Congratulations on your decision to go back to school! Chances are you’re already working or will be working while you earn your degree. Going back to school is a big decision you’ll need to share with your boss. Not sure how to approach it? Here are six tips to get you started.
Request a private meeting
Don’t let your boss hear the news through the grapevine. Request a private meeting with your boss to break the news and avoid the ears of nosey co-workers. Show your boss the respect they deserve by letting them be the first to know about your decision.
Prepare in advance
Your boss will have lots of questions. They might ask why you’re going back, if you plan to stay at work, or how you plan to balance work and school. Whether you want to stay or leave, you want to end on a high note and leave the door open for future jobs and recommendation letters.
Explain why you are going back to school
Whether it’s to finish what you started, change careers, or advance your current career, be open and honest with your boss. Whatever your reason for going back to school, express gratitude and fondness for your current job – even if you’re planning on leaving. Have a few points planned to explain your decision and help answer any questions your boss might ask.
Be completely honest
When talking to your boss, be completely honest about your needs and concerns. If you think that you’ll need a different schedule or fewer projects, make sure to vocalize your thoughts from the beginning and work together on a plan that will benefit both parties. It is important to have a conversation before going back to school and not change plans in the middle of the semester.
Express your needs
If you are planning on staying, reassure your boss that it won’t interfere with your ability to do your job. Also, be honest about the possibility of needing reduced hours, increased help or flexible deadlines. Asking up front shows you’ve thought this though and are prepared to make adjustments necessary to meet your goals while maintaining responsibility for your workload.
Give enough notice and finish what you started
If you’re planning on leaving, give adequate notice so your company can hire a suitable replacement, and make sure you finish all your open projects. If you’re planning on continuing to work either full-time or with reduced hours, research your company’s policies about leaves of absence and part-time work. Again, make sure you give your company enough notice to make any adjustments needed to accommodate your new schedule.
One final note…
In some cases, the demands of working a full-time job might not be compatible with going back to school. However, at South College, we’ve designed our programs to be as compatible as possible with your working needs. 70 percent of our students work jobs in addition to completing their degree, and online classes make it possible to work towards your degree from anywhere.
Editor’s Note: This blog was originally published on November 26, 2015 and has been updated to include new information.