Author Topic: Going back to school (Am I stupid??)  (Read 2339 times)

onlykelsey

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Going back to school (Am I stupid??)
« on: September 04, 2018, 11:08:48 AM »
I am considering going back to school, and want input on it.  Relevant info below, but feel free to ask for more:

The Basics About Me
  • I just turned 32
  • I am married (For now...) and have a 1.5 year old
  • I pay for about 85-88% of the family's costs
  • I am currently an attorney at an international law firm earning an obscene wage (probably 250190K this year post tax, but in Manhattan)
  • My NW is about 750K right now, with 250K of that being equity.  Assuming I stick it out at this job for another year, I should save another 120K
  • I don't have a great grasp of what my expenses are right now, but I think that if I ignored my husband entirely, and assumed I was responsible for all of my and the child's expenses, and the child continued in an expensive-ish daycare full time while I was in school, I would need about 80K to live on in Manhattan.  25K of that is the daycare.  I could play with moving my toddler in to my room and renting out a second room for 1K/monthly as well, which would take my expenses down about 12K, as well.

What I want to Do
  • I am considering a direct entry MDE program to become a nurse (with possible extension to become a NP. I actually have a borderline awkward exuberance for NPs and think they are basically the best medical professionals, but will start with RN and see how that goes).
  • It's an accelerated 72 credit 15 month program.
  • It costs a billion dollars approximately 100K in tuition and fees.
  • I need to finish some pre-reqs, which I can do at any accredited school (including online).  I'll probably have to spend 6K on prereqs and 1K on books etc for them.

Why I want to do it
  • I want to be an RN (or NP), obviously.  I have many nurses and NPs in my family and two of my best friends are an RN and a NP, respectively.  I like that it combines technical knowledge with helping actual people with their problems.
  • I want a job that is portable, and that scales so I can maybe do a half time RE, pursue my hobbies, etc.  Frankly, if I just let my 750K coast for a while, I should be in good shape for retirement.
  • There are cheaper ways to become an RN, but they aren't all a possibility for me now that I have a kid and may be tied by a divorce settlement (topic for another post) to one area for a bit.
  • Mentally, the hardest part of my job is being constantly on call.  No funeral or vacation is safe from a client's call and irrational demand, and even when I'm not working, I live in absolute fear of my work email.  I'd like a job with more of a division between on and off, that doesn't meld all aspects of my life to my office persona.

Hard Questions
Some hard questions I'm asking myself:
  • Can I keep up with folks 5 years younger than me without kids?  This one is probably silly, given the nature of my current work, and the fact that everyone in the program is at least ~26
  • Is the direct entry way the way to go?  I know that it's looked down on by some in the profession.  I don't want to waste time, though, and this is a respected program.
  • Is it worth 18 months of foregone income + 100K in debt/payments?  Earnings are hard to predict, but I would presumably be moving out of the city to a lower COL area when I get my degree.  I think here I really need to figure out how realistic it is to be able to earn enough to let my savings coast while working less.  It seems like it is, watching my RN and NP friends, but I'll need to run numbers.  Of course, it's unknown what area I'll be interested in or good at, or what the economy will look like

« Last Edit: September 04, 2018, 01:41:13 PM by onlykelsey »

FIPurpose

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Re: Going back to school (Am I stupid??)
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2018, 11:23:31 AM »
I'm also thinking of switching to nursing but you make way more money than I do.

All the reasons you list are more or less running through my head. I'm currently waiting to hear back if I made it in or not, but that could be until January so I try not to think about it too much :P.

I'm not sure I understand your current savings/spending rate though. Are you only saving 1/2 of your income when making a quarter million a year?

If I was making 250k, I'd make that money for the next 4-5 years, hit 2 million and call it. But I understand the job being a drag, and having a family of medical professionals that are all enjoying their work and finding fulfillment in it.

Maybe you should just take a leave of absence from your work for 3-6 months first. I think these scenarios come into our heads because of the stress that we're under. We pretend that somehow the grass will be greener in order to cope with the current situation. Take a break first, and see if clear headed onlykelsey is still all-in on the RN option.

erutio

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Re: Going back to school (Am I stupid??)
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2018, 11:28:52 AM »
I'm surprised your RN and NP friends haven't talked you out of it.

Quote
I am currently an attorney at an international law firm earning an obscene wage (probably 250K this year post tax, but in Manhattan)

Quote
Mentally, the hardest part of my job is being constantly on call.  No funeral or vacation is safe from a client's call and irrational demand, and even when I'm not working, I live in absolute fear of my work email.  I'd like a job with more of a division between on and off, that doesn't meld all aspects of my life to my office persona.

