Why do people “go back to school”? I’m pondering this because of my own situation and because of the choices made by some co-workers. I’m trying to think beyond the typical answers such as “to get a better job” or “to make more money”.
As opposed to “to get a better job”, I believe the real response should be “because I’m tired of my current job but I really don’t want to look for another job so I just start educating myself for something different and see what happens when I’m finished”. Not nearly as impressive of an answer, but at some level it is probably true.
The people who want to make more money probably really mean that they want fame, fortune, and importance and that is probably the motivation for most of what they do. At least when the “going back to school” is reference to obtaining an MBA. Most people who go back to school for an MBA already had a decent paying job and won’t increase their pay by much after completing the degree. There has to be additional motivation besides $.
Another possible reason is “because I’ve been out of school, I’m becoming a grown-up, I’m starting to feel old and boring, and school is more fun than working.” That is a very realistic response, especially if the person is going back to school full-time. That’s part of the reason I’d like to go back to school full-time. It takes a lot of courage to quit your job for a couple of years to chase your youth of the past and your dreams of the future. It also costs much more money, especially if your employer is paying for your part-time tuition.
Why am I going back? I think it’s a combination of responses 1 and 3. And also the Everest theory: because it’s there and it’s something to achieve for person satisfaction, even if you don’t have anything to show for it afterwards. Are there other reasons? Probably. I’m still thinking.