short answer Saturday — 7 short answers to 7 short questions

It’s short answer Saturday — seven short answers to seven short questions. Here we go…

1. Is my unpaid internship ever going to offer me a paid position?

I’ve been working an unpaid internship for around 8 months now. I was asked if I was intersted in a paid position doing basically the same thing I have been doing for free. I let them know I was very interested and they said they’d get back to me within a week with the details. It’s now been six weeks and I still haven’t been hired or even know if I will be. I asked my supervisor about it twice, and each time he said he was waiting on his supervisor for a response. I can’t help but feel if I continue working for free they will never get around to hiring me. Should I just keep being patient and work for free, or should I quit the unpaid intership, but then let them know if they want to hire me, I’m still interested?

Set an ending date. Tell them that you need to find paid employment so you need to set an ending date for your internship. At this point, you’ve been working for free for eight months; it’s unlikely to provide you with significantly more benefits if you stay longer. So set an ending date, and start looking for paid work. If this motivates them to offer you a job, great. If not, keep your focus on jobs with other organizations.

Alternately, if you don’t really want to quit even if they don’t offer you paid work but you’d just like to nudge them in that direction, tell your manager that you need to start actively searching for paid work and need to know if they’re going to offer you a position or not, so that you know whether to launch a search.

2. MOOCs versus business school

I am a recent-ish graduate of an elite law school (top 3), but the more time I spend practicing law, the more I become convinced that, while I enjoy it well enough, it’s not what I want to do for the rest of my work life. My 10-year plan is to continue in criminal litigation (my current area of practice) for 5-8 more years before attempting to transition into business management or a related field.

The problem is that I don’t want to go to business school. I don’t mind putting in the hours and time, but I’ve already shelled out $120k+ to to a seriously overrated educational institution for essentially a piece of paper with a name on it. My attitude towards re-upping for business school is “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice…”

My question is whether you have any thoughts on Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) as a replacement for business school. They’re free, and I can finish them on my own time over the next several years. I’m not sure, though, how much of an asset they’d be on the job market. Certainly I could talk about it in an interview, but would it be appropriate to list on a resume? Would I be rejected out of hand simply because I don’t have an MBA? Can my law degree compensate for that? For what it’s worth, my undergrad degree is from a large state school in Economics and Business.

Some of the biggest advantages of business school are the networking opportunities and internships you get placed in with your school’s help. That’s probably more valuable than what you actually learn there. And that’s stuff that MOOCs won’t provide. So from that perspective, I’d say no, although frankly neither is necessary to move into business management — work experience is. Few jobs outside of some consulting positions actually require MBA coursework. Anyone else want to weigh in on this though?

3. Following up on a raise

When is an appropriate time to follow up on a raise that a few months ago was mentioned as likely to happen this month? My manager, who is retiring in a few weeks, knows I’ve applied for a few other positions within the company (interviewed for one last week) but hasn’t mentioned my raise. Should I wait and ask the new manager who will be internally promoted? I’d like to get some sense from my department, as it may help me get a higher offer from the other departments on my radar. Even still, If I get neither, I’d rather be making more money sooner than later.

Ask now. You want to ask your current manager before she leaves, because the new manager will come in without knowing all this context and potentially not as committed to getting you a raise as your current manager. Keep in mind, though, that since your manager knows you’re applying for other positions, she may feel less incentive to get you a raise out of her department’s budget — if you have one foot out the department’s door anyway.

4. Avoiding job hopping while in school

I’m currently a student, and since October I’ve been working part-time at a retail store. It took me a while to actually get that position, but it’s worked out well while I’ve been in school and I generally enjoy it. However, in my program, like many others, it’s pretty much expected that we get some sort of summer position or internship. Luckily, I’ve managed to get a 35 hour/week summer job from May to August, but now I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep my retail job. In a perfect world, I would be able to work a schedule where I could balance both, but the hours of operation for the organization my summer job is at are pretty much the same as my retail job.

I would honestly like to keep my retail job, so I can still work there during the next school year. If I wouldn’t be able to keep it due to scheduling, would it look terrible on my resume if I quit this job after 7 months to go to a relevant summer position in a field I’m studying for? Should I speak to my manager at the store and tell her what’s going on and see if she can work around my new schedule? I won’t know my new schedule until I start my job in May though. I’m kind of torn. I really don’t want to look like a job hopper, but I’m afraid that I’ll have to.

