A bird in the hand – the uni or job dilemma

Question Mark - Stay in the job or go to uni?

News & Insights

Julie Hutchison

8th August 2013 at 8:07pm

With A-level results out in August, it seems a good moment to revisit one of our bloggers, Blair.  We last met Blair in his May 2013 blog, where he shared his views on Generation Y attitudes to financial planning.  In this blog, Blair balances up the choice he faces between going to university or choosing instead to enter full time employment straight from school.  Blair has been working at Standard Life as part of the Edinburgh Guarantee, a scheme which increases opportunities for school leavers.

“I have a difficult dilemma.  I’m enjoying my time at Standard Life.  My work in the Technical Solutions team is varied and interesting.  But soon I’ll have to decide whether to try to seek a career here or take up my university offer. 

So the question I’m here to discuss isn’t as easy as ‘this or that’.  Will sticking with Standard Life stand me in better stead for my future than going to University will?

For the sake of this blog, assume I have a permanent job at Standard Life AND an unconditional university offer.  5 years ago it would have appeared a ‘no-brainer’ to go to uni to succeed in life.  But this is no longer the case as there are countless graduates cleaning dishes.  This changing society makes the choice between uni and a job ever harder for the youth of today.  What would you do in my shoes?

Here’s the thought process I’m going through.

For any big decision, it makes sense to weigh up the pros and cons and decide which has more pros to fewer cons, right?  Well, what if these pros are too difficult to quantify?  The possibilities that both options bring are totally immeasurable!  Going to university can bring a whirlwind of opportunities and set you up for a fast-track to the top.  On the other hand, you could dislike your course and drop-out, or worst of all, graduate, then get stuck cleaning dishes.

Meanwhile, staying with Standard Life brings experience, alternative qualification choices and defined ‘pathways’ upwards.  And financial reward.  With continually rising tuition fees and the need to take out student loans, this is an important factor.  But will I be narrowing my options too soon?  Perhaps university is the best choice  as it supposedly ‘broadens the mind’ and is a place  where you can realise your true potential, make lifetime friends and do the  whole growing-up thing (whatever that is)!

I need to ask myself ‘what is it I really want to do in the future?’

I need to ask myself ‘what is it I really want to do in the future?’.  This is the hardest question to answer.  And it is a decision that will affect the rest of my life.  I feel it’s a choice that’s forced too early.  This brings us to the fundamental question: ‘Which path will propel me furthest in my quest for happiness and a long and prosperous career?’.

I’ve concluded the best thing I can do in this situation is to listen to my heart!  It pains me to sound so cheesy but there’s no right answer.  Ultimately it’s down to what kind of person you are, and what suits you best alongside your aspirations.  At least I’m lucky enough to have this choice in the first place! Believe me, I realise that. This blog will be updated once I receive my exam results.”

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