hands, gaming, gamer, controller

Decisions, decisions

For anyone visiting Later Levels today and expecting to find a new post about video games, let me offer my apologies. This one is off-topic and more personal than my usual ramblings. If you’d prefer to read about gaming and want to come back next week instead, I won’t hold it against you! If you decide you stick with it, you have my sincere thanks for helping me get my thoughts in order.

•••

Everyone goes through those moments in their lives where they stop, take a step back and assess where they’re heading. Sometimes these pauses cause us to see we’re on track for where we want to go; and sometimes we recognise we need to adjust direction slightly to move towards the goal we’ve set our hearts on. And at other times we realise the scenery around us has changed, the destination no longer looks so inviting and we might need to get ourselves a new map.

In last month’s editorial, I briefly wrote about feeling demotivated and a lot of this is to do with my current state of mind at work. I’m tired of highlighting the same risks over and over, of always being told ‘maybe next year’ when I make recommendations, and every month seeing the impact of those risks increase. I just want to move forward and actually achieve something but right now it feels as though there’s a game-breaking bug stopping me from reaching the end of this level.

Maybe I need to start a new game.

This has gone on for too long now so I’ve been considering my own direction over the past few weeks. I think I’d like to go into something more technical. I’ve enjoyed learning code since messing around with my dad’s Commodore 64 as a kid, and picking up HTML and CSS as part of being a WordPress blogger has been fun, so why not continue on that path? There’s just a small problem: all of my qualifications are focused on IT best-practice and the last time I held a technical role was over five years ago.

I therefore need to retrain so I’ve been thinking about starting a Computing & IT degree early next year. I’ve already registered for the course but every time I log into my account, something stops me from clicking on the ‘enrol’ button and completing the final steps. I really want to do this but it’s a huge decision and there are so many important things to consider.

First up is the cost. This degree will mean six years’ worth of study and for each of those I’ll have to find several thousand pounds. It’s a big amount to pay out, particularly when my other-half and I are still trying to renovate the house we moved into last October. He’s extremely supportive and keeps telling me I should do this but I feel guilty about spending so much of our money on something more for ‘me’ than for ‘us’.

Insomnia, video games, Ethan, Kim

Next is the time. I can’t afford to give up working so I’ll therefore need to study part-time and find an additional 23-hours each week to fit in the necessary modules. I can probably meet around half of those during the week but the weekends are more problematic as we only get to see my stepson from Friday evenings to Sunday afternoons. Is it really fair on my little family for me to spend what time we do have together with my head stuck in a text book?

While the ‘cost’ element is something I have to come to terms with, the ‘time’ factor is more something I’ll have to make a decision on. The simplest answer would be to give up blogging in favour of studying but it’s a really tough choice to take. I’ve had so much fun with Later Levels over the past ten months and have met some amazing people; and it feels as though I’m finally beginning to find a writing ‘voice’ I feel comfortable with.

I’m not sure I’m ready to give that up just yet.

Ultimately, I don’t want to let anybody down. I don’t want to squander our savings on a degree which I either don’t enjoy, fail or use to get me to a new place. I don’t want to use my weekends to study for it if it’s going to make my other-half and stepson feel as though I don’t spend enough time with them. And I don’t want to simply disappear from the blogging community when everyone has given me so much support.

Horizon Zero Dawn, video game, woman, warrior, Aloy, mountains, sky, photo mode, clouds

Life decisions such as this are always going to be difficult. It’s like playing a game you’ve sunk over 100-hours into: you’re comfortable but bored with your level 50, and the idea of starting a new release right back at level one is exciting but daunting. We all know how much gamers dislike having to sit through a tutorial and how frequently we rage-quit – but we’re also great at solving problems, battling through tough scenes and saving the world.

Who knows, maybe by the time this post has been published I’ll have made my decision and finally clicked on that ‘enrol’ button.

65 thoughts on “Decisions, decisions

  1. Do you know project Euler? It’s a list of little programming puzzles (for any language) for which you need basic computer science skills. Maybe interesting to try ? And try to read the course books for courses you want to enroll in, before you start the course?

    Like

    1. I hadn’t heard of Project Euler, but I’ve just checked out the website and it’s a really interesting idea. It’s definitely a good resource to give me an idea of whether I’m capable of progressing in a coding field. Perhaps it’s just a confidence thing – if I can register and make it through at least some of the problems, maybe that will give me a bit of a boost.

      Thank you for the advice, it’s really appreciated. 🙂

      Like

      1. I studied Computer Science at university, then continued to work in IT but not in a job where I had to do programming. Last year I noticed I did miss it, but it took a while to gain some more confidence as well (I have been working in a programming job for most of last year now). If you need any book recommendations, let me know 🙂

        Like

  2. Yep! Sounds like you picked a tough row to hoe, but you also seem the sort up for the challenge. If it’s something you’re passionate about, and you feel you’ve hit a ceiling in professional development, then putting a price on what you love to do and your potential impact is actually the first step to realizing priorities (btdt, yo… still dt… yo XD). That said, while the current prospects may seem daunting, don’t forget that tech is more vocational and certificate friendly~ On top of that, there are a number of online resources that provide free lectures and coursework, providing more leeway to save on tuition fees while still qualifying to pass certification exams. If all else fails, you have being a phenomenal nonfic writer to fall back on 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are much too kind, thank you. ❤

      Not going to lie: the challenge aspect of completing a degree (as well as any potential job opportunities) is definitely appealing. Ian from Adventure Rules wrote a post about ' worshipping crunch' this week and I guess I'm guilty of that to some extent. It's just a little scary going into something knowing how much time I'll need to devote to it, and how other things may need to be put to one side for a period of time… but life decisions are never going to be easy, are they? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t know much about the IT world, I had no idea a course would be 6 years! That’s a long time! Are there any alternative courses, or maybe a night school that might be less pricey/time consuming? Or maybe a working for a different company would be better? I imagine you’d have already thought about that though! I’m not exactly the best person as I don’t have kids or as busy a life as some people but here’s what I’d do:
    I think it’s really important that if you’re not enjoying what you’re doing any more you should start looking to improve your situation and make some changes so that’s your first step done! In terms of making it something more for ‘you’ rather than both of you I think it’s OK to be selfish sometimes, it’s not like you’re spending so much money on something frivolous, you’ll get a better job out of it and that will in turn help out the people around you somewhat in the future.
    For the blog maybe you could think of something short and sweet rather than long posts, that would save some time and you wouldn’t have to give it up, though I would miss your usual posts!
    If you’re not 100% certain yet maybe give it a month, if you still really want to do it in a month’s time then press that enrol button! If this will get you to where you want to be and will make you happier for it in the long run, even if it will be a struggle to get there, then it will be worth it.
    I hope that was helpful in some way! Good luck and I hope that it all works out!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Unfortunately the course will take so long because I can’t afford to give up working to study full-time. I’m very lucky to have an other-half who supports me in whatever I do but that makes the decision even harder in some aspects; it’s highly possible I’ll come out of six years of study and *still* feel guilty about spending our savings! 😉

      Fortunately the final date for enrolment on the first module isn’t until mid-January so I’ve still got some time to try and allay my fears. I think I need to figure out a proper schedule to see how much studying, blogging and family time I can actually fit in around work.

      Thank you so much for stopping by and passing on some words of wisdom. I really appreciate it. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

        1. To be honest, I’m not sure I’d be able to go entirely. I’ve enjoyed this year on WordPress and getting to know the bloggers around me, and I think it’d feel like a part of me was missing if I stopped writing completely.

          I think it might be a case of changing how I write, like several people have suggested. Whether that’s blogging as frequently but writing shorter posts or keeping the length and reducing the quantity, I’m not yet sure. But I’m convinced there’s a solution somewhere!

          Liked by 2 people

  4. Good luck with whatever you decide. Take your time to make the decision, talk with your family, think about what you want from this and if it would help you get there. Then make sure you feel comfortable with your decision and go from there.

    The blogging community here would still be here for you regardless, and you wouldn’t necessarily have to disappear from here it just might change how you post (length/frequency of posts etc). It would depend on what happened and how your time worked out of course but there is only so much you can tell by the course needs x hours a week.

    Just remember as much as you are thinking of everyone else you need to think of what you want too. Sure it affects all of you, but so would the job you got after the studying. Think of the long term as well as the short/medium term.

    Good luck and I hope whatever decision you make makes you happy 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’ve made a very good point there: the thing to focus on isn’t giving up blogging completely. It’s to consider other ways to do it, or look at changing the format. I’ve just really enjoyed being a part of the WordPress community this year and I don’t want to have to give that up entirely.

      It’s possible I’m worrying far too much but I don’t want to let anyone down! Something needs to give though and it’s the right time for a change. Your advice means a lot – thank you for the kind words. ❤

      Like

      1. Not wanting to let anyone down really strikes a chord with me as it is something I worry about often. Your family/friends can help reassure you about that as I doubt they could even imagine that you could let them (or anyone else) down. At least that is what I keep being told…

        This community is amazing, and I’m glad I am now a teeny part of it, so I know why you don’t want to give it up entirely. I don’t think you would have to, but you would need to see how you could adapt your blogging (if necessary). There would be little changes that could let you continue whilst studying and working. Definitely think about where you want to go overall because that will make a big impact to the decision that you make.

        Good luck ❤

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I agree wholeheartedly with all of this, especially the idea of having a clear long term goal and then fit your “next move” into that goal.

      Sorry I don’t have more meaningful advice, but… good luck! I’m rooting for you, for whatever that is worth 🙂

      Like

      1. Every piece of advice I’ve received so far has been meaningful, and it’s all very useful! Talking to people has made me see that I need to have a bit more clarity in terms of the direction I want to move in so that’s something I’ll need to ponder on over the next few days. Thanks for the support, Athena. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Tough decision for sure.

    I will add that my wife was kind of in a similar position where she wanted to do something different, not content with what she was doing, although not hating it. She decided to make a change and started her own business.

    It’s a slightly different situation because she didn’t need to find the money to fund a degree, but she found the time to work both full time and on her business and has made that business grow through her passion for it and is slowly dropping her hours from her ‘normal’ job.

    She’s had tough times – her business partner moved out of the country for almost 2 years, but because she wanted it, we made it work. Whilst I’m not in a position to support her financially, I’ve always supported her in any way I can and that has meant not seeing here as much at times, her having to work a lot of weekends, but I know that in the long run it will pay off and I know it will make her happy.

    I’ve always thought that if you want something enough you will find a way to to do it and you will always find help somewhere and sometimes from unexpected places.

    I’m also kind of in a similar position – a bit jaded with my current job, and I’ve actually gone for something that I’d feel I’d love and be really good at – it’s in the games industry, so I really hope it comes off! But I will probably have to sacrifice some wages and cut back on things, but it will be worth it.

    The initial outlay will probably always feel like a burden or difficult but if it’s something you really want, you’ll be able to find a way to make it work!

    Good luck with it all!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “I’ve always thought that if you want something enough you will find a way to to do it and you will always find help somewhere and sometimes from unexpected places.”

      That’s probably some of the best advice I’ve ever heard. I really hope the job opportunity works out for you, Will – you totally deserve it! Just remember me if you become a hotshot in the gaming industry and need a PA. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve been thinking about pursuing a new career for a while, but I never end up enrolling on anything because I don’t really know what I want to do (and of course the whole time and money thing!) If this course is something you really want to do and that you feel will lead to you having a more fulfilling career then you should go for it.

    In the long run, if you are unhappy in your job and see no other career options that don’t require taking the course, then doing nothing will ultimately be detrimental to both you and your family. On the other hand, if you can picture yourself in 10 years time being happy having remained where you are (or moved jobs etc.) without having done the course, then maybe it isn’t worth it. On a bit of an aside, 10 years ago I left a job and uprooted myself and my partner so I could do a master’s degree. This didn’t lead to a good job or increased career opportunities (I earn less now than i did before that!), but it did lead to lots of new friends, a new city to call home and I’ve long forgotten about the money aspect. I won’t pretend it was easy at the time, but overall it was a good life decision, just not in the ways I expected!

    This is literally no help I know, but I really hope whatever you decide makes you happy!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw don’t say that – it’s definitely a help, and it’s good to hear from people who have been in similar situations! It’s also reassuring finding out that although your decision had effects you didn’t imagine, it was still a good one. That definitely provides a bit of comfort. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Golly, what a tough decision. My gut instinct is to offer advice but I think that’s unfair to the specifics of your situation and I honestly don’t know what I would say anyway. Striking that work/school/family/blogging balance is so difficult, and choosing to prioritize one thing over another is seriously tough. I guess the one thing I will say is, those of us who follow you will support whatever decision you make. If leaving Later Levels for some time is what’s necessary to make this happen for you, and you are comfortable with that decision, then you’ve got folks here who will back you 100% and will cheer your triumphant return!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Your post earlier this week about worshipping crunch hit very close to home! I’ll admit that the challenge of studying for a degree and fitting it in with everything else is part of the appeal, but I’ve got to be realistic about what I can actually achieve with the time I have available.

      Thanks for the support, Ian – you guys are simply awesome. It’s the biggest reason why I don’t want to have to step away from the WordPress community completely, regardless of what decision I end up making. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  8. I’m going to go out on a limb here.

    In 2015, Jennifer and I were (happily) married and both working as management of retail stores. We were making a good living, but we knew we weren’t happy. We both came home every day, burnt out and needing a break from it all. It was exhausting going to work every day and dealing with the same issues, over and over.

    So one day, her and I discussed going back to college. I’m still working on my degree, but the last two years have been the most difficult years of our marriage, but we got through it.

    And I can’t help but see how it was worth it.

    Sure, there were days that I felt like all I was doing was working and going to school, with little free time in between. I often missed out on family functions because of my schedule, and Jennifer missed friend’s weddings and time with her family as well. It wasn’t easy.

    Hell, there were days that I just wanted to flip the table, stay home, and play video games and write. Every semester resulted in us spending several thousand dollars on tuition, fees, and books. We borrowed against my already paid off car, she took out student loans, we stopped buying things for ourselves, stopped taking trips and time off… It was difficult. It put a big strain on our relationship. Money tends to do that.

    But we stuck it out and she has a bachelors degree, and I’m on track this semester to finish too. All that trouble we went through was worth it in my opinion. We’re better now than we ever were, and we finally feel like we have a future that involves us being happy with where we’re going. And to top it all off, the troubles we went through only made our relationship stronger. We learned to balance our work lives with school and each other. I learned how to be a better husband to her.

    So honestly, I have to go with the education option. You’re absolutely right that it’s going to be tough, a huge investment, and that there’s a risk involved with it. But I want you to know that what you’re wanting to do isn’t selfish. When you’re with someone, anything you can do to better yourself and your position benefits your partner and family. You may see it as you spending all that time and money on yourself, but the benefits of what you’re considering extend beyond you. I think it’s unfair to look at the potential negative effects from this decision on your loved ones, without considering what good it would do for them as well.

    So that’s my little soapbox rant. If it helps, just remember that school benefits more people than just yourself. If that means you have to put off blogging every once in a while, then so be it. Us true fans out here will be watching and waiting, eager to hear back from you about your successes, and comfort you in your struggles.

    And if you ever need to talk, don’t hesitate.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s so kind of you, Shelby – thank you so much. And thank you too for sharing your story. It’s comforting hearing about the experiences of those who have been through similar situations, and have come out on the other side all the better for it!

      It’s very easy to consider the negative aspects of a decision because they’re so ‘in your face’ and you’re aware of what a damaging impact they can have. But you’re right: it’s important to think about the other side of the coin too and how a situation might benefit those around you in the long-run.

      If the result of your soapbox rants is such good advice, then by all means please keep having them. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  9. It’s tough making difficult decisions, but you know you can’t stay in your current situation either because you’re unhappy too. I’ve been in a similar situation as you, made a tough decision and struggled a bit after I made it. It wasn’t easy but I needed to make it. Eventually it led me to where I am and I’m happier for it. The point is you gotta do what’s right for you. Whatever you decide, I wish you all the luck in the world and I hope you feel happier in your next chapter in life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sometimes you know that something has to change, even if making that change is going to be difficult. I guess it’s a leap of faith: you’ve just got to make the jump and see what happens.

      I’m really glad to hear that things worked out for you and you’re in a happy place. It’s stories that this which have bolstered my courage today, so thank you. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Along with some others above, I can’t really offer any specific advice or suggestions.

    However, what I can say is that if you are in a situation that feels wrong, you need to figure out some way to fix it. And it’s not selfish to do it, even if you are spending “community” money to do it, or making an investment in time that will ultimately pay dividends but will be a payment by you in the meantime.

    Keep in mind that your happiness and well-being affects your SO as well as yourself. I’m not saying this is how you are or would be, but if your current situation causes you to be moody or temperamental, or withdrawn, or whatever from your SO, that affects them as well as you.

    Doing something that helps you can help your SO as well.

    So it’s nothing to feel guilty about.

    Whatever you decide, I know you will succeed in it.

    Like

    1. Everybody’s comments today are making me start to realise that studying and changing careers could also have a positive impact on my family. I’ve been focusing so much on the negative aspects and not wanting to let them down, that I lost sight of the fact this could be a beneficial experience for them in the long-run. Don’t get me wrong, I’m well aware of how tough the next few years will be and how much hard work it’s going to take; but maybe I’m not looking at both sides of the coin in equal measure.

      Thank you so much for adding your thoughts to the good advice I’ve been receiving, it means a lot.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t realise that so many of the bloggers I follow made the decision to go back to school at some point. It’s really inspiring, and it certainly makes me feel as if I’m not alone in this situation. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. It sounds like we’re going through a similar situation.

    I’m heading out the door from work at the moment, so I don’t have the time to read all these comments, which by the way highlight just how much everyone wants you to stick around…

    I would strongly recommend you get yourself a Pluralsight subscription if you want to learn anything technical or creative, particularly development. They’re not cheap, but they’re a damn site cheaper than a degree. You can get a free trial too, get yourself on there, find something you’re interested in learning and crack on with it at your own pace. You might find this fits in with your adult commitments and work/life balance out of the gate, plus still leave time for some awesome blogging 😉

    If you want to trade war stores long before Rezzed, let me know!

    Like

    1. I’ve not heard of Pluralsight before… but my ‘best-practice’ qualifications are listed on there so that’s a good start ha ha ha! Even a quick scan now has shown a few courses I’d definitely in interested in, so this definitely looks like something worth considering…

      War stories now, beers at Rezzed. I think that’s only fair. 😉

      Like

  12. tough choices. I am kind of going through the same thing at work. Not being challenged enough and want to do a bit more and care more about my work again. I’ve been looking at a masters course i can do, but like you stated, money is the biggest factor. My wife’s all for it as whatever education either of us do will be for the benefit of our families future on the long run.

    I have thought the same about time, i know it will eat into my blogging. I already don’t blog enough at home and in between lunch breaks. It’s super tough.

    Best of luck with whatever you decide to do. You’ll stay on my follow list for as long as this sites up regardless of the choice. Even if it’s periodic posts, i’ll be tuning into Later Levels 🙂

    Like

    1. Yes, it does indeed sound as though we’re in very similar situations! It’s difficult trying to balance all of your responsibilities – work, money, family, blogging – and figure out what to do. That being said though, there’s always a way forward; and it’s far easier when you’ve got a partner by your side who is as supportive as your wife sounds.

      The best of luck to you too. Let me know what happens and maybe we can trade war-stories some time. 🙂

      Like

  13. Wow! So much advice but so much to decide. I’m with Ian, however, that this is a personal decision and all our advice, while great, cannot make up for your knowledge of yourself and your gut feelings about things. No one knows you or how you’ll handle situations better than yourself. Don’t forget to trust who you are and know you’ll make the right call. I’ll just leave 2 things that I have gone through in similar situations.