Wait until a month before your new job starts, and then explain the situation to your manager at your current job. Say you’d love to stay on if she can work around your other schedule, but if she can’t, you’d love to return in the fall.

You don’t need to worry about this looking like job hopping. The job hopping concern doesn’t really apply while you’re in school; in school, it’s expected that you’ll have various short-term jobs and internships. It’s once you graduate and are working full-time that it’s an issue.

5. Should I have to make up these hours?

If my manager closes the building for a meeting for an afternoon and it is usually my shift at that time, should I have to work the hours to make up for the ones I missed, even though it wasn’t my fault and I would have been willing to work? It was also suggested I take the “time off” as a holiday, which doesn’t seem fair.

This stuff isn’t usually about whether you were willing to work; it’s about whether you did or didn’t work, regardless of the reason, even when it’s a reason you had no control over.

6. Should I clear a blog with my manager before I start it?

I work as a care provider for a mental institution on a unit that works with children and teens. There are a lot of considerations that have to be made on a regular basis concerning HIPAA.

Lately, I have been wanting to do other things besides think about work. It is a stressful job, and anytime I can leave work and do something other then think about it, is great for my stress level. I have an idea for a blog that would involve fashion, taking pictures of me in certain fashions, and another of my passions. I am worried, however, that this may cause conflict at my job. I have noticed in the media lately people getting fired for Facebook posts, blog posts, pictures posted, and comments made on the internet. I want to ask my boss what she thinks, but I am unsure if this would be the right and professional course of action. So, what do you think about this? Do you have advice on how I should proceed?

If your blog isn’t going to have anything to do with your job, and isn’t going to compromise patient privacy or talk about your employer in any way, most managers won’t care. But if you any doubts, just ask your manager; explain what you want to do and say you wanted to ensure it wouldn’t be an issue.

7. Do employers observe you during a typing test?

Do employers stand behind you during typing tests? Are you put in a cubicle or something? I mean, I type pretty fast, but I am not actullly using the home keys; I just know where the letters are, if that makes sense.

No reasonable employer stands behind you during typing tests; they just look at your final score. If you find someone standing behind you watching you, run for the hills.

{ 54 comments… read them below }

  1. K*

    #2 – I know the law market is a nightmare right now, but I things aren’t so bad that graduates of a top 3 school, who make the right moves, can’t transition themselves into something other than the active practice of law. My suggestion would be to get out of criminal litigation, which doesn’t have a direct correlation to the private sector, and into litigation related to an industry you’d like to work in (perhaps consider a boutique lawfirm that works exclusively with those clients instead of a huge general litigation practice) . Spent your 5-8 years learning that industry, either at the firm or in-house, and making contacts in it; then you’ll be well-positioned to make a switch to a more business or policy positioned. Or at least better positioned than spending the better part of a decade doing something you’re not interested in and starting over as a student.

    I’d also say – leave yourself open to the idea that you might not want to make a switch at that point. Any number of the lawyers I work with don’t have an intrinsic passion for practicing law; however, they now have a practice built up for themselves that isn’t classical litigation and where they do get to do a lot more thinking about the policy and business issues they’re interested in. So that’s a possibility too.

    1. Yup*

      This sounds like a practical approach. You don’t need a business degree to work in business, nor does a business degree offer any kind of security for actually getting a business job. It might be more practical to think about this transition in terms of work experience rather than education credentials. As an attorney, what kind of private-sector companies or positions can you look for that draw on your legal training but have a forward path into the business area you’re interested in? I realize this doesn’t address your question of b-school vs MOOCs, but I do think job experience in going to trump coursework in what you’re ultimately looking to accomplish.

    2. Josh S*

      Here’s the thing about Highly Prestigious Universities– they have two or three parts that give them an advantage. And this is true regardless of whether it’s prestigious undergrad work, law school, or B-school.

      First, they serve as a proxy screening method for a lot of other people. If you got into Harvard, Yale, or Stanford Law (the top 3 as I recall), then presumably you’ve been screened and found to be among the elite applicants. Lots of other employers will take that screening and consider it to be largely sufficient as a proxy for their own screening methods (not entirely, but they put a lot of stock in it).

