the move. Is it for everyone? No. But if you’ve lit the fire of motivation in pursuit of broader horizons, it’s certainly achievable. Here’s a quick guide to everything you need to know before you pull the trigger on your new beginnings.

Is Going Back to School and Changing Careers Really Worth It?

When you mull over the idea of going back to school and changing careers, you’ll definitely feel some self-doubt, regardless of your age. The older you get, the more that this doubt manifests itself and permeates every facet of your thought process. However, doing something you love is always a genial and well-intentioned idea. And furthermore, studies show that you’re probably more well-positioned than younger people to excel in school and in your job afterward.

The Self-Motivation Factor

When you go to school at the ripe, old age of 18, chances are education isn’t the first thing on your mind. Partying, fraternizing, and the social aspects of college life can overtake the educational aspect. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you failed in your academic career. It just means that at age 30 or 40, you’re probably far more interested in classes and the subject matter than you ever were as a young person.

The Experience Factor

When you’re in class as a 20-something, theories and principles don’t gain much traction. You don’t have experience in the field, and these seem more like textbook-reading and unapplicable ideas than anything else. But with a decade or more of experience, suddenly everything starts to click. You can envision how these ideas relate to real-world situations, giving you even more motivation to grasp and absorb everything that your professor or textbooks throw your way.

The Family Factor

If you have a family, you know how important the interaction with your spouse and kids is to your personal well-being and theirs. So if you’re working a job that you loathe or you’re putting in 60 hour weeks, it makes a drastic impact on those relationships. When you’re not happy, the feeling is palpable. And when you’re not around, kids don’t forget. So in the vein of family life, if a going back to school and changing careers is what’s going to keep you grounded and happy, it’s definitely worth the venture.

The Downsides

Although you want to look at all the positives of going back to school, it definitely poses some significant questions. Before you decide to go back to school, you must answer some tough questions that will definte your academic career and help you decide if going back to school is actually a smart idea.

  • Why do you want to go back to school?
  • Do you have the financial resources or a nest egg that can pay for school without leaving you in financial dire straits?
  • Is the degree you’re pursuing in a growing industry or one that you’ll be able to find employment?
  • Are you mentally ready to take a pay cut?
  • Are you mentally ready to start in an entry-level position?
  • How long will you take to complete your degree?
  • Are you willing to forego your current career path in return for change?

Only you can answer these questions. But some careful reflection should guide you to the right answers. If you can’t answer all of these questions definitely, assertively, and carefully, chances are you need to retool your plan or rethink your aspirations before you go back to school and change careers.

Reasons To Go Back to School for Changing Careers

Before you decide to go back to school, you should come up with some concrete reasons why you want to do it. Hating your boss or wanting more money doesn’t necessarily fall under this category. Instead, you have to think more objectively to come up with a reason why you’re going to become a stalwart in the classroom. If you can’t think of any reasons off the top of your head that aren’t subjective, don’t worry. Reading more about some of the best reasons to go back to school and change careers can jog your memory and put you on the path to success, one way or the other.

Transferrable Skills Are Lacking

If you’ve wanted to change careers for some time, you’ve probably looked at some job listings and descriptions. However, when you read some of the skills necessary, you don’t possess them. Even in your current job, you lack the transferrable skills to obtain the new position.

Education can certainly bridge that gap. If you struggle with certain soft skills, becoming a student again can help you get a grasp on new concepts and skills that are coveted in your desired industry.

Expanding Your Knowledge

Maybe you don’t want to change careers in the fact that you want to work with a different company. Maybe you just need some extra skills to pivot from a marketing specialist to a marketing manager. And that’s when going back to school can help you exponentially. Getting a master’s degree, a more specialized degree in your field, or even a certification can make a drastic impact on your ability to successfully interview for new jobs. The only direction you have to go is up.

Pursuing Your Passion

Passions change over time. What you may have loved when you were 20 may not interest you at all anymore. With time during quarantine to reflect, you may have found what your new passion is and consequently, decided that it’s something you want to pursue professionally.

One thing to keep in mind is that you passion may change again as you age. But if you’re all-in on your current passion, there’s no reason not to consider going back to school and changing careers.

You Don’t Have Those One (or Two) Job Requirements

If your job doesn’t offer a ton of advancement options, you may start to look outwardly. It’s only natural. Yet when you look at the job you want, you’re constantly lacking one or two significant job requirements. These aren’t in the “desirable” or “nice to have” categories. They’re something that disqualifies you from consideration if you don’t have them.

When you know exactly what these aspects are, you can fine-tune your academic courses to address these lacking requirements. The more you study job descriptions and what employers are looking for, the better your educational pursuits will become. This, in turn, will lead to far more job opportunities.

Top Industries To Consider If You Want To Work Remotely

Going back to school for a passion is far different than going back to school for opportunity. If you’re going back for passion, you may not think of job placement opportunities; it’s just something you love doing enough to want to do it for a career. Conversely, going back to school and changing careers for opportunity is a different idea. If you’re embracing the latter idea, you may want to consider industries that are growing or that embrace remote work more readily than your previous position. Some of the top industries to consider include:

  • IT, software engineering, web design, and computer science
  • Marketing and advertising
  • Healthcare, but more specifically telehealth and telemedicine
  • Education, tutoring, and teaching
  • Writing and editing
  • Graphic design
  • Project management
  • Transciption and translation
  • Psychology and therapy
  • Engineering

If none of these strike your fancy, do your own research to find out what career paths provide a stepping stone toward remote work. With more and more companies embracing remote work, you might find something outside of these industries that fuels your interest and motivation to go back to school and change careers.

How to Find a Remote Job for Your New Career Aspirations

Once you’ve finished your last final and breathe a sigh of relief, you might think: Now what? Well, it’s an intriguing problem to have. When you graduate, you open yourself up to a world of opportunities, especially with remote work. So before you hit the panic button, let Virtual Vocations help you on your journey.

Virtual Vocations is more than just a job board. We offer job coaching, career services, industry guides, a constantly updated blog, and a number of other benefits that can align you with the career you want. You went to school and changed careers. Don’t stop now. Entrust Virtual Vocations in your job search, and you’ll finally complete the path to a new career that few people have the will, desire, or drive to achieve.

Have you ever thought about going back to school and changing careers? What motivates you? What are your hang-ups? Connect with Virtual Vocations on FacebookTwitterLinkedInInstagram, and YouTube to share your thoughts and tips. We’d love to hear from you!

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