Long and Short Term Goals

The past few days I’ve been struggling with the boundaries between work goals and personal goals.

See, I taught adjunct at a local community college this past summer and was asked to do it again this summer. And naively I agreed.

The more I’ve been thinking about this decision, the more I believe it was the wrong one for my professional goals. However, teaching is absolutely the best thing for my personal finance goals.

Here’s the scoop: Teaching at the community college nets me a very sexy $5,000. I work 2.5 hours a day for 8 weeks. Not a bad deal. However, the class is right in the middle of the day (noon to 2:30pm). So because of its timing it is difficult to do anything before and I’m always so exhausted it is hard to do anything after either. With the rate I’m paying debt down and the addition of another $5,000 in the summer – I could be credit card debt free by August (not a promise, though, just an “if everything goes as planned”).

However, what I think I should do professionally is do research in someone’s lab over the summer. It advances the goals of my department (that I set), it keeps my research skills fresh, and will help make me money in the future as I’ll be publishing, be able to write grants, and there is a POSSIBILITY that whoever I work with will be able to pay me a small stipend. But if I’m teaching this class, I won’t be able to do this.

So I’m stuck between two things I want: Debt Free vs. Thriving Department

Both have negative consequences if I wait. The longer I’m out of research the harder it is for me to get back in. The longer I’m in debt the harder for me to get to my big long term financial goals.

The only half way in between I can figure out is switching to teaching a night class or finding someone who doesn’t mind me coming in just 2-3 hours a day during the week. Neither are ideal situations, but neither are perfect.

Since I’m the one who wants both of these things to happen I’m having a hard time deciding which is the MOST important at this point in time. And if I don’t get my debt paid down, I’ll be wondering the same thing next year and the year after.

So maybe I just answered my own question there…


8 Responses to Long and Short Term Goals

  1. Research looks more like a long-term investment in your job prospects. 5K really isn’t that much; unless you can get a class that fits your schedule better, I’d do research instead.

  2. alana says:

    I’d agree with Lost Goat. The research gig seems more line with your long term professional goals but also the personal goals as well since sharpened research skills lead to better job prospects which hopefully translate to better financial security. The 5k teaching pay seems awefully tempting but as someone who also works in science, i know how much of it revolves around keeping up your skills set. The chance to collaborate with others and get into maybe something different and challenging would help to keep your mind sharp and maybe bring new vigor to other areas of your life so I’d say go for it. Those debts will go just as quickly without the summer teaching gig if you maintain your discipline……. that mid day scheduling is just a bummer man!

  3. Mama Martin says:

    Once the debt is gone, you will be free to pursue other goals. For me, getting rid of the debt would come first – it is taking so much from you and limiting you.

  4. ND Chic says:

    I would lean toward getting rid of the debt because it will could open up other possibilities long term. For instance, if you are offered your dream job, you wouldn’t have that debt to worry about.

  5. Karen says:

    I would go for the professional goal. It helps you out in the future by increasing your earning potential

  6. Sounds like you have good reasons for pursuing either path… but I’m just so glad you’re back!

  7. Derek says:

    I’m naive to research requirements so perhaps this isn’t feasible. An 8×5 schedule seems too rigid for a researcher. Do they generall accept split shifts? Your halfway option could consist of a morning research session, and afternoon “break” with the community kids (you know, for socialization), and an evening research session.

    A summer of dedication to your life goals.

  8. Mary says:

    Personally, I’d go with the research goals. Sadly, the science world is “publish or perish” and in the long term, satisfying professional goals can help you achieve personal ones.

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