      Second, you get a quality education. It may or may not seem to be superb to your sensibilities, leaving you feeling like you’ve just got “a piece of paper with a name on it” but it actually does represent some quality education. You’ve worked with highly respected, highly knowledgeable professors, and that is a stronger education (both in rote knowledge obtained and in the higher-level thinking that accompanies it) than other schools who may not have such strong teachers.

      Third, you’ve gotten the chance to network with people who are likely to have plenty of opportunities. The people you shared classes with, studied with, and drowned your sorrows with are likely to end up in well-respected positions in a variety of industries. And that gives you a huge chance to find high-quality jobs as well.

      Now, the question the OP is asking relates to “Do I go back to B-school or take online courses?” And the answer depends on what the OP wants to get out of it. If the B-school is supposed to open doors for business-sector employment…well, the networking opportunities are likely already there to open those doors more than another degree would do.

      If it’s purely a knowledge thing, then it’s a bit more hazy. If OP goes to a top tier B-school, then she’ll likely get a high-quality interaction with very smart business-minded people. But perhaps that high level interaction isn’t as necessary for the OP as a basic framework for understanding business issues. And I’d say that a MOOC would give a general framework for that in a fairly sufficient manner. It certainly won’t be as rigorous, but it also wouldn’t be as expensive.

      And remember–experience is the best teacher. So if you can find a way out of criminal law and into something more closely related to law in the business world (corporate law or M&A law, etc), you’ll already have a HUGE knowledge base of the issues facing businesses, and you could probably forego any business school classes altogether.

      1. Hunny*

        I really like this way of laying it out. My initial thought was that #2 was incorrectly viewing an MBA as a magic key: with it you have the opportunity to apply, without it you’ll never be considered. Now, PHd programs serve that role in academia, and a law degree serves that role for attorneys. But I don’t think an MBA works like that.

    3. littlemoose*

      For the attorney who wrote in – I think a switch to a different type or field of law might be more feasible and still offer the different kind of job you are seeking. You could look for positions in transactional law with M&A, corporate counsel, etc. – there are a lot of possibilities outside your current criminal litigation focus with a business bent for which your law degree alone (with the undergrad degree) would suffice. You could start by asking around and networking with fellow attorneys (law school contacts?) and see what’s out there, what is required, etc. Given that your focus has been criminal law since you started practicing, you might have to start over in a more junior associate position – but if you hate what you’re doing now, I think it’s worth it. Assuming your financial situation allows, I would advise that you start looking soon, because the more entrenched you get in your current field, the harder it will be for you to switch.
      Oh, and to learn about business/corporate-y law, you could attend some CLE programs. It’ll give you some footholds about areas of interest and some background to discuss with potential employers, and might be a good networking opportunity too.

  2. De Minimis*

    4. Have to disagree a bit on this one, I had several interviews where my not working during graduate school [full time] was frowned upon,
    even though I did manage to get some short-term work here and there.

    I think the key is you have to either be able to work while in school or have a ton of extracurricular activities/volunteer work to make up for the lack of employment. I don’t think a lot of employers like the idea of someone just focusing on school these days. And if you can choose between work and extracurricular activities, I’d choose work. Not only are you paid, but employers view that as better preparation for working full time after school.

    Or at least that was my experience as a job seeker.

      1. Josh S*

        I think De Minimis is saying that Part Time work (whether retail or Internship) is not viewed favorably by employers when looking at recent grads.

        I disagree. Part time work — so long as it shows responsibility and accomplishment — is perfectly sufficient, and really all that a reasonable employer should expect considering the time that is required by high-quality university programs.

    1. EM*

      Hmm, it was the opposite at my graduate program. I got the sense that every student had a departmental assistantship in my program, meaning we taught undergraduate lab classes, and in exchange, our tuition was covered, and we received a very small stipend. The stipend was below poverty wages, so unless a student was supported by their parents, had a spouse with a real job, or was independently wealthy, a part-time job was necessary to make ends meet. Even so, that was frowned upon by the department.

      I did include my teaching experience from grad school on my resume, however. And this was a STEM field, so it may be different for the humanities or business school.

      1. Anonymous*

        For my grad school, we get a departmental assistantship of about 20K. It’s enough to live on, a little tight for supporting a spouse or raising a family.

        We, however, are expressly forbidden by our grad research advisors from getting any other employment. They’ll happily kick students out for part-time tutoring, retail jobs, etc.

        They really, really do not want grad students who have families, or who want to start families, unless you have a spouse who’ll be fully funding that part of your life.

