Why I’m no longer interested in pursuing further studies

I arrived at work earlier than everyone else. Truth is, I’m still late at 7:23 am. I should report as early as 7:00 am because I have to offset my office hours for my 4 pm classes. Where will I ever find the antidote to my laziness to wake up early?

This post has been stored in my Draft Folder for quite some time. I think I started writing the title some time last year. As always, someone or a recent experience prompted me to write. How I was ignited to write this post, I can’t exactly remember. One thing sure, my years of working experience in the academe gave me lesser appreciation for advanced degrees, particularly PhDs. How ironic because I work for a school where masteral and doctoral degrees are considered as a requirement for promotion and career advancement.

Years ago, I used to admire people who have earned their PhDs. It made me respect more the few colleagues who have those extended alphabets after their family name. I see them as the master of everything. They know everything. They are gods in their respective fields of discipline. Unfortunately, the respect gradually faded when I started to gain working opportunities with colleagues, whom I thought as gods and goddesses. Call me the meanest, but my admiration turned to disappointment as I witnessed and experienced their working performance. I don’t want to go in details but dear God, modesty aside… my 24-year old self was able to produce better technical reports than my colleagues who undertook years of Graduate School studies. (Note: Just in case any of my colleagues happen to read this post, my claim is not true for everyone. I guess there are still a few colleagues with PhDs who really work well.) This is just one of the reasons why Graduate studies no longer appealed to me… Let me enumerate and explain other reasons why I’m contented with my lone masteral degree.

1. I will not gain any promotion or career advancement – I’m only a part time Faculty Member. My base appointment still lies on my office work. As of date, I have attained the highest possible rank and promotion for my position. Good as, I’m on the dead end of promotion.  No more ladders of career growth for me. The next position I can achieve is that of my Boss, which is 100% impossible for me to achieve. If let us say my Boss becomes the VP (which is 100% impossible) maybe I’ll have the 0.00000000000000001 % chance. 😉 So as you can see, the selfish reason of career advancement accounts for my lack of interest in pursuing advanced degrees.

2. I don’t have a clear expertise – I’m becoming a Jack of all Trades and a master of nothing. I have an undergraduate degree in Economics.  I started my career in Research. I earned my MBA.  My little knowledge in Statistics made me earn some freelance works. I ventured to teaching, particularly Economics and Research Writing. I used to tutor High School kids who are having difficulties with their Math subjects. After some time, I was transferred to Corporate Planning. On the side, I established a candy buffet business with a friend. Years ago, I even had a mini printing business. Where is the expertise path here?

If I will pursue further studies, I want it to be useful to whatever career path I intend to take. I’m not sure if a PhD in Business or Economics would be useful to my uncertain career path. PhD in Business will be relatively easy because its offered at the school where I work. I can get discounts and I’ll be spared from other expenses. The convenience however comes with a tradeoff. I have to deal with a few colleagues who might become my classmates. Based from personal experience, I don’t encourage this set-up. It’s hard to divide the line between work and school. In addition to this, there will surely be conflicts when a subject requires a research output focusing on a particular company. Most of the time, I will be faced in a tug-of-war situation with colleagues, who intend to consider the school as a setting.

3. I love my weekends – Who doesn’t? I cannot anymore imagine waking up early to attend Saturday classes. Leaving me with Sunday as the lone rest day.

4. Cost Benefit Analysis : Cost > Benefit – I maybe wrong but considering the expenses I have to endure, the cost of education will never exceed the benefits I have to receive. This arises from my reality that career advancement is over. Not that I’m being too hard on myself, but my current set up in the company means that there are no more path of career growth for me.

5. A PhD does not suit my current position or level in the company – Seriously, a corporate slave with a doctoral degree? It will never sound good. It would only contribute to my pathetic state. I would appear as someone who can advance herself in academics, but never in actual practice.

6. I learn more in the battlefield – I’m apprehensive and partly frightened with this conviction. My reluctance and fear arise from my colleagues and other people who have the best intentions of pursuing advanced studies. I work for a school and I’m aware that I should not be saying anything that can harm the academic industry. I don’t want to spark a spat or any form of debate. Please consider my opinion applicable to myself. I don’t intend to convince and influence others.

When I transferred to Corporate Planning, my immersion with industry practitioners intensified. I was able to attend symposia and seminars with people from multinational companies. Most of the best and knowledgeable speakers I encountered don’t have multiple degrees. Some don’t even have a masteral degree, but they hold critical positions in their respective companies. I have seen VPs, COOs and CEOs who only have their undergraduate / bachelor’s degree in their credentials. However, their working experiences mesmerised and impressed me well. They were able to lead successful projects. They are driven by ideas leading to innovations. They have countless achievements and accomplishments. They are so empowered to think that it was decades ago when they last entered the portals of the academe.

Caution : I’m not saying that the academe is useless and pointless. Everyone needs schooling. The academe provides the preparation and professional grooming. What I’m trying to emphasise is that graduate studies are becoming overrated FOR ME. Yes, I intend to limit this conviction to myself.

I’m thankful to all the teachers and professors I’ve encountered. Being a teacher myself, I know that my past teachers have in one way or another, contributed to my entire learning experience. I later discovered that the real learning and knowledge happens as soon as I move out from school. Truth to be told, 80% of what I know were learned from the actual battlefield. I was oriented to research writing in the academe. When I started working, my knowledge in research widened and realised that there’s more to do in business or corporate research. The same goes with my little knowledge in Statistics. The application of Statistics in the Academe and workplace are so much different. More often than not, I gain more appreciation when I learn the system of application in the battlefield. In Graduate School, I will learn things the traditional way. In the actual battlefield, I have to figure out things on my own. No books, journals and any other reference materials. I’m forced to move mountains with no tools at all. I learned to be more resourceful and creative in practice. There are no passing grades to beat. Passing rates are determined if I can make things happen or not. And most of the time, failure is not an option in the battlefield.

I think I have written so much. It’s 11:48 am and yes, I stole office hours for this blog post. I might as well end here and return to where I should be.


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