I am a healthcare professional, and I'd say no to the NP and a HARD no on the RN. 
Much easier to switch jobs.  Maybe you can find a lower stress 100k lawyer job, that way hopefully you lower the stress, without 1) gaining the debt, 2) losing years of earning potential, and 3) still get paid more than an RN or NP.

onlykelsey

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Re: Going back to school (Am I stupid??)
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2018, 11:39:51 AM »
I'm also thinking of switching to nursing but you make way more money than I do.

All the reasons you list are more or less running through my head. I'm currently waiting to hear back if I made it in or not, but that could be until January so I try not to think about it too much :P.

Good luck!

I'm not sure I understand your current savings/spending rate though. Are you only saving 1/2 of your income when making a quarter million a year?
I have to run all my numbers manually, I've done too many patches on personalcapital.com to make it work when certain accounts wouldn't link, and now it's a mess.  My income has gone up each year, and I recently went back from "85%" to full time so I guess i"m overestimating the annual.  I essentially pay for all of my expenses, all of the child's and some portion of the husband's, so... it's sort of a shitshow (should probably build out the potential divorce at some point, but am trying to focus on the RN thing here).  I am pulling last year's tax filing so I can have a better idea of actual numbers and actual tax paid.

Last year:
My W-2 wages were 323K
Taxes withheld/paid were 137K = 186K left post taxes
State Income tax of 25K
Local Income tax of 13K
FIT of 74K
SS tax of 8K
Medicare tax of 6K
and then I owed a full 11K at year's end (in large part becuase my husband claimed our son as an exemption despite our agreement not to... but of course I had to pay it all...)
Ok, so my estimates were way off.   I make, say, 186K.  I will fix that above!

If I was making 250k, I'd make that money for the next 4-5 years, hit 2 million and call it. But I understand the job being a drag, and having a family of medical professionals that are all enjoying their work and finding fulfillment in it.

Maybe you should just take a leave of absence from your work for 3-6 months first. I think these scenarios come into our heads because of the stress that we're under. We pretend that somehow the grass will be greener in order to cope with the current situation. Take a break first, and see if clear headed onlykelsey is still all-in on the RN option.
Probably a good idea.  This isn't an idea I just came to, I have been researching and going to open houses for a year.  At this rate I will almost definitely be here for the year end bonus, so we'll see how things look then.  I genuinely enjoy some of the prereq subjects so will knock a couple out, I think.

patchyfacialhair

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Re: Going back to school (Am I stupid??)
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2018, 01:48:52 PM »
Any possibility to do part time lawyering, just enough to put your take home around 100k? (so about 150-160k pre)

You'll still save a couple grand, but eliminate what seems like a key source of stress: 24/7 on call.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Going back to school (Am I stupid??)
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2018, 02:05:18 PM »
If you divorce your husband it sounds like you will owe him alimony?

onlykelsey

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Re: Going back to school (Am I stupid??)
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2018, 02:08:04 PM »
I'm surprised your RN and NP friends haven't talked you out of it.

Quote
I am currently an attorney at an international law firm earning an obscene wage (probably 250K this year post tax, but in Manhattan)

Quote
Mentally, the hardest part of my job is being constantly on call.  No funeral or vacation is safe from a client's call and irrational demand, and even when I'm not working, I live in absolute fear of my work email.  I'd like a job with more of a division between on and off, that doesn't meld all aspects of my life to my office persona.

I am a healthcare professional, and I'd say no to the NP and a HARD no on the RN. 
Much easier to switch jobs.  Maybe you can find a lower stress 100k lawyer job, that way hopefully you lower the stress, without 1) gaining the debt, 2) losing years of earning potential, and 3) still get paid more than an RN or NP.

Thanks.  I updated my numbers above... I had forgotten how much more in taxes I pay now as a married person, and forgot that I don't get full pay for part of the year.  Still a pretty obscene 140K + possible 40-50K bonus.  Obviously I have a small data set but none of my RN friends make less than 80K in salary (plus benefits and overtime, if applicable) in NYC, and my NP friend obviously more than that.   We're all around the same age, so they have less than 10 years' experience (but not fresh graduates, either).  I guess I'd need to look at numbers for where I am thinking of going.

I'm more worried about  losing 15 months of full time earning potential (and presumably another 3 after the program is over).   I know that the jig is about up on my lucrative lawyer job, and you're right that going to another lawyer job wouldn't have a 15 month hiatus, even if I made the same amount as a lawyer and RN.  That said, other concerns about staying a lawyer are not going to go away, and I'm more worried about lawyers being phased out than RN/NP jobs in the economy...

onlykelsey

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Re: Going back to school (Am I stupid??)
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2018, 02:09:59 PM »
Any possibility to do part time lawyering, just enough to put your take home around 100k? (so about 150-160k pre)

You'll still save a couple grand, but eliminate what seems like a key source of stress: 24/7 on call.
As far as I can tell, those jobs don't exist.  And I get it, because when you're someone's agent, you don't control the timing.  The new employee needs hiring, or the investment opportunity presents itself, or whatever, at its own pace.  You just have to react most of the time, even if you preemptively identify opportunities that you think they could get ready for. 

onlykelsey

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Re: Going back to school (Am I stupid??)
« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2018, 02:10:58 PM »
If you divorce your husband it sounds like you will owe him alimony?

Got a prenup, so hopefully not.  May need to give him some money to get him set up (although shouldn't be actually obligated to, I don't want to litigate over a measly 5K or whatever).

FIPurpose

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Re: Going back to school (Am I stupid??)
« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2018, 02:54:37 PM »
Any possibility to do part time lawyering, just enough to put your take home around 100k? (so about 150-160k pre)

You'll still save a couple grand, but eliminate what seems like a key source of stress: 24/7 on call.
As far as I can tell, those jobs don't exist.  And I get it, because when you're someone's agent, you don't control the timing.  The new employee needs hiring, or the investment opportunity presents itself, or whatever, at its own pace.  You just have to react most of the time, even if you preemptively identify opportunities that you think they could get ready for.

Yep same for my field. Part-time gigs are hard to come by. You either have to work full-time or not at all. The medical field especially for RN's is well-known for the high availability of part-time/ seasonal work

pbkmaine

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Re: Going back to school (Am I stupid??)
« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2018, 04:04:39 PM »
Why not wait to train for the RN/NP after you are FIRE? You will not be able to duplicate your income now, no matter what you do. Stay where you are for a few years. Your bonus alone could pay for your entire medical program.

onlykelsey

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Re: Going back to school (Am I stupid??)
« Reply #11 on: September 04, 2018, 04:10:58 PM »
Why not wait to train for the RN/NP after you are FIRE? You will not be able to duplicate your income now, no matter what you do. Stay where you are for a few years. Your bonus alone could pay for your entire medical program.

Yeah.  If I can survive until summer 2020 (two more bonuses), I would hopefully have 1.1 million or so.  Would need 170K, probably to do the program and have living expenses, which would drop me back down to 900K ish. 

I'm not sure if I will be able to survive that long, though, or if they'll want me that long.  It's an up or out field and I am nearing the end of my runway.

pbkmaine

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Re: Going back to school (Am I stupid??)
« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2018, 04:22:47 PM »
Then I would wait until the runway ends. It makes the decision for you. Also, the program does not have to cost as much as you are estimating. There are Associate Degree Nursing programs at community colleges. Those programs can lead to an RN. Use the RN to get a job at a hospital which pays for further education. A friend who is an LPN is taking this route.

erutio

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Re: Going back to school (Am I stupid??)
« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2018, 04:29:01 PM »
Okay, I wasn't clear in my first reply. Dude, being an RN sucks. It's straight up sucks. God bless them and the work they do.

The money doesn't make it worth it. So why do they do it?  Some greater calling and the desire to "help people".  Awesome reasons and again, bless them for it. Unfortunately, the current healthcare climate makes realizing these things harder and harder.

fuzzy math

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Re: Going back to school (Am I stupid??)
« Reply #14 on: September 04, 2018, 04:54:14 PM »
Wiping asses, getting verbally (and physically) assaulted and lifting 300 lb patients are large parts of a RN's career. Ask yourself if you really are prepared to do those things.

tralfamadorian

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Re: Going back to school (Am I stupid??)
« Reply #15 on: September 04, 2018, 05:41:17 PM »
Wiping asses, getting verbally (and physically) assaulted and lifting 300 lb patients are large parts of a RN's career. Ask yourself if you really are prepared to do those things.

+1

After casually complementing them on their careers, I've had several RNs tell me something along the lines of "Yeah, I never thought I would be wiping up shit for a career but it pays well!"

OP, are you really sure you want to give up your borderline obscenely well compensated job just before FI to do that?

Dee

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Re: Going back to school (Am I stupid??)
« Reply #16 on: September 04, 2018, 06:37:49 PM »
Sounds like you are heading for a big life change (with a potential divorce) so I totally get trying to figure out how to make your life work and not be entirely eaten up by work, with a young child competing for attention and potentially not coming out ahead of work often enough, given your current profession.  I also get exiting gracefully rather than waiting to be given the boot. (You haven't actually said that these are factors, so I am drawing inferences and may be wrong about these considerations.) But isn't there something else that holds some appeal to you that you could do to earn a decent living without going back to school? And then, once you are FI, revisit the possibility of becoming a nurse if that is truly what you feel to be your calling? But, honestly, when you get to FI, you may find that you can actually help people as a lawyer, with high earnings no longer being necessary; there is so much to be done in legal aid clinics, advocacy for various disadvantaged groups, even wills and estates for regular human people... it just seems to me that where you're at, you'd be better off getting to FI before investing in an expensive education for a whole new career.

Dave1442397

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Re: Going back to school (Am I stupid??)
« Reply #17 on: September 04, 2018, 06:40:01 PM »
Wiping asses, getting verbally (and physically) assaulted and lifting 300 lb patients are large parts of a RN's career. Ask yourself if you really are prepared to do those things.

Don't forget lifting those flabby bits so your helper can scrub underneath :) My wife has a lot of funny stories from her job (she's in administration), and those poor nurses have come across all sorts of food and other items while working on some of their patients.

My neighbor is a lawyer who decided to go to nursing school a few years ago. He worked for a small legal practice, so he wasn't under any stress at work. He took the classes and got his qualification, but in the end he stayed in the legal business.

monstermonster

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Re: Going back to school (Am I stupid??)
« Reply #18 on: September 04, 2018, 06:46:07 PM »
I don't have that many opinions on this but I'm pinging @Bracken_Joy since she is an RN and generally quite rational while also balancing the feels. (Also went into being an RN because it balances well with part-time/work-cycling.)

AccidentalMiser

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Re: Going back to school (Am I stupid??)
« Reply #19 on: September 04, 2018, 07:17:39 PM »

Hard Questions
Some hard questions I'm asking myself:
  • Can I keep up with folks 5 years younger than me without kids?  This one is probably silly, given the nature of my current work, and the fact that everyone in the program is at least ~26
  • Is the direct entry way the way to go?  I know that it's looked down on by some in the profession.  I don't want to waste time, though, and this is a respected program.
  • Is it worth 18 months of foregone income + 100K in debt/payments?  Earnings are hard to predict, but I would presumably be moving out of the city to a lower COL area when I get my degree.  I think here I really need to figure out how realistic it is to be able to earn enough to let my savings coast while working less.  It seems like it is, watching my RN and NP friends, but I'll need to run numbers.  Of course, it's unknown what area I'll be interested in or good at, or what the economy will look like

1.  NO, at 32 you're much too old to do anything else with your life.
2.  NO, don't do direct entry.  You must invest at least 3 or 4 years learning stuff you already know before you can learn anything relevant to your chosen profession.
3.  NO, you must continue to be an attorney even though you'd rather be a NP.

Look, you're young and hopeful.  You have brains and resources.  If, after you've done your homework, you feel that your calling is to be a NP then DO IT.   

Having said that, @pbkmaine gave some wise advice;  you're almost FI and all of this will be much easier once you don't have to work for money to live.

Best of luck to you.  Give a lot of careful thought to what the other folks said about cleaning up bodily fluids...

use2betrix

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Re: Going back to school (Am I stupid??)
« Reply #20 on: September 04, 2018, 07:39:05 PM »
Wiping asses, getting verbally (and physically) assaulted and lifting 300 lb patients are large parts of a RN's career. Ask yourself if you really are prepared to do those things.

In most places thatís the CNAís job. Iíd know as I worked as a CNA from 17-20 years old. It was rare that nurses did much diaper changing.

Milizard

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Re: Going back to school (Am I stupid??)
« Reply #21 on: September 04, 2018, 08:03:11 PM »
Why not wait to train for the RN/NP after you are FIRE? You will not be able to duplicate your income now, no matter what you do. Stay where you are for a few years. Your bonus alone could pay for your entire medical program.