        1. Anonymous*

          My grad school offers stipends in the 32-38K range, the upper end of funding in the field, and expects students to devote their time to research rather than an outside job. We teach two courses during our time there in exchange for this support, so it’s technically a teaching fellowship, but the focus is very much on presenting and publishing findings. Just offering another perspective.

  3. Anonymous*

    #7- I’ve done numerous typing tests in the past, and I’ve never had anyone and behind me, it’s always been in a cube or room by myself. A typing test is pretty objective, and there’s no way you could cheat, so there’s no reason for someone to supervise the test. To me the only reason would be to intimidate and if that happens, do as AAM says and run for the hills!

    1. A Bug!*

      Further to this, it sounds like the writer’s concern may be that a potential employer will see that the writer doesn’t type “properly”, the way Mavis Beacon teaches.

      And if that is a concern, writer, you can rest easy. No reasonable employer will care which fingers type which keys or where they go when they’re resting. Even unreasonable employers shouldn’t care – this is way, way past micromanagement.

    2. Elizabeth West*

      The only time anyone stood by me during a typing test, I had been in an interview with them and it ran over the allotted time. I was trying to hurry so they could close for lunch, and I didn’t do very well. I didn’t get the job, but I don’t know why–it was a place I had applied to several years before, and didn’t get it then either. Doesn’t matter now that I have a better job anyway.

  4. LG*

    #2 – as an in house paralegal I’ve seen a number of lawyers make (or who already had made) a transition to the business side by working in house for a business and move over to the business side after a few years learning their industry, customers, issues, etc.

    My suggestion would be to start now to seek out an in-house position for a company or industry you like. Perhaps your litigation experience and top education can get you in the door and while there you can get some experience hands on with other areas of law that are important to the business. Learn as much as possible while you are there and then seek to move into a business side role at some point when the opportunity arises.

    Along the way you’ll probably get to try your hand at employment, intellectual property, corporate, transactional, etc areas of law. As the first response mentioned, you may find you like lawyering much better when you start to work on the business side of law or find one of these areas that you wish to specialize in. And if not, you still have your planned move to the business side when the time is right. Good luck.

    1. Laurie*

      #2 – I’m in business and I concur with this suggestion. The OP is better off pivoting from the existing law degree than trying to get a MBA or study through MOOCs. Given that the OP has finished a law degree and taken a bar exam, no one will doubt that the OP can pick up the business/financial basics needed.

  5. Vicki*

    #7 – I type the same way.

    I would hope they are testing you on speed and accuracy. If they are testing on whether you touch type the way they were taught… that’s not the right thing to be looking at.

    1. Sue D. O'Nym*

      Unless, of course, you’re applying for a job as a teacher for a class that includes typing. (I’m thinking back to my middle school “business basics” class, which included about 4 weeks on proper typing). In that case, knowing proper typing techniques might be considered part of the job requirements, not just a certain WPM.

  6. perrik*

    #4 – If you have a good relationship with your manager, could you ask her to keep you on the payroll but with no hours scheduled over the summer? There are plenty of students who would love to land a summer-only retail gig, and your manager might be glad if she can retain a good employee who can work during the school year.

    If you have to quit the retail job, don’t worry about it. As AAM points out, short-term jobs are perfectly normal during the collegiate years.

    #5: That’s one of the lousy parts of being hourly. Office closed = no worked hours = no earned wages. You’re guaranteed $X per hour, not $X per pay period. If your manager is offering a substitute shift to make up for the building closure time, well, that’s more than a lot of managers would do.

    1. Another Emily*

      On #5, I don’t understand why the manager shedules anyone during a time when the office will be closed. Can you ask for a different shift?

  7. ITPuffNStuff*

    #5 — my opinion on this depends on whether the employee is hourly or salaried:

    salary — you are not being paid to work a certain number of hours. you are being paid to accomplish a certain number of tasks. as long as all tasks are accomplished, it’s absurd for an employer even to care about this. if tasks are not done, the boss should be concerned about the *tasks* — NOT about the number of hours you worked.

    hourly — there so many aspects of this that make no sense to me. did your boss really have to close the whole building just to have a meeting? that seems a bit silly. were you present for the meeting? if so, you were working and must be paid for that time. is it important that you work a full 40 hour week? if so, why couldn’t your boss just let you work during the meeting? it doesn’t make sense that your boss apparently wanted you at work during your shift, but also *didn’t* want you at work during your shift — could he/she not make up his/her mind?

    the best opinion i can form is no, you should not be paid for time you did not work, but no, neither should you be required to “make up” a shift that your employer apparently didn’t consider important enough to make a reasonable accommodation — such as letting you into the building.

