Why I waited 10 years before I even Considered a Masters Degree

So it’s true that I’ve worked for almost 10 years. I graduated in 2008 on the back of one of the worst economic disasters, and almost immediately went into the grind of work. In the process, I’ve met abusive bosses, gotten fired, found great friends, and ended up carving a spot for myself leading brand and marketing in a firm.

It’s been rough, and frankly, I could have gone for further education 10 years ago before all this started. You see, my family had funds left over from my education pool, and they were more than happy to push me to get a Masters degree right out of school. So why didn’t I do it?

I Was Still Tasting Everything

When I first graduated, I wanted to earn my stripes and make some kind of impact in my chosen place of work. I believed (and still believe) in tasting as many experiences as I humanly could. I also believed that once I found what I could get really good at, I needed to hunker down and be very aggressive in getting good at it. It explained why I moved from publishing, to web technology, branding and eventually into marketing/branding real estate. If you noticed, I’ve been working on my current project for a total of 8 years.

It Must Be Worth It.

At 23, I realised that I lacked the dearth of experiences to make a Masters Degree in my field worth it. Taking an advanced degree at 23, with little experience in the workplace (I had an internship or two), meant that I wouldn’t be able to maximise the value of the education. My limited scope would ensure that plenty of things would fly over my head, and I would have a narrower perspective of whatever case studies I’d be working on.

That meant a waste of tens of thousands of dollars. I just couldn’t accept executing against that type of lifestyle.

Looking for The Next Challenge

I am primarily motivated by the idea that if I wanted to do anything, I would need to have the desire to be exceedingly good at something and strive to be the best at it. It wasn’t so much the money, but the desire to have the recognition so that I could be among peers who wanted the same for themselves.

“Not so much for the money” sounds a little selfish. The truth is that I realised that I was only able to produce some of my best work when I was surrounded by challenging circumstances. Somehow, the less I had, the better I could do. That was why the primary goal for me was to be in a position where people came together to fix problems in the best way possible, especially when things were difficult. So yes, I thrive on adversity and the need to always be on a journey to the next win.

It was this desire, that got me looking for depth in every job I took. For me, that meant being able to find every inch of performance I could in every day work life. In fact, the projects that are closest to my heart are the ones which were the most difficult to do. I took every win, and loss, personally. It’s the only way I know how to operate. I think it works for me because every thing makes a difference for me, meaning every difference I made helped move me forward.

For 8 years, Doing that made me tell people “I’m not done yet,” because I was seeking the next difficult thing and the next exciting idea.

So what changed?

I’ve done what I needed to do, and I need to find the next difficult thing. It’s that simple. 

In fact, the drive to be good at what I do was the thing that brought me to this very moment. I had always wondered if I could run with some of the best, and Boston University’s Masters in Communication was one of the top programs available.

The school has a very low acceptance rate, but more importantly, it had a widely respected communication program for graduate students like me. Top 50 globally? Check. Global Exposure? Check. Heck they even threw in a scholarship!

It’s going to be more difficult than ever to win now. I’ll be in a foreign land, the weather will definitely mess with me, and I’ll need to adjust culturally to the place. But difficult is exactly how I like it.

Until next time,
Kenneth

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