What does my future hold???

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-26-2003
What does my future hold???
Fri, 06-13-2003 - 5:50pm
Haven't posted this week, just been lurking! I am having some sort of mid-life crisis thing going on.... A little background: I am 36, married with 2 kids. DD starting high school in the fall, DS starts kindergarten. I have always held parttime jobs so that I could be the mom taxi and be there for the kids. My paycheck (measley) have always been for me and the kids, maybe pay a few small bills. Anyway, as we are in a financial bind right now, and also I feel that I am getting older and my clock is ticking.....I need to do something with my life. Now that the youngest is about to start school, I need to make some career decisions! As we all know, in this day and age, we all have to have some sort of training, or education to land a decent job! My job this past fall was working at the local jr. high school in the library for minimum wages. My mom is encouraging me to look into a nursing program at the Tech school here. It is a year long full time course, that would be during school hours, so it would work well for the kids. Also, there is an opening at one of the banks in town I heard about. I am just in lingo as to which direction to take....If I go into the nursing program, it will be a whole year before I can start working, and it costs around 3500.00 for the course. I know it is not the time for us to be taking out a school loan, but in the long run it will mean a better job for me. Then I have these thoughts of "Is nursing really for me?" I have never worked in the medical field, but have always thought it would be interesting. I have in fact, signed up to take the NET exam, to get started in the process. But, this doesnt mean I will be accepted. Should I just apply for the bank job or another job for instant income? Or should I follow the college route and land a better job in a year or so? We have our house for sale, and I am cutting down in alot of different ways. Thanks for your time!

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-04-2003
Fri, 06-13-2003 - 7:18pm
Well, this situation, lurker though I am, I may actually be able to advise on!

I'm actually about to go back to school for another Bachelor's myself, so some of this my be a bit colored, but here goes:

Money invested in education for a better future is (almost) never wasted. If it will cost you $4000 (after books & supplies; I'm assuming the $3500 was just tuition) then you have gained a useful education cheaply. Where I'm about to go, that $4000 would pay for one semester, no books, no supplies, and believe me, my courses will take more than a year!

This student loan now (student loan rates are around 4% last I checked) will give you the ability to earn an income that will pay the loan off within a year. Usually they have a built in 6-month deferment, so you have 6 months to find work after graduation before your first payment is due. This may be slightly different at a tech school, but it seems to me that a student loan is a student loan and they should operate by similar federal rules. You're already living on one income: continue to do so until the loan is payed. At that point you will have a significantly larger amount of household money to work with. Think retirement, something for you to do when your kids have moved out, something that is your own means if support if (heavens forbid) something happens to your husband. These are all good positive things, they are also long term things. I think at 36 you're young enough to be looking at long-term. When I went through college my first time I had a 46 year old class-mate with a 16 year-old son. Proof enough to me at 20 that you can do this thing at any age, and that the future is always something to look to.

So here's the flip side(also from experience): If you aren't sure that nursing is the thing for you, don't do it!!! That is the one case where money for education can be considered a waste. I really, really dislike everything my current degree qualifies me to do. It also doesn't pay me enough. Now that I'm older and have had some time to think about it, I'm going back to get into a field that is a complete 180 degree turn-around: and also something better suited to my personality. Unfortunately it took me a few years of doing what I graduated for to figure it out! If there is any way you can talk to other nurses, tour a hospital, find a "mentor" to follow for a day, or if none of the above, just really think it through. Because if nursing isn't something that is going to work for you personally, then you're better off at the bank while you think it over.

To me, this kind of a decision has less to do with the money and the debt, and more to do with your personal goals/dreams/desires. The trick (and oh, it is a trick!)is to be as certain as you can be. If you do it: it will more than pay for itself. If you don't: you won't have to pay for it in the first place. Financially the difference is really in the long term. And financially, the better bet is nursing school. I'm not sure where you're at, but I'm in Seattle and there's a huge demand for qualified nurses. When the tech sector tanked, health care was about the only employment category left in the papers! So I don't think you'll have trouble becoming employed at a good wage.

Anyway - long story short: IF it's something you really want: go for it! If you're really uncertain, go for the bank. And in the mean-time, keep doing all you've been doing. In the end, which-ever way you go, I'm sure all will be well!

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-12-2003
Fri, 06-13-2003 - 7:30pm
It seems like nursing would offer more options (and greater earning potential) in the future, and therefore would justify the cost of the training program. However, I agree with the first reply--if it's not a career you'd be happy with, don't do it. Could you maybe spend some time volunteering at a local hospital to help you determine if the medical field is something you'd enjoy? In addition to getting some first-hand experience in that environment, I bet the nurses there would be more than willing to talk to you about the pros and cons of what it's like to do what they do every day.

Good luck!


iVillage Member
Registered: 08-14-2002
Fri, 06-13-2003 - 10:10pm
"The best job in the world is to find something you love to do, then find someone to pay you for doing it." One of my most favorite sayings! If you can find that, then it won't matter whether you make minimum wage, or a million dollars a year. Please please please don't get into a career where you might not be satisfied, or will become bored. Only you can answer that question. I agree with the others: this question is not a short-term question of which job, or how much money - it's about your long-term dreams and goals, and what kind of career is most likely to make those things happen, and you having a satisfying career, happiness and pride in yourself while you're at it.

I would advise making a visit to the tech school's admissions department, and ask to speak to a career counselor. If one is not available, then get yourself to the nearest university and ask the same question of them. Most colleges have these people on hand, free of charge, to help match your personality, characteristics, needs and interests to thousands of different careers. They might even hit on something you had not thought about, or results may show you are/aren't cut out for nursing or banking.

I went back to college in 1990 to pursue a teaching degree, thinking that this was my dream career. I did very well in courses and in student teaching, but after graduation when I landed that first teaching job, I fell flat on my face and hated it! I loved the kids, loved the actual teaching part, but just could not handle classroom management and discipline at all. A visit to the counselor's office might have prevented this major stumble. Boy, do I have tremendous respect for our nation's teachers - they have something in their character that is so rare and so special. The job is not as easy as you would think.

So, with my $15,000 of student loans following me, I went back into the career where I belonged and should have stayed in the first place: graphic arts. (The hiatus into teaching was a response to my then-DH's very specific career choice, limiting his options of where we could live - I thought with a teaching degree, I could get a job just about anywhere we went, whether in the city or waaaaay out in the country. In 1990, graphic arts hadn't taken off yet like it has now. NOW, I really can get a job just about anywhere I want to, even in my own living room.)

I love my job. Heck, if I was independently rich and didn't need a paycheck, I'd even do it for free.

What kind of career would you chose to really make you happy, if you didn't need the paycheck? Now, with that answer, how can you turn this career into something that WILL earn you a paycheck?

Good luck and happy hunting!



iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sat, 06-14-2003 - 3:12am
Another thing you might want to try is temporary work. You could sign up with a temp agency and go on some assignments. This way, you would be exposed to different jobs and office environments - without having to commit to a permanent position. You just might find something that is a good fit for you. And you would be making money.

Avatar for cl_beckymk
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Sat, 06-14-2003 - 9:14am
I agree with the others! I wouldn't go into Nursing just because they are in high demand right now. If you are only going into for the money, you will be disappointed. Now, if you would enjoy do the nursing, then go for it. I know the nurses around here work very hard for not a lot of money most of them do it because it's something they love and would burn out quickly if they were only in it for the money.

It kind of reminds me of the computer field...there was a high demand and a shortage of workers in the field, so it seems that everyone went into Computer Science because "Wow, look at the demand for it" and well now, now the tables have turned and (at least around here) you can't get a Computer Tech job to save your life.

I understand your thinking though, I'm still in the I don't know what I want to be when I grow up thinking. I have several more years before it would even be feasible for me to go to work but I have thought about it and don't have a clue what I want to do. I always thought it would be wonderful to be a Genetics Counselor, SO...what I did is when I quit my day-job to be a SAHM, our community college offered an Intro to Genetics course because it had been years (basically I remembered really liking it from High School Biology). Anyway....I took the course and decided that was NOT for me. I got an A in it but it was hard and overwhelming for my brain. I knew after that 1 class, there was no way I could pursue that career, even though I still find genetics interesting not enough. I have also considered an events planner or travel agent because I have planned a few things and I really enjoyed doing that but have been looking into pros/cons on different ones casually.

Good Luck with whatever you decide and really do some soul searching before deciding...you also might want to check out the Work Channel here, there is a board called "Brainstorm Your Future" http://messageboards.ivillage.com/iv-califeplan and covers these types of things.


iVillage Member
Registered: 06-13-2003
Sat, 06-14-2003 - 9:48pm

I would see if I could take some vocational tests at the tech school for free or at a low cost. They help you figure out things about yourself. Are you a people person, do you like to work with your hands etc etc.? It is also wise to retake these tests if someone is thinking about changing careers. Sometimes someone who was mostly working with people gets sick of it and wants to do something else; like maybe something artistic such as being a graphic artistic on the computer or a CAD designer.

Also about nursing... I would investigate it further. Maybe volunteer at the hospital for a few hours one day a week. Talk to the head of the program. Also when you take those vocational tests you might decide to do informational interviews. You could talk to some nurses at one of the hospitals and find out how they felt about nursing.

I do know that LPN's do most of the work in a hospital and are on their feet a lot. You could also work in many specialities with children, older persons etc. The nurses with the most mobility are R.N.'s. I know University of Phoenix has courses for RN's with experience to get a B.S. in nursing. RN's supposedly do most of the paperwork.

I knew of one woman who was a neonatal nurse and worked with sick little babies who sent out of state a few weeks a year and made alot more money. She used the money to pay for kids college.

Also some LPN's or RN's go to work for personal injury attorneys. They train them to be paralegals because they know all the medical terminology.

So think about nursing in another way are you especially good with children, seniors etc?

Would you like to work with an OB/GYN? Many women are in that field. Also a lot of nurses work at doctors offices. Hospitals pay more but, you have more risk of AIDS etc too.

You just have to think about things more and do more investigation. Some nurses work at night or on rotating shifts. Some places they work 10 or 12 hour days.

Also you could work for a home health agency and travel to peoples homes to give them medication and stuff in their IV's. Some nurses do private duty and work for 1 person only a lot of times at night. I think that might. pay really well.

You have to think about your husband, his job how supportive he is etc. Where would you get child care after school or in the summer? How much would it cost etc. etc. or do you have family to help? There is no right or wrong answer to these questions.

Good luck

Trish or Mctripat

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-24-2003
Sat, 06-14-2003 - 10:24pm
The thing about nursing is, nurses often have to work a night shift when they first start out in nursing. Work at night, sleep during the day. Do you want to do those kinds of hours?
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-26-2003
Sun, 06-15-2003 - 7:04pm
Thanks everyone for your input! I really really appreciate it! I am still pondering all of my options..... and I am still studying on this guide book for nursing entrance. I talked to a girl I know that has been nursing for 6 yrs. She went to the same TECH school that I am looking at. She really enjoys it. I know everyone is different though. I just want something that will give me some benefits, retirement, something that will give me a sense of accomplishment. I live in a small town, (7,000 people) and there is not alot of job opportunities around, especially for a woman. I know this is not at all on the debt subject! SORRY! I have lurked over on the job boards. I think I will post over there and get some feedback too. THANKS everyone for your support and ideas!