As the politics and hiring requirements of my current employment remain in flux, I am told that I need to weigh options regarding my future carefully. I’ve been given another renewal of my contract, but with a subtext regarding possible changes to the hiring process next year that my exclude me from being reliably certain of future employment because of my current level of education. If I want to be certain that I will be able to be hired, I’ll need to look into starting a Master’s program somewhere, which is increasingly becoming the standard requirement at most desirable universities. Other measures might need to be explored before I fully commit to that option, but it looks to be a likely outcome.

Ironically, my employment itself is one of the problems with the decision to pursue further education, because trying to make ends meet, raise a family, and gain a higher level of education will be a feat requiring extremely difficult manuveuring. If I went to a university less stringent on my time, I could more easily acquire a Master’s degree, but the pay to move to such a school would be low enough that I’d need to find ways to supplement my earnings to be able to afford my education, housing, and family. My life doesn’t stop when I decide to get a degree, so the fine balancing act I’ve managed for the past few years turns into a high wire act. Of course, that is if my timing isn’t already too late, and finding employment really would be limited by my education. Promising to earn a Master’s degree in two to three years might not be the same as having the document completed when it comes to looking for work these days.

If I was able to work at a university after getting a Master’s degree, I probably wouldn’t want to work at my current university anyway, since the benefits granted to people with higher degrees wouldn’t be worth the undertaking unless I was seeking long term employment there to recoup the costs anyway. If the program is in as much flux and possible danger as implied by the threats from the new director, long term employment isn’t likely anyway. The thing I need to do to stay at my job is the same thing that would make me want to leave once I did it. But I’d be leaving the school to get a higher education so I could continue to work at a school, not necessarily the same one though. Catch-22.

I’ve been weighing my options for the past few days and have received nothing but loving support from my wife. The likelihood that I would be able to gain desirable future employment rests on higher education, so that is what she wants me to do. The financial impact isn’t the only factor I am weighing. There are as of yet unspoken family complications, potential long term societal shifts as to the career existing in the future, and just lots of options about what I want to consider. There are more profitable ways to teach English, but the short sided nature of them make them more risky. There has been a rift between myself and several coworkers that is spiraling to a possible conflict soon which is also weighing on my mind heavily. I need to consider a lot of different factors about where I work, what I do, and where I think my options are.

I like some things, I dislike others, worry about a few things, and I want to make sure that my family doesn’t suffer from my consequences unduly all while trying to maximize my potential earnings and future. It’s a big decision to undertake a serious commitment to higher learning, which I need to get right because the timing of the event is more important than I had previously anticipated. I had considered several of these options earlier and had a suitable time frame for myself and my family worked out that took personal preferences into effect, but with my employer throwing my time frame closer than I anticipated I’m a little worried that with everything I have going on at the moment I’m biting off way more than I can chew.

Of course, as I start seriously thinking about my future and start to talk about it with my wife so that we can really begin planning what we want to do, I get a migraine, lay down for a few hours and wish the pain in my head would stop because it was near torture. Going into work tomorrow I need to deal with plenty of annoying things, but now weighing major life decisions is stacked up on my plate too.

I’ll have time in a month to decompress and let go of all this pent up anxiety while I further explore different options, but it feels really different this time around. I’ve been here a (really) long time, and I feel like my ass is starting to get kicked by people younger than me professionally. I’m feeling older, and the once endless permutations of potential futures awaiting for me seem to be collapsing into a near certain preordained path. Some of the certainty is welcome, like a stable family life and loving household waiting for me when I return home from my job, but the future jobs I see awaiting me don’t seem as good without a major change. This is a new thing for me, and I need some time to come to terms with it.