Advanced Degrees While Employed

Dear, Anita,

I currently have a demanding full-time job, and young children. I’d like to get an advanced degree so that I can obtain a better position.  Is going back to school while working doable?

Dear, Striving Student,

woman-with-booksI applaud your ambition. Furthering your education while working full-time is definitely doable, but is not for the faint of heart!

  • Explore Your Options. I’m not sure if you have your eyes on a higher position in your current company or if you are looking to jump ship after getting your next degree. Regardless, it’s a good idea to talk to your manager about your educational plans before you enroll. Some companies offer tuition assistance for a work-related graduate degree. Put together a presentation on how your degree would add value to the company.  If you are planning to go to a local college or university, you may need to ask your boss if your work schedule can be adjusted for the needed class times. An alternative is to find a grad program that allows you to take some or all of your courses online, greatly increasing a working student’s chances of success.
  • Expect to Sacrifice. Be prepared to start burning the candle at both ends. Your time management skills will be put to the test. For some helpful hints, check out my recent post Tips for Time Management. Even with a well-planned calendar, you are likely to be more stressed than your co-workers and other full-time grad students who are not working. But don’t expect special treatment on the job, or at school, because you are juggling both at once. Ask for favors, such as project extensions, as infrequently as possible. Your boss and your professor expect your performance to be the same as any other employee or student. Compartmentalize: Make sure you’re not finishing up your paper for school while on the clock at work. You’ll have to make sacrifices in your personal life, whether it is going on fewer social outings, cutting back your volunteer activities, even skipping some household chores. (There – you have my permission not to dust!)
  • Muster Your Support System. Ask for help from family and friends. Can your neighbor pick up your son from soccer practice on the nights you have to race from work to class? Can your buddy change the oil in your car to save you a half-day getting to and from the mechanic? Be creative. Offer to host study groups at your house, so you won’t have to find a babysitter. 

It may take a longer period of time to finish grad school while holding down your current job, but once you get that promotion or better job offer, you’ll have no regrets.

Readers: Have you obtained an advanced degree while working part- or full-time? Can you offer any tips on how to achieve a work-life-school balance?

Have a question you would like to ask? Visit http://anitaclew.com/ask-anita/.

Want to receive these tips by email? Simply subscribe for once-a-week tips and tricks for career success!

Emergency Preparedness in the Workplace

Dear, Anita,

Every time a natural disaster makes headlines, I start to worry about our office safety. What if something happens during work hours? Can you offer me any tips to implement an emergency preparedness plan for my workplace?

Dear, Dorothy,

Tornadoes and hurricanes and earthquakes. Oh, my! As if natural disasters weren’t enough, workplaces sometimes have to deal with broken water mains, fires, accidents, and rare cases of disgruntled employees going postal. While I’d like to be an eternal optimist, I find it’s wise to observe the scout motto, “Be prepared.”

TornadoThe American Red Cross website is a great place to start your emergency preparedness planning: http://www.readyrating.org. Membership is free in its Red Cross Ready Rating Program, which offers an online self-assessment tool, along with resources to help you implement an emergency plan for your workplace.  Steps include obtaining safety equipment, writing both an emergency plan and Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP), and educating employees.

Part of the plan will be evacuation procedures. How will all employees be alerted? What is the emergency escape route or the shelter-in-place site for your building? Where is the external assembly area to account for employees after an evacuation?

Medical assistance may be required in some emergencies. Are your first aid kits up to date? Even if one person is designated to call emergency personnel, it never hurts for anyone and everyone to dial 911.

What happens if your office space does sustain some damage? The Continuity of Operations Plan establishes a back-up plan for daily operation of essential business functions. Reach out now to suppliers, vendors, and other businesses to create procedures to implement in the event of disaster.

Once you have your company’s emergency preparedness plan in place, be sure to communicate it to every single employee. Schedule an annual practice drill. You’ll find most staff members won’t mind a break from their usual tasks to protect their personal safety and the source of their livelihood. For a few laughs, and some pointers on how NOT to conduct your mock training exercise, enjoy this fire drill clip from the sitcom “The Office”:

Readers: Does your workplace have an emergency plan in place? When was the last time you practiced a building evacuation drill?

Have a question you would like to ask? Visit http://anitaclew.com/ask-anita/.

Want to receive these tips by email? Simply subscribe for once-a-week advice for career success!

Tips for Time Management

Hi, Anita:

My business has seen a huge jump in orders and we are firing on all cylinders. I definitely welcome the increase in pace and couldn’t be happier with the pick-up in the economy. But I am worried that before long I will find myself with too many things to do and not enough time to do it. What tips do you have for time management?

Dear, Crunched for Time:

Time management is a great tool for everyone to master. When time begins to vanish right before your eyes, it is good to have a set plan in mind on how to keep your life in order. One thing that always fascinates me about time… when all we have is time, it creeps by, and when we don’t have enough, it seems to fly out the window.

Time_Mgmt

Here a few tips to keep that wily and unruly time of ours under control.

  • Take the first 30 minutes of your day planning out your day.
  • Prioritize your tasks. Separate them into those that must be completed today, those due tomorrow, those due next week, and so on. This will give you a good checklist to work from.
  • Record your daily activities and analyze the time you spend doing each type of task. When you look back after two weeks, you will be able to better understand where you can save 5 minutes here or 10 minutes there.
  • Don’t be afraid to set aside “Do Not Disturb” time for yourself. Get the most important tasks completed and out of the way during these hours.
  • Budget time in your day for unanticipated interruptions. Trust me, they come out of nowhere when you least expect them.
  • Remind yourself that you are only human, and it is impossible to get everything done in a day.
  • Schedule time about every half hour to respond to emails in your inbox. If something is urgent and needs your immediate attention, instruct your staff to either call or visit you in your office.
  • Get plenty of sleep, exercise, and eat a healthy diet. It will help you have more energy and the fuel to stay focused on the tasks at hand.

A good video to watch is below from Dr. Darryl Cross. It is a bit longer than my usual visual entertainment but worth every minute:

Readers, what do you think is the biggest time-waster during your day? Do you have a secret tip you would like to share with the Clew-munity?

Best wishes,

Anita

Have a question you would like to ask? Visit http://anitaclew.com/ask-anita/.

Want to receive these tips by email? Simply subscribe for once-a-week tips and tricks for career success!

Disclaimer

Anita Clew's blog posts are intended for general guidance and should never be taken as legal advice. In all instances where harassment, inequity, or unfair treatment is believed to be present, please consult your HR Department or legal representation.
%d bloggers like this: