Q: I work in a family owned business and know there are skills I could obtain through [going for] a degree, but I’ve never been able to afford going to college. What can I do to increase my weight as an office manager?
–A. Hill, Baltimore
A: You say you have no intention of leaving your employer and you’re not underpaid. You see the value of increasing your skill base. You can take individual enrichment courses, attend management seminars, or take classes toward a certificate. Since the cost is considerably less than what you’d have to lay out for a two- or four-year degree, your employer may be more willing to foot the bill or reimburse you.
Since you’ve worked for the same family-owned firm for almost 15 years, earning a college degree may not seem like a priority right now. However, you may want to reconsider. In an unstable economy, professionals need all the career protection they can get. An associate’s or bachelor’s degree will give you a solid foundation to stand on if the winds of workplace woe happen to blow your way.
Start investigating which educational options best suit your professional goals, and look into financing options (see “Cash for Class,” Powerplay, March 2001). When it comes to increasing your skills, the money you spend will be worth it in the long run.