    My father hated his job his entire life. He was depressed and never felt fulfilled. I never wanted that for my husband so he became a freelance filmmaker. It was uncertain, unpredictable, and unstable-but we were happy. I supported him and loved it and he got to do what he loved. Don’t forget-you’re young. You’ve got at least 30 years left to work-more time than you’ve spent working so far. Don’t get stuck doing something that’ll make you miserable.

    And second, contrary to the advice others have given here, I recently made the decision to cut back. I quit my incredibly fulfilling job and took one that requires less hours. I decided to put my Etsy shop on vacation mode right before the holidays, my biggest money-making season. And I’ve been cutting way back on my presence on my blog and social media. My mother always told me you can do any situation for a year, which is true, but I turned that year into 6. Toward the end I suffered a severe mental break and it has taken an uncountable toll on my family. Now, do I think you’ll go the same way? No, I don’t. Just be careful that your love of being overwhelmed (because you feel directionless without it-trust me, I get it. I feel the same way) doesn’t cause you to take on too much for so long that everything you’ve worked for starts to deteriorate.

    And on that happy note, good luck!

    Like

    1. Thanks so much for sharing your personal experiences, Teri Mae. It has helped put everything in perspective; what your mother says about handling any situation for a year has really struck a chord. It’s definitely time for a change, and I just need to figure out the best way to make that change happen.

      Good luck to you too – you deserve all the happiness. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re always so sweet! Thanks for your support. I think whatever decision you make will be exactly right for your family. And if anyone can tackle the immense change that working and school will bring, its you! Good luck!

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Look Kim, I’m doing computer science in high school, I work full time, I act in a big theater production each year, I fix people their computer, I watch a lot of anime, I play a lot of games; collect them even. If you need somebody who is going through the same situation to vent and/or talk about those things… you know where to find me okay? We are here for you like you have been here for us. Never forget that okay.

    Love

    Jonez

    Like

    1. Aw Neko, you’re always so kind! I’m still not entirely sure how you manage to fit in everything you do – I’m almost convinced that you must never sleep – but it’s inspiring to hear that it can be done, and it definitely gives me hope. Thank you for always having something lovely and positive to say. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Thanks Neko. Everyone’s advice has made me realise that I need to think a bit more about the direction I’m heading in, but once I know where I’m going I’ll certainly take you up on that offer. ❤

          Liked by 1 person

  15. … sooooo… I started commenting on this first thing in the morning, but didn’t get around to finishing my thought… And now it feels like all the other amazing people have said all of the things, so I’ll just say that learning and trying new things is excellent and a worthwhile pursuit no matter how you go about it. It’s scary being an adult and starting from level 1 again, but also exciting, so I hope you give it a shot.

    I’ve come to realise that good online communities are an understanding and supportive bunch… Actually when they’re good (like this one) it’s like people manage to condense all the positive bits about themselves into their online persona… People will support you no matter how you decide to change the direction of Later Levels. 🐙

    Like

    1. It’s amazing how an octopus emoji always has the power to give you a bit of an emotional boost. 😀

      The more I talk to people about what’s going on, the more I realise that everything will be ok. It’s also made me see I need a little more clarity in terms of direction so that’s something I’ll need to think about over the coming days. I can’t thank everyone enough for all of their advice and support.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Tough life-changing decisions are so damn hard! Good luck with whatever path you choose to take. You’re awesome and you can do anything you set your mind to 🙂

    I can actually relate to this post a lot. I’m very bored with my current job. Sure, it pays the bills and my coworkers are awesome, I just feel so meh about it lately. It’s kind of like I’m wandering around aimlessly in a game world after the final boss was downed. I took an electronics course and have a related career path, but now I’m wishing I would have gone a different route (I’m really interested in psychology and writing these days). I’ve been sort of thinking about going to university, but the time and money factors are indeed big obstacles. Ultimately, life is short so maybe taking a chance is worth it in the end? Better to have tried and failed than to never try at all? Something like that, haha.

