Q. I graduated a year ago with a bachelor’s degree in commerce. I am an accountant. Two months ago, I decided to return to school to get my master’s degree in strategic management before I enrol for CPA. My classes begin at 5.30pm, unfortunately, my boss has taken to giving me work a few minutes to 5pm, yet she knows I have classes. This means that I get to school late every day. I think she is out to sabotage my efforts. How do I handle this?
A master’s degree is good, however, is it a priority when you have only worked for one year? Most employees go back to school in pursuit of higher education without understanding what they require to be first successful in their roles. They also make the mistake of not seeking career advice from a mentor before enrolling for studies.
It is not a requirement to have a master’s degree for most roles, and actually, most middle management roles have this as an added advantage. I have seen many employees get frustrated when they present their certificates expecting a promotion or pay review, only for these to be filed away without any benefit accruing to them.
Most of the time, a master’s degree only makes sense when you have worked for about three to five years since most of the discussions in class require you to apply what you have learnt in the workplace. If you have limited experience, yours becomes a very theoretical process, and you end up acquiring a certificate without substance. You should have initially pursued the CPAs since this is a professional course that is more beneficial to you at your level compared to a master’s.
However, since you have already enrolled, I advise that you have a discussion with your boss and agree on a flexi working plan where you could work over lunch hour or report to the office earlier than usual to allow you to leave earlier. Also agree on deadlines so that work does not interfere with your evening study plans. Also ensure that your studies do not interfere with your performance and expectations from your employer.
You must also understand the study policy that exists in your organisation before making conclusions that your supervisor is out to sabotage your study plans. Understand the reporting deadlines your department has and ensure that they are adhered to.
You must be aware that with or without the master’s degree, your supervisor is a great influencer of how your career progresses.