Yeah.  If I can survive until summer 2020 (two more bonuses), I would hopefully have 1.1 million or so.  Would need 170K, probably to do the program and have living expenses, which would drop me back down to 900K ish. 

I'm not sure if I will be able to survive that long, though, or if they'll want me that long.  It's an up or out field and I am nearing the end of my runway.
Imo, you should try to coast to the end. Yes, it sucks to miss time with your baby, but as long as they have good daycare, this is the best time to miss. They'll miss you a lot more when they're older and in school (with crazy irregular school schedules). The school years would be a better time to go back to school youself, if you find that you must. I bet there are a ton of ways to leverage your current education and experience into a tangential field, though.

mozar

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Re: Going back to school (Am I stupid??)
« Reply #22 on: September 04, 2018, 09:55:25 PM »
Have you talked to your spouse about divorce? I think you should be able to retire now and move to a lcol area. But you might be constrained by a custody agreement.

WalkaboutStache

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Re: Going back to school (Am I stupid??)
« Reply #23 on: September 05, 2018, 01:15:59 AM »
I think it is worth thinking about a few baseline questions to decide.

If your legal job was still bearable (not too sucky, ok hours, freed from the constant threat of being out in an up or out environment), would you still be thinking of nursing?  Weird hypothetical, I  know, since legal jobs are rarely non-sucky, but worth thinking about.
If you did not have to work at all, would you be thinking of nursing?

If the answers of the above questions unequivocally push you into nursing, then consider the one below:
You mention the end of your runway and also what sounds like potential burnout, so letís consider that as your near-term baseline too.  I.e. unemployed, with $xyz in the bank, considering what to do.   If you go into nursing now, you will be I.e. unemployed, with $xyz-tuition-future earnings in the bank, in a path towards something. You would be paying the value of your tuition and whatever future earning you squeeze out by the time you get pushed out.  Is that worth the acceleration of your jump into nursing?

I am chomping at the bit to jump out of law too, but my gig is bearable (PM me if you want to know Ė it may be suitable to you), and there are some financial rewards and potential changes in the horizon so I decided to cool my jets and hang tight for as long as the branch I am hanging from holds (or 3 years, whichever comes first).

Good luck!

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Going back to school (Am I stupid??)
« Reply #24 on: September 05, 2018, 05:18:24 AM »
Iím not sure how much support youíll get for this outside of you, you do you. I canít imagine anything worse because of the hours and abuse, but yes, nurses are amazing people who sacrifice so much. I think itís a lot to put on yourself, schooling, the work schedule of a nurse, raising your kid and a divorce.

Is there any way you can volunteer at a nursing home or somewhere that can help you scratch the itch without sacrificing everything?

CrustyBadger

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Re: Going back to school (Am I stupid??)
« Reply #25 on: September 05, 2018, 05:36:41 AM »
It sounds like there's a program you are already interested in; is it in Manhattan?
Are there other programs in lower COL areas that would be also interesting?  Do you want to stay in Manhattan?  Is your current spouse at all interested in relocating and could you find a different well paying job in a lower COL area?   The best thing would be to work a few more years, sock away the money, and then leave work to go back to school when your child is out of daycare and in a place where COL is much lower than Manhattan.  But you would need your spouse/ex to agree to the move. 

asiljoy

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Re: Going back to school (Am I stupid??)
« Reply #26 on: September 05, 2018, 05:47:28 AM »
Figure out the divorce bit first. It will take up shockingly large amount of your energy and focus should that be the route you choose; if it isn't, you're still going to be in a spot where you invest a shockingly large amount of energy and focus trying not to hate/resent the person across the dinner table as you work through whatever it is that needs working.

Beyond the mental bits, figuring out the divorce bit first helps you plan. What are your goals? Spend more time with your kid? Retire ASAP? Whatever they are, you'll have a better idea the options/limitations of your situation for the next 3-5 years.

goatmom

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Re: Going back to school (Am I stupid??)
« Reply #27 on: September 05, 2018, 06:49:00 AM »
That seems like lots of money to get your RN.  I have some experience as I helped my daughter in her applications this past year to get into a second degree RN program in NY.  Her program is at a SUNY school and is only 12 months and about 15,000 in tuition. She did do her prereqs ahead of time.  Since they included labs - I am not sure how you would do them online.  At least her school would not have accepted those classes.  And it is at a top notch nursing school.  I know some nurses that went way into big debt for school and regret it.  There are many problems with the online diploma mills that have proliferated over the past few year.  I would steer clear of these.  It would be a big life change but if that is what your dream is - look into it.  I also know there are some RN/JD programs out there.  So this is a special area of law that might allow you to combine your degrees and work as an expert witness.  Best of luck!