    1. doreen*

      It doesn’t seem that the letter writer is being required to make up the time- it seems that there is a choice between making up the missing hours or taking PTO for those hours or possibly simply getting a smaller paycheck . There are plenty of hourly jobs where employees would be happy to have the option to make up the time.
      And the reference to “my shift” makes me pretty certain it’s an hourly job- I don’t think I’ve ever heard a salaried person refer to “my shift”.

  8. Josh S*

    #4: Juggling part time retail job and internship

    About a month before your internship is supposed to start, talk to your manager, as Alison suggested. If you can’t get the hours to work with your internship, ask your manager if she’d be willing to keep you on the books (but with 0 hours) or to rehire you when the internship is scheduled to be over. That way, you could perhaps keep the part time retail job throughout the remainder of your schooling.

    I agree that it’s not essential to keep a single job throughout your college time. Employers recognize that things will change or that you may have a different job each year to accommodate schedule changes or shifts in interest. And indeed, it may even be beneficial to your understanding of the sorts of jobs/careers you’d like to pursue post-graduation if you have some experience in some different environments (though it may or may not be helpful to your resume…YMMV on that).

    Good luck!

  9. Josh S*

    #5: Make-up hours

    Wait, was this a meeting you were required to be at? As in, “Everything is shut down because we need to have everybody in this meeting”? Because if you are required to be at a work-related meeting, that’s still considered “working” even if you aren’t making widgets or sending emails or selling things at retail or any of the things your job normally would require of you.

    On the other hand, if it was a “We need to clear out the building so that the board of directors can have some high-level meeting here without having to be exposed to the peons, so stay away” meeting, then yeah, your manager can require you to make up hours (or at least not compensate you for the hours you didn’t work).

  10. EngineerGirl*

    Ok, in the “is this legal” category:

    I’ve been working an unpaid internship for around 8 months now. I was asked if I was intersted in a paid position doing basically the same thing I have been doing for free

    My understanding is that an unpaid internship can’t replace a paid position. Per Evil HR Lady:

    The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff

    By offering the intern money now for the same position, isn’t the employer basically admitting that they should have paid her all along?

    1. Elise*

      I thought there was also something about not being able to intern with the expectation that it would turn into a paid gig.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      If they weren’t going to pay anyone to do that work during that period, regardless of whether they had an unpaid intern doing it or not, I don’t see how it’s displacing a paid employee, as such a paid slot would not have existed.

      That said, it’s probably moot anyway since this law is roundly violated and the answer most helpful to the interns writing in is rarely “your internship is illegal,” since they rarely feel it’s in their interest to act on that fact.

      1. EngineerGirl*

        It’s a bit of a bind, isn’t it? No one is brave enough to report it, which means it continues. But if you do report it there are huge negative consequences to you personally. It’s the same philosophy that allows exploitation of illegal aliens.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Yeah, but I’d argue that it’s a bad law. I have zero moral issue with unpaid internships that are freely entered into, and believe that they often help people get experience that helps them get jobs that they otherwise wouldn’t be considered for. And it’s not as simple as requiring that those roles be paid; many of those roles simply wouldn’t exist if they had to be paying slots — or they would be filled by more qualified people, in order to make it worth the employer’s while, meaning that students/recent grads would lose a helpful way to get experience that they can parlay into better work. There’s a reason plenty of people are glad to get unpaid internships, and I have no problem with them making that choice.

          1. -X-*

            ” I have zero moral issue with unpaid internships that are freely entered into, ”

            The ethical problem isn’t about the interns who enter into those arrangements. The problem is that those sort of internships are part of an economic system that prevents poorer people from even getting into industries at which such internships are the norms, because they can’t afford it.

            They’re like the “old boys club” – a way in which kids of people with money can continue to have opportunities that people with less money can’t have. They perpetuate inequality in our society.

            1. Anon*

              ^This. What a struggle it was for me coming from a household with nearly 0 support. Imagine students coming from the foster care system – booted out with 0 support at 18. They really can’t do an unpaid internship – unless it’s during the school year for school credit and they have loans or a full ride covering room and board.

