Dream Job vs Masters


Hey everyone!

I am extremely conflicted at the moment about picking my dream job or masters, and would love to get some wisdow on this issue of mine.

I am a recent graduate from Environmental Design, and planning to continue my masters in architecture, if accepted. This is where it gets complicated. I applied for my masters for upcoming 2019 Fall and will know in mid March if i get accepted or not. Meanwhile, i have been appling for job since last year and recently got called in for an interview at the firm that i been wanting to work for. The interview went amazing, the people are so friendly and everyone is so happy. The principal of the firm greeted me at the door and made me feel like I already along there. The problem is that if i get accepted to masters, then i may have to quit when school starts, giving me about 5 months to work. I am concerned that leaving after just few months wont look good and they may not ever hire me again (I plan to work here after i get my masters). However, I want to take the job not only because its the firm that i always wanted to work for, but also simply because i need a job for money and experience.

During the interview, i did mention to them that i will be pursing my Masters in near future (couple of years) to open the opportunity to for me ask them about the companies view of continuing education while be employed there. They appeared a little concerned about that but responded with "we encourage our employees to continue education." 

So now I'm stuck between making a choice between masters and working for my dream firm. If i get accepted to masters, I may be giving up my chances to work with a company that i always wanted to work for. On the other hand, If i decide not to take the job so it would not ruin my relationship with the firm, and then i fear what if i do not get accepted to masters... then i may be giving up the both. Any advice on what should i do or how should i approach this, would be appreciated. 

That said, yes i can always work for another place, (i do have other job offers), but the issue remains the same... i would have to leave in 5 months. The nice guy in me keeps yelling at me to "dont screw anyone over."   Ultimately, the reason for this problem is timing which is making me lose hair over this decision. Recieving job offers a month before Masters Application decision is just insane. I applied to these jobs back in may 2018 when i graduated, my goal was to get couple years of experience before pursing my masters. But after applying to 100s of job postings and not getting any call backs, made me want to apply for my masters now. However, i have worked on project basis for a certified designer, who is now on since beginning of the month. Which is why i am in need of new employment and am stuck in this dilemma. HELP PLEASE!!!

I think this is the best i can explain it, please ask if you require further clarification or context. 

Feb 15, 19 7:36 pm

Don't take this job knowing you're going to be leaving in 5 months, but not telling them.  That will not go over well when they find out, and architecture is a small enough world that you don't want to leave behind that kind of ill will.  If you do decide to pursue the degree right now, don't take this job without making them aware first that it will be short-term and verifying that they're ok with that.

Depending on which school it is, if you're accepted you may be able to defer starting for a year.  Some schools absolutely do not defer admissions, but some do.  That might be a better option for you, so that you could take your "dream job" while it's available, and work for more than a year before you start the M.Arch. 

Personally I would get the work experience at the "dream firm" while it's available, and defer the degree or reapply in a year or two.  The reality is that the dream job is likely to seem less dreamy by the time you've got a year into it anyway, and school might be a more welcome idea by then - or if it's sufficiently not-dreamy enough you may even be rethinking your career path by then!  I'm not trying to scare you out of it, but architecture is a field that eventually loses a large % of those who go to school for it, and it's better financially and career-wise to find out on the job whether it's really for you, before you take 2-3 years out of your career to get an M.Arch.

Feb 15, 19 7:58 pm  · 

Thanks for the reply! I was actually thinking about deferral for school and luckily the schools that i applied to do offer 1 year deferral.

Feb 16, 19 6:56 am  · 

As mentioned earlier, the only reason why a hard time making this decision is because of the timing. I would of been able to make a better decision i know if i was accepted into masters or not. Leaving any job in just few months of joining doesn't look good.

Feb 16, 19 7:02 am  · 

why would you be doing a masters only to end up working where you already are now?

Feb 16, 19 6:36 am  · 

My role is the company. I wish to move up in the firm which requires further accreditation and also for future job security. After applying to many job postings since last year, majority of the jobs required Masters or standing with the OAA (Registered Intern Architect or Registered Architect).

Feb 16, 19 7:09 am  · 

I'd take the job, also to see if you actually like it 40(+?)hrs a week there, maybe they only seem so nice on the surface but when deadline comes...

Feb 16, 19 2:39 pm  · 

That makes sense, thank you!

Feb 17, 19 10:45 am  · 

Take the job now if its offered to you + save some money and do a masters later (like when the economy is fucked)...then you'll have experience and further education. Masters you can do anytime, jobs are not always available.

And don't mention in interviews your future schooling plans, thats a good way not to get job offers. Employment is at will and nothing in your future is certain. 

Feb 16, 19 1:57 pm  · 

I agree! Took me months to even gave a call backs for interviews. That said, i fear that if i do not do masters soon, i may not ever do it. Jobs are not available, but having a masters does have more opportunities than without.

Feb 17, 19 10:51 am  · 

We are overdue for another real estate recession, so getting and keeping a desirable job would be my priority. Graduate schools will always be there when things slow down. JMHO

Feb 17, 19 1:19 pm  · 

Focus on getting hired before you decide if you want to wait on the Master's. Then if you do, try to defer or simply re-apply in a couple years. I'm betting after working a bit, you'll have a much better idea of what you want to focus your second degree on, and by more motivated to seize all the opportunities it offers.

Feb 17, 19 12:04 pm  · 
Take the dream job first. Getting some experience before pursuing a masters degress is incredibly valuable and something I wish I could have done between degrees (but it was 2009, so...).

You can return to school at any time, and if you like this firm and want to return, and if you’ve made a good impression and reputation during your time there, there likely won’t be any trouble doing that. I don’t know any firm who wouldn’t want to rehire a newly credentialed good former employee if they can.
Feb 17, 19 3:04 pm  · 

Take the job now because: a) cash in on the current good economy/employment situation while it lasts &  b)  employment experience between degrees will give you a lot to think about when you return to academia for your masters.  

Feb 18, 19 12:27 pm  · 

This. So many times over.

Feb 18, 19 1:22 pm  · 

Heya, I am currently in a similar position. Wondering what happened on your side!

Jun 6, 21 4:53 pm  · 

I think you should take the job. The master is not secure thing yet the job is .

I graduated with a environmental design , policy and planning degree this year and was wondering what type of jobs were you applying to because I am facing similar difficulties!

 Hope you make the best decision for you!!

Jun 6, 21 11:58 pm  · 

I more than doubled my loan debt (from negligible $ to solid amount) to then get a dream job with the same exact portfolio I applied to grad schools with. Funny how that worked out. Anyways, if I had gotten that job offer before considering grad school, I would have chosen the professional work first as others suggested. I did work between degrees but not for an ideal swanky design studio, but the more technical and administrative experience was equally helpful. Your dream job would surely add some REAL banger projects to further spice up a later application portfolio even more. 

Jun 7, 21 5:25 pm  · 

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