FIPurpose

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Re: Going back to school (Am I stupid??)
« Reply #28 on: September 05, 2018, 08:07:16 AM »
That seems like lots of money to get your RN.  I have some experience as I helped my daughter in her applications this past year to get into a second degree RN program in NY.  Her program is at a SUNY school and is only 12 months and about 15,000 in tuition. She did do her prereqs ahead of time.  Since they included labs - I am not sure how you would do them online.  At least her school would not have accepted those classes.  And it is at a top notch nursing school.  I know some nurses that went way into big debt for school and regret it.  There are many problems with the online diploma mills that have proliferated over the past few year.  I would steer clear of these.  It would be a big life change but if that is what your dream is - look into it.  I also know there are some RN/JD programs out there.  So this is a special area of law that might allow you to combine your degrees and work as an expert witness.  Best of luck!

I'm currently doing my A&P II class online. I too was curious: how do you do labs at home?

I just ordered a dissection kit off Amazon for $30. Comes with Sheep brain, kidney, eye, and heart. You really can get anything online these days. lol

MDfive21

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Re: Going back to school (Am I stupid??)
« Reply #29 on: September 05, 2018, 08:14:26 AM »
if divorce is on the table, you should move to a state with more reasonable child support and alimony rules and establish residency there before you pull the trigger.  NY will ruin you.
 http://www.realworlddivorce.com/  is worth a read so you'll know what to expect.

taking a downsized law job elsewhere would allow you to do this without your partner knowing the full reason.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2018, 08:17:09 AM by MDfive21 »

Laura33

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Re: Going back to school (Am I stupid??)
« Reply #30 on: September 05, 2018, 09:23:49 AM »
My advice:  focus on one potential major life change at a time.

IME, the times when I have been most tempted to make a major change ("let's quit and move abroad!") have been when something is out of whack that I am not dealing with -- it's much easier to persuade yourself that life will be better if you just make XYZ simple/obvious change, rather than deal with the hard/sticky/hurtful/nasty emotional stuff.  The problem is that this leads to over-estimating how green the grass is on the other side -- and then when you do get there, you're still stuck with the hard/sticky/hurtful/nasty emotional stuff that you've been so studiously avoiding. 

You have major, hard life stuff going on.  You are contemplating divorce.  You have a young child.  You are already feeling overwhelmed and have just added more work hours to your day.  You are looking at the end of the gravy train in another year or two.  That is a lot.

Luckily, you are also trained to think rationally.  So tackle this like you would any major new matter:  break it down into pieces, and then prioritize those pieces.

Priority #1:  your health.  If you are stressed and overwhelmed, why oh why are you working more?  Go back to 85% -- you make plenty of money to get by, you don't need the extra 15%.  And for the love of Pete, start saying no.  What are they going to do, fire you?  You've already said that's coming in a year or two anyway, so take full advantage of knowing that you are on the "out" version of the "up or out" path.

Priority #2:  your family.  Deal with your spouse; go to counseling; file for divorce if needed.  Fish or cut bait.  This is muddling your thoughts on everything -- it is flat-out impossible to make a logical decision when your every day is filled with stress and emotion.  Just ask the recent widow my family bought our home from -- she has regretted selling the family home for the past 30+ years since.  Use your 85% status to take the time you need to get your family straight, one way or the other.

Priority #3:  your career.  You are correct that you need to consider your long-term options -- you just don't need to do that right now.  You said yourself you have a year or two left, and you're clearly not starting school while still doing your current insane job, so use that time to investigate all your options.  Look for other, lower-stress legal jobs -- maybe a niche firm in an area you are interested in (that's what I do -- work is more enjoyable, and the super-busy times are offset by less-busy times), maybe a government job, maybe an in-house job.*  What do those pay?  Anything sound interesting?  And look at your other nursing options -- paying $100K to chase a career that pays less than that, plus another $80K in living costs for the year you can't work, is not a good financial option, so figure out ways to do it cheaper.  Talk to friends in the profession, try to make contacts in the community who will tell you the good/bad/ugly.  Once you have 1 and 2 under control, you will be in a better position to evaluate whether there is something about nursing itself that draws you and is worth the financial hit, or whether it just seemed like a good escape and isn't so awesome in the cold light of day.

