Many Motivations of Educational Paths – Here are two of my favorite!


This post is a courtesy of the website The website has a huge database of educational certifications that one might find useful for their preparation.

Most people think of continuing education as a tool to be hired in a specific job. That’s one way to decide what kind of continuing education to pursue. But there is another way to think about continuing education: not as a door to the known, but instead to the wonderfully unknown. I hope to encourage you to consider this second and less celebrated option.

For some people, education has always been about the attainment of a specific goal. Often, the goal is to be competitive for a certain type of job. Maybe when you were younger, you looked around and saw a career path that interested you. Maybe you looked at the requirements listed in job vacancies, and decided to pursue the certifications and/or degrees you saw in listings you found interesting. Maybe a career advisor told you what you needed to learn and list on your resume in order to get the kind of job you had decided you wanted. When your goal is a certain kind of job, or a job in a certain location in the country, or a job in a certain company. It makes sense to peruse the requirements as stated in job listings by the career, location, or company you aspire to work for. If you’re aiming for a specific job, it can be a simple proposition to decide what continuing education to commit to: study the requirements, notice what certifications, degrees, and/or skill you are lacking, and find a program that helps you fill in the gaps before you send in a [new and improved] resume and cover letter.

But there is another way to decide what continuing education to pursue, and this may sound odd: pursue any. Yes, any. Sometimes, we humans don’t know what we want, we just know we want a change, or to grow, or to have options. This can especially be the case if you are of a certain personality type. In fact, I highly recommend taking either the Meyers Briggs or Big Five personality tests; doing so has helped me understand myself and my career interests ever so much better, and has helped me stop fighting to convince myself that what others wanted is what I should be satisfied with, too. Sometimes, then, you are not sure what you want but you want to move forward, open doors, and evolve. If this more accurately describes your goal, then committing to any new educational program makes sense. Just do something, anything, that you can, timewise and moneywise. You could either learn a new skill and discover a new job interest you had never explored before – and sometimes then a new job prospect. On the other hand, you may also discover that a certain skill or subject is of absolutely no interest to you….and you can scratch job listings in that area off the mental list. This is just as useful, because it helps you to know what not to pursue when you are still unsure what specifically you do want to pursue. Whether you end up liking the new subject you study or not, you can add skills to your resume to show that you are an individual who seeks to evolve and stay mentally nimble. It’s always beneficial to your job prospects to demonstrate that you are not an individual who tends toward stagnation and that you will not be the employee who justs coasts.

You will do one of two things, for sure: you will either find a new path you didn’t consider five or ten or twenty years ago, and become invigorated…or save yourself the regret of jumping ship to a new job that you quickly discover you dislike.

In my most recent continuing education efforts, I worked as a research assistant and was assigned to edit other writers’ articles for publication. I discovered I actually liked copy-editing, and I had never considered any job listings with that description before! In fact, I didn’t even know what “copy-editing” was before this new adventure. Now I have added it to my list of keywords in the new job listing notifications I have signed up for. I also discovered that working in higher education is not as ideal as I thought it might be, before I was an apprentice to a professor. In this way pursuing education without a specific job in mind has been a wonderful thing for me. I have learned that I am capable of excelling at and enjoying jobs I had never considered ten years ago, and I also learned what jobs I am not as interested in as I thought. Reflecting on this keeps me motivated to finish my program (I’m close, but not done yet!).

Staying focused and motivated and organizing your life for successful completion of further education – especially if you are a working adult and have family responsibilities – is a post for another day.

Author: Gabriela is an educator with 15 years experience teaching subjects at all ages from kindergarten to adult level. Email Gabriela at

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