Hello fellow Manager( and Career) Tools devotees,
My name is Ben Whipple (hence the “CoolWhip” moniker) and I’m facing a bit of a dilemma. Over the last 8 years I’ve held positions of increasing responsibilities at different Wireless/Telecommunications companies, with my current title being “Retail Area Manager” where I oversee 6 retail locations in New Mexico, Western Colorado and Southern Utah. I work for a large company who is the phone provider in this area. I was just promoted to this position in August of last year after very solid success in a store manager role.
Of course the “current economic climate” (a turn of phrase I hesitate to use) brings with it some pretty challenging realties, including the companies decision to close 2 of my locations and eliminate the Area Manager position here in Albuquerque. I have known for the last month or so, and it currently looks as if my last day will be sometime in the first week of February. I will receive a severance package and am in a financial situation that doesn’t require me to immediately get another job. I have been offered 3 other positions within the company, each that would involve a step down in pay and management responsibility, and I’ve decided not to accept.
So now I come to the question. I never finished my Bachelor's degree. I started working and found something I was good at and figured life was better when you were making $40,000 a year rather than paying $12,000. Over the years I’ve signed up for classes here and there, always telling myself that I would complete that degree, but as I kept progressing up, the need for the degree became less and less apparent. I am now faced with the possibility of going back to school full time, finding some part time employment in the field (a sales rep at a store, etc) and focusing on my degree.
I’m looking for opinions on how this works as a career move. My resume would show increasing responsibilities, culminating in a “managing managers” role that brought in half a million a month in revenue. And then a drop to a sales rep while I finish my degree. In your opinions, is the degree worth it? I realize I’ve given little to judge my career on, but do you feel like I have the foundation for further career growth with out a 4 year degree?
I’ll complete my degree at a state school (most likely Boise State) and then start looking to complete a MBA. The kicker is that I’m 32 years old, and it will take at least 2 more years to complete my bachelors. My fiancée keeps telling me that 32 isn’t to old to go back, but I guess I’m looking for some people with a business background to chime in. Any advice is certainly appreciated!