Invest Time in School Over Job You Don't Want

Lindsey Novak on

Q: I am a full-time nursing student, and I work full-time as a caregiver at a senior assisted-living facility. I am married with no children. My husband has been very helpful with chores at home so I can go to school, but I still don't have enough time for homework. I'm in my last year and my classes require more homework now. The only way I'm getting through this is to skip some of the assigned readings for papers, which lowers my grades. A friend suggested I quit my job and focus on school because my husband makes enough to support us. I don't know if this would be a smart decision since my job gives me experience in the healthcare field. What do you think?

A: Prioritizing is important in many types of jobs, as well as in life. In nursing, where you will face mild to life-threatening situations, your ability to prioritize will be critical. It could make the difference between saving and losing a life. While your commitment to your job is admirable, your commitment to school would be wiser. To make such decisions, compare what you gain and what you lose in each venue, and the impact your choice will have in your future.

You may think skipping or glossing over school assignments is minor since you view nursing as a caregiving type of job. But degreed nurses working at top hospitals handle far more than a caregiver might do by making patients comfortable in bed or changing bed sheets or responding to personal requests, such as providing extra pillows and blankets.

You are cheating yourself and your future patients by not reading information that could help you as a degreed nurse. You may not see the importance of every course now, and there may be assignments that are theoretical over practical, but deciding to omit certain homework will limit your knowledge and could limit your abilities.

Working at a senior healthcare facility can be serious, but caregivers are not in charge of making critical decisions. In short, your work may be important to you, but is not as critical as the job you will have as a nurse. You have already gained the caregiver experience; now it would be wise to focus on all you can learn from the university's nursing program. Quit your job and devote 100 percent of yourself to your studies.



Q: I interviewed for an internship and I was excited about everything I was told. I would be trained in the technology I didn't know and they looked forward to me contributing in the areas I knew. Two weeks after I started, the employee who was to train me quit. Others could've trained me, but they had no time, so I was given menial tasks to do. I didn't complain but I was angry it wasted three months. I got a little snarky during that time because no one ever talked to me about the situation. Now I am concerned I left a bad impression.

A: Snarky responses spread negativity and alienate people and can be avoided by having calm and forthright conversations. Your interviewer didn't lure you there with lies. The employees were obviously crunched for time because of their co-worker's sudden departure. It was unfortunate timing for you, and they should have then told you they could not train you as previously promised. Responding with anger when asked to do tasks you thought were beneath you hurt you, not them.

Your best options were to either politely express your disappointment to your boss and your desire to look for other jobs due to the situation, or to build relationships there and go with the flow. That might have led to connections and possible opportunities in the future. Keep in mind that most jobs and internships will have some undesirable job duties along with the interesting ones.

Email life and career coach with all your workplace questions and experiences. For more information, visit and for past columns, see



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