And while you are doing all of that, prepare yourself financially.  That means:  live on your anticipated future salary -- and put the extra savings into an account to pay your tuition and living costs.  Because my one rule is that there is no way on God's green earth that you should finance a degree that is going to reduce your salary.  And practically speaking, if you need $80K to get by now, and that's what your desired career offers, then how are you going to manage to pay off that six-figures of debt on top of it all?  Are you going to have to jump on overtime and weekend shifts just to pay the debt -- thus putting yourself right back into the crazy lifestyle you're trying to avoid?  Will you be stuck in NYC because of a custody decree, or will you be able to move to some better geographic arbitrage -- and how do the finances work under both options?  And how many more years will you have to work if you take on $100K in debt + a year of $80K living costs without income, vs. $180K in the market?  Is it worth it?

In short, before you do make a big jump, you need to know what you're getting into and be sure you will be happy with the lifestyle you will be able to afford.  So isn't it nice that you have a year or two to figure that out? 

Finally:  breathe.  You have options and time.  You can do this.  Good luck, and I am sorry you are dealing with so much at once.


*I assume you work at a big firm.  So talk to them.  Law firms love placing associates with their clients, because they think it helps build tighter client relationships -- we do that all the time with associates who aren't working out for one reason or another.

BicycleB

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Re: Going back to school (Am I stupid??)
« Reply #31 on: September 05, 2018, 09:46:18 AM »
Not stupid, just stressed. Don't do it yet.

Line up options. Follow @Laura33's suggestions. Explore the out of state job options for COL improvement, especially if they will generate better divorce terms. Maybe research divorce case law in your state to determine whether lower income will help you; if so, give the lower salary lower stress jobs more weight in your exploring, or find a way to ensure that lower future income will be taken into account in the event you are charged with child support. A friend of mine has cycled through large law firms to private practice to in house to smaller firms. I understand that options narrow once your peak runway ends. I recognize the period of "the clock is ticking, my time here is short". In house is good if you can get it. Switching careers...probably going overboard IMHO.

Try not to pull the trigger on any of these options until the money runs out at current job...unless your in-firm contacts suggest accepting a referral offer to client's in house position or something. In which case you have been given your severance package in sustainable form - by all means, take it!

Your stress level is going to drop regardless as your divorce proceeds, or your marriage otherwise comes to some resolution. You're probably also right that your income will drop regardless. So stay as calm as you can, explore but don't rush. Don't add a huge avoidable career switch to the unavoidable stresses of the day. Since you're not at FI, that's what your stash is for: riding out the bumps, knowing that you can safely move at a measured pace. A smoother path with good outcomes will emerge.

As others have pointed out, nothing stops you from making the big switch into the medical profession later. Remember, though, there's price pressure building there too. You could end up at the butt end of a generation-long cost extraction, where employees pay the price in bad work conditions and slowly falling wages. Out of the frying pan and into the fire, so to speak.

TL;DR - I'd cultivate the chicken you have, not count eggs in another field as hatched.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2018, 09:59:44 AM by BicycleB »

lhamo

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Re: Going back to school (Am I stupid??)
« Reply #32 on: September 05, 2018, 10:50:39 AM »
I understand wanting/needing to make a plan for getting out of biglaw, especially if you are clearly on the out side of the up or out pathway in your current role.  But I also question whether this is the right path for you right now.  Could you look at something like healthcare or insurance administration that would make better use of your legal background while not requiring retraining?  I think someone above mentioned nursing homes and other care facilities -- HUGE need for competent administrators there.  There are lots of ways to get better work/life balance than running from biglaw to an expensive degree program in a new field that requires a lot of physical stamina.  And where your biglaw experience wouldn't count for much.  You have put the time in at biglaw already -- at least try to leverage that to a less demanding/more family friendly white collar position first.

fuzzy math

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Re: Going back to school (Am I stupid??)
« Reply #33 on: September 05, 2018, 01:10:38 PM »
Wiping asses, getting verbally (and physically) assaulted and lifting 300 lb patients are large parts of a RN's career. Ask yourself if you really are prepared to do those things.

In most places that’s the CNA’s job. I’d know as I worked as a CNA from 17-20 years old. It was rare that nurses did much diaper changing.


I’m not talking elder care where people wear diapers. I’m talking ICU where patients are so sick they shit the bed.