            2. Ask a Manager* Post author

              It’s not the job of the labor laws to social inequality.

              And people from privileged background do indeed have a wide range of opportunities than other people do; that doesn’t mean that we should outlaw, for instance, considering what school an applicant went to (because they might have been a legacy or able to afford a better school than someone else), or considering international travel (because others can’t afford it).

              That said, I can think of numerous people I know with zero financial support from their families who worked unpaid internships 2 days a week while working another paying job to make it possible for themselves. It’s not only the province of the rich.

              1. -X-*

                “It’s not the job of the labor laws to social inequality.”

                was saying the “system” is immoral.

                “That said, I can think of numerous people I know with zero financial support from their families who worked unpaid internships 2 days a week while working another paying job to make it possible for themselves. It’s not only the province of the rich.”

                Just because it’s possible doesn’t mean that the “system” isn’t much more favorable to people with money.

          2. Josh S*

            I’d be with you if I didn’t see executives at very profitable companies using unpaid interns for a significant portion of their productive labor. Not office copies and stuff like that, but using them for software development, graphic design, and other stuff — creative jobs that really ought to be paid.

            And they did it intentionally as a cost-savings measure, often looking for experienced foreign workers who are willing to work for free in exchange for a ‘job’ in the US.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              Sure, but is that a reason to make it illegal for someone who wants to get experience and learn a business to do so, if they can’t find such a position for pay because they’re not yet competitive enough to find a paying position? I’d say no.

              1. KellyK*

                The flip side of that is that if it’s legal to use unpaid labor, fewer paid positions will exist.

            2. Elle-em-en-oh-pee*

              Yeah, or misrepresenting an internship to meet graduation guidelines and attract students, then having said students do unskilled labor that won’t qualify instead. Add to this (in my case) an obligation to pay back any stipend regardless of how meager, if the student walks early regardless of cause. I know a girl who put up with the sexual advances of her internship coordinator for months, only to have her internship experience questioned and almost disqualified by her school upon return, because she knew she could not afford to repay her stipend nor fight having to repay it.

              This man preyed on the poor and naïve in fact deliberately hired them, and as far as I know has never been brought to justice because of desperate students with no outside support or recourse. I can only hope there is a special place in hell for him, and be sorry that I apparently disagree that about the law’s place in enforcing social equality…

  11. Anon*

    I was in a similar position to OP #4 not too long ago and AAM’s advice is spot on as usual! I was working part time retail and really liked the job, but was offered a full time, 6-month temp position. The store was generally flexible about scheduling, but required you to be available for at least 2 mid-week opening or closing shifts, and I couldn’t do that plus the office job.

    I explained the situation to the store manager. I was a good employee and she liked me, so she was willing to work around my other schedule for a few months in order to keep me. She also gave me the option of quitting and then being rehired – I think this is a lot more common/accepted in retail than it would be in other places because they have such high turnover anyway. If you’re in school they probably know they won’t keep you forever, and if you’re a good employee they’d probably prefer to hire you back for another school year than have to train someone else who might not stick around any longer than that.

    1. Marie*

      I have done that as well…

      I was working retail while in school… When I got a part time job in my field we worked around it…

      then I got a full time job, but still kept shifts in retail…

  12. Ab1*

    Re: 4. Avoiding job hopping while in school

    It’s good that you are very active while you are in school. When I was in college, I balanced an internship, campus job and a second job that I worked as a seasonal employee back at home (I went away for school). I was a good employee so my manager was very flexible for putting me on schedule for 2 months during the summer, breaks and holidays when I was home.

    I would ask your manager about it since you can be considered a seasonal employee. Plus, like the response above, if you are a good employee with a good manager, then there should be no problem for you to keep/postpone your retail job.

  13. Steve G*

    I would go to a business school, but a public one to avoid $120K+ costs. I didn’t think my BBA from City University of New York Baruch College was a waste at all – I have no “fool me once” feeling you have, that actually surprises me that you say that about a top 3 law school. Do you feel duped because you thought the curriculum would be vastly different from an average law school?

