1-Click Apply Girl’s Moment of Reckoning: Back to School

The stock market is freaking out, and it appears I’m currently down by 10% of my original investment, so instead, here’s a little tale for my 1-Click Apply friends.

My job search has taken an unexpected turn. I’m thinking about going back to school.

FACT PATTERN POINT 1: my dead-end day job enables me to receive tuition remission on grad school for myself, as well as for one of my daughters’ undergrad educations.

After the “Tale of the 1-Click Apply” job offer, and the countless applications (countless because I didn’t always add the 1-Click Apply jobs to my “Applied For” monthly lists), I decided, you know what? SCREW all this pointless job searching to make a little more money so I can live my best life and get closer to opening my own business again and write books…and instead get my MBA!

Should I get my MBA? I had always planned on a graduate degree, an MBA, actually.

FACT PATTERN POINT 2: I had been a business and accounting major at University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee with an MBA as the next step. Then I moved to California before finishing my undergrad.

DON’T DO THAT. TELL YOUR KIDS. DON’T EVER DO THAT. Do not move during your undergrad unless it was part of the original plan with consideration for transferring credits.

My major was impacted, and so I chose to switch to English, Creative Writing, because I love it. I figured my undergrad really didn’t matter. I could have fun with my writing BA and still apply for the MBA. Somewhere in that time, I decided my life’s work and destiny was to get an MFA and PhD in English and teach writing. Either way, I was winning, I thought.

By the time I was ready to start grad school, I was a mom of three and in financial distress after opening a restaurant. Seemed like…well, you know…life had taken a turn.

Years later the question hung: should I have gone for the Masters and stayed out of the restaurant?

To get the MBA paid for, there is a catch (called Federal TAX), and I must stay employed with the organization for the duration. In my job search, I had not ruled out staying with this institution, and I’ve applied for several more career-focused positions there, thinking that maybe I should stay for further education.

This post is about one I want to share, in case anyone out there on the hunt for a good job wants to hear about it and say, “I hear ya, girl, job search is insane.” I have nothing really great to say about newbie investing except that I’ve been screaming on the roller coaster ride down, and the drop is tooooo loonnnnggg.

The one I’m actually sharing about…the one that will make your jaw drop with one detail…is Parent Engagement Coordinator. Sounds like Event Planner meets Girl Scout leader, right? Well, that’s me. Former event planner and former troop leader. I can wrangle event staff and vendors just as well as I can soothe parents who want to participate or put in their two cents but not participate.

I had a phone interview. It went well, the job’s typical busy work-week consists of communications, events, etc…BUT ONE MORE THING. Ready?

24/7 PARENT HOTLINE. The person in the position is responsible for listening and responding, as well as scanning social media on any hot-button issues, coordinating with other departments or campus safety for a TWENTY-FOUR HOUR/SEVEN DAYS A WEEK Parent Hotline at a private university where families spend A LOT per year for their kid to study/live/eat/play. I know plenty of parents who would FOR CERTAIN use this tool to gain access to solutions for their college kids. Pressure for perfection. Three weeks before my interview, there was an incident late one evening: the Parent Engagement Coordinator manned the ship a good two hours getting a handle on things. (I would have been asleep, probably.)

Coincidence that a few weeks later they are interviewing for the position?

Want to know what else? The job’s pay is my magic number!!!! It’s my own present salary range!! Like everything else I have interviewed for. What is up with this salary ceiling I keep hitting?? So, I would be doing something in my previous field, working 3 times as hard for the SAME PAY…PLUS a 24/7 PARENT HOTLINE. Hahahaha.

OF COURSE, I enthusiastically accepted the chance for an in-person 3-panel interview, because why? Because I promised myself I would go to ALL interviews. And you never know. I interviewed the heck out of that job with total zeal!

Meanwhile, I decided to apply to grad school for the MBA and made that my last job application.

FACT PATTERN POINT 3: I have three stellar letters of rec for grad school (including one from the former dean of that very business school), my own pretty good letter of intent (since I actually self-identify as “writer”), and my former business owner resume. Looking good?

Reality check.

This is still expensive. Although the tuition remission is a sweet, sweet deal, due to 2017 changes to tax code, I have to pay tax on the value of the tuition. For one recent grad/employee, this was $300 out of each paycheck. $600 per month. Not feasible when I will have three college offspring I should be helping instead. If I spread this out to one class each semester, and finish in 170,000 years, it will be a bit more than $150 out of each check. (Plus, the state’s still garnishing my checks for another two months for that issue previously posted.)

The recent grad I spoke with, who worked full time throughout, admitted to taking on credit card debt to make it work, and she doesn’t even have kids.

Adding debt again, yikes. After closing our business, I spent years paying off steep credit card debt which I had racked up from life’s expenses while not drawing salary the last six months of operating the business…expenses like three kids, doctor copays, groceries, clothes, needed STUFF. The only way the MBA is possible, is if I increase my income, which means finding revenue outside of my low-paying day job.

All this job searching, soul searching, and investment research points me in one direction: return to being my own boss, even if it’s a side hustle for now. Time to strategize.

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