    All the best!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You have a very good point: I don’t really want to be sitting here in the same position ten years down the line, wondering what might have happened if I’d only made the jump…

      …and you also have an awesome video game analogy ha ha ha! Thanks Ellen. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Much smarter people than me have already commented, but I’ll echo their points – change is scary but sometimes necessary.

    I’ve learned myself this year that a job you don’t like can ruin all aspects of your life..family, friendships, hobbies. I left after nearly 10 years in April and haven’t looked back.

    At the end of the day, your happiness and family are the most important thing. Never let a job define you and dictate your life.

    Like

    1. That gives me hope: I’ve been at my workplace a similar length of time in various roles, and can be scary thinking about going elsewhere. It’s definitely time for a change though. I just need to figure out what it is I want to do.

      I really appreciate the advice. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No problem – just read what you were saying and it sounded familiar. I’ve been in a different job for 6 months and love it; less money, but closer to home, better hours and Flexi time 😀 I was terrified of making a chance, but I did and couldn’t be happier.

        As long as you and your loved ones are happy, nothing else matters – money, job titles, colleagues, managers…nothing!

        Like

  18. It’s a tough decision, and one you shouldn’t make alone, which I know you wouldn’t. From what I know, you got to where you are right now without a university course, you made yourself into who and what you are now in the professional world and I don’t see how that couldn’t still be the way to go.

    As someone who’s gone through the IT courses, who spent years and endless money on the university stuff to get the shiny degree, I learnt most of the stuff I still use today at work, by having real scenarios and real consequences for my actions.

    And nowadays there are so many online courses you can take at your own leisure, and sites like Pluralsight where you can go over basics, intermediate and advanced subjects for pretty much every technical area in the world. A friend of mine recently finished creating a course on pluralsight for Microsoft Azure Service Fabric, a pretty cool piece of technology which thanks to him I’m learning and using with my clients.

    If you’re looking for professional experience as you learn, though the money is generally crap for what people ask, sites like Freelancer.com can give you that experience, as you’ll learn to estimate your work.

    And there are always books for picking stuff up.

    If you decide the course is worth the time and money invested, everyone around you will support you, it’s a given, but I want you to know that even if you don’t there are still other avenues to consider. My clients are constantly expanding and in the past few months I’ve seen people with any number of degrees come in and become technically savyy and learn the skills you’re looking for yourself.

    What the university course will certainly give you is the developer state of mind, which is the way to approach problems in an analytical form, something that you already have.

    If you need programming, software development project or any other sort of advice and documentation, try speaking to the devs you know and ask them, myself included.

    It’s a big decision you’re facing, just before you drown yourself in it, think of the alternatives to it that get you to the same place, though perhaps in a slower fashion.

    Like

    1. I had a long chat with someone over the weekend who gave lots of practical advice, which essentially echoed what you’ve said above. Everybody’s comments have made me realise I need to give a bit more thought to the direction I’d like to head in; although I’ve got a rough idea and know I’m looking for a change, it’s still pretty vague at the moment!

      Thank you for the tips, I’ll certainly bear them in mind. 🙂

      Like

      1. No problem. The only other thing I would say to consider as you plan is that fully changing to a more technical area, such as development, means starting from scratch, professionally speaking, with your current experience potentially meaning very little in terms of the jobs you could get and the remuneration.

        If you need any help in this quest and I can offer it, you know where to find me.

        Like

  19. I’ve recently moved into a place with my significant other and am considering school. Neither of us have children, but I am mulling over the same problems otherwise. No matter what you choose to do, you’ll be living with dedication and commitment to that path. You obviously have the support of your other half. No matter what, you’ll be giving your step son a positive role model too.

    You have to make the call, but you’ve got plenty of support both there and abroad. I’m cheering you on.

    Like

    1. That’s very kind of you, thank you! I told my stepson recently that I was thinking of doing a degree and he was excited about the idea of us doing our ‘homework’ together. I know it’s no reason alone to sign up for a course, but the role model aspect plays a part.

      I hope everything works out for you too – I’m cheering you on right back. 😉

      Like

Join the discussion

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s