    Anyway, its not just networking business school did – I was force-fed calculus, tons of statistics, accounting and finance – which sidetracked into learning advanced functions in excel and making financial reports from scratch (if you have to learn that on the job, everyone is going to treat you like an idiot), you’ll also pick up all the business acronyms and buzz words (loss leader, COGS, EBIDTA, net profit vs. gross profit, mark-up vs. adding points of margin, etc.), and it will ingrain things into you that seem like common sense when you see others do them, but you wouldn’t think of them if you weren’t taught to – for example, always remembering to calculate the “cost of capital” when putting cash towards something that won’t necessarily increase the value of the cash.

    1. Jesicka309*

      ^I second this.
      I did a comms degree, and want to transition into marketing, so I’m studying a business degree part time. There so much knowledge I would never know without the degree – how to analyse markets, how to create a new product report, and as Steve G says, statistics, accounting, and other business related terms I would never have picked up on my own. Now when I apply for a marketing job I know what the job involves, where before I would even know how to start ‘marketing’ let alone describe how good I am at it. There’s a lot to be said for business studies, as they give you a good foundation for entry level work that you wouldn’t get on the job.

      1. Steve G*

        Thanks for the seconding:-). I think its sad the OP was disillusioned by his/her first college experience. I also think alot of jobs look easy or the tasks look common sense when you observe them being done, but if you were placed in them without training (or the education) you’d be lost. And I’m also interested what school OP went to. Going to a top 3 school and not feeling like you got your full money’s worth must be a horrible feeling.

  14. SevenSixOne*

    For the blogger: You should be fine as long as you don’t use your full name or any identifying details about your job or employer in your blog.

    I would never ever ever want my anyone at work knowing about my personal blog, even if it was in no way work-related or offensive… but I’m obsessive about keeping my work and personal lives separate, so YMMV.

  15. Tenna*

    On MOOCs – I’ve actually had some good experiences with them. My position is very technical, while my college major was not, so I’ve taken several MOOCs to supplement my knowledge. My employer was impressed with the courses that I’ve done and have asked me to add the certificates to my training file. I’ll be honest-some of the MOOCs aren’t very good, but I’ve found others to be very helpful in my career.

    I would agree though that you would be missing out on the networking aspect of a traditional school. So they may be of some use, but I don’t think they could truly replace the education and experience gained in an MBA program.

    Seriously though, how would one add these to one’s resume? I’d like to show the knowledge I’ve gained, especially since my degree generally isn’t adequate for my field, but this collection of classes that I’ve taken doesn’t constitute a “degree program.”

  16. Elle-em-en-oh-pee*

    #5. Sorry if this was mentioned above, but at least in my state (I know the chances you live here too are one in fifty, if you are in the states at all), if you were normally a full time worker with a set schedule and there was no work offered by the employer during that time, you could be eligible for unemployment.

    I say file and when your boss gets a call from HR about no work offered, maybe he will at the very least reconsider his lockout tactics. If there was a set schedule, there was no obligation to accept make up hours and nothing in this state that demands a worker take PTO, and the claims examiners wouldn’t require a person to do so. I understand there are no laws about vacation time or PTO either, but I believe most companies are obliged to at least follow their own policies in that regard. So investigate! Just wondering if the boss didn’t intend for you to have administrative leave, I know too many managers who really can’t be bothered to correctly administer payroll, and wouldn’t bother to clarify which, if they weren’t questioned.

    On a tangent, why do I know so many bosses that feel payroll duties are beneath them? I know a few that constantly screw it up, and then get annoyed when their workers complain, and I swear the look on their faces usually say (if they in fact don’t actually say it), “I don’t know why I have to deal with this, just because I missed 12 hours of work on your last paycheck, and I have to sign off on the changes (and you couldn’t afford rent this month, and you got a letter of warning about your benefits eligibility (by the way no kidding about this one, I overheard this conversation once)) why are you telling ME about it?” This coming from an otherwise seasoned boss. The air of retaliation is so thick sometimes, I know people who never say a word when their boss screws up their hours.

    Why do so many managers believe in the payroll faerie?

  17. Jill*

    #2….If you want to work in the business end of the Education field (i.e. working at the administrative offices of a large school district or the business office of a college/university) you definately need an MBA.

    Working for an urban public school district, it has been an eye opener how obsessed people are with their degrees. People who work in the offices designing curriculums, doing district budgeting, managing hiring/discipline practices, and running the records storage department are all expected to have MBAs.

    By contrast, when I worked in banking, it was equally amazing how many manager level folks had a BA, if that. Most started as tellers and worked up to managment.

    So MBA requried? Depends on what type of “business” you want to administer.

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