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onlykelsey

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Re: Going back to school (Am I stupid??)
« Reply #34 on: September 17, 2018, 08:53:54 AM »
Any possibility to do part time lawyering, just enough to put your take home around 100k? (so about 150-160k pre)

You'll still save a couple grand, but eliminate what seems like a key source of stress: 24/7 on call.
As far as I can tell, those jobs don't exist.  And I get it, because when you're someone's agent, you don't control the timing.  The new employee needs hiring, or the investment opportunity presents itself, or whatever, at its own pace.  You just have to react most of the time, even if you preemptively identify opportunities that you think they could get ready for.

Yep same for my field. Part-time gigs are hard to come by. You either have to work full-time or not at all. The medical field especially for RN's is well-known for the high availability of part-time/ seasonal work
Yeah, this is huge for me. 

onlykelsey

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Re: Going back to school (Am I stupid??)
« Reply #35 on: September 17, 2018, 08:57:49 AM »
Sounds like you are heading for a big life change (with a potential divorce) so I totally get trying to figure out how to make your life work and not be entirely eaten up by work, with a young child competing for attention and potentially not coming out ahead of work often enough, given your current profession.  I also get exiting gracefully rather than waiting to be given the boot. (You haven't actually said that these are factors, so I am drawing inferences and may be wrong about these considerations.) But isn't there something else that holds some appeal to you that you could do to earn a decent living without going back to school? And then, once you are FI, revisit the possibility of becoming a nurse if that is truly what you feel to be your calling? But, honestly, when you get to FI, you may find that you can actually help people as a lawyer, with high earnings no longer being necessary; there is so much to be done in legal aid clinics, advocacy for various disadvantaged groups, even wills and estates for regular human people... it just seems to me that where you're at, you'd be better off getting to FI before investing in an expensive education for a whole new career.

This is great input.  Your inferences are right.  I also am genuinely interested in a particular area of science/nursing/medicine/law that I would be able to get further into as a DNP (or MD, of course, but becoming an MD doesn't interest me).

I have thought a lot about helping people as a lawyer (more than my pretty limited pro bono work now), and I'm not sure it's workable for a few reason.  I think in order to really help people in a direct way I would need to retool and get training, because my training is in something more or less entirely irrelevant to normal people.  It also doesn't alleviate the "agency"/on-call issues with lawyering, or the geographic limitations.  It's definitely something to give more thought, though.

onlykelsey

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Re: Going back to school (Am I stupid??)
« Reply #36 on: September 17, 2018, 09:00:34 AM »
Wiping asses, getting verbally (and physically) assaulted and lifting 300 lb patients are large parts of a RN's career. Ask yourself if you really are prepared to do those things.

Don't forget lifting those flabby bits so your helper can scrub underneath :) My wife has a lot of funny stories from her job (she's in administration), and those poor nurses have come across all sorts of food and other items while working on some of their patients.

My neighbor is a lawyer who decided to go to nursing school a few years ago. He worked for a small legal practice, so he wasn't under any stress at work. He took the classes and got his qualification, but in the end he stayed in the legal business.
Funnily enough, one of my NP friends was a JD first (my personal physician [MD] is also a JD, who worked as a JD for two years).  I need to bounce my more advanced versions of my plan off of both of them, but they have been pushing me towards making the switch.

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Re: Going back to school (Am I stupid??)
« Reply #37 on: September 17, 2018, 07:39:34 PM »
Any possibility to do part time lawyering, just enough to put your take home around 100k? (so about 150-160k pre)

You'll still save a couple grand, but eliminate what seems like a key source of stress: 24/7 on call.
As far as I can tell, those jobs don't exist.  And I get it, because when you're someone's agent, you don't control the timing.  The new employee needs hiring, or the investment opportunity presents itself, or whatever, at its own pace.  You just have to react most of the time, even if you preemptively identify opportunities that you think they could get ready for.

Some people work part time, but that is rare.  However, if you reframe part-time as working part of the year and then taking long breaks, there are quite a few such jobs.  It is hard to establish a routine as you still deal with the uncertainty of when you will be engaged but the jobs definitely exist.

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Re: Going back to school (Am I stupid??)
« Reply #38 on: September 17, 2018, 07:58:07 PM »
RN here. Love being a nurse although Iím an executive now. I recommend a LOA from your current job. Iím a second career nurse. There are lots of them. There are also LOTS that come to nursing for the wrong reasons, even though it sounds right to them. They get disenchanted.

And while Iím not a traditional nurse by any means and havenít had a traditional career, I always caution people who want to become and RN in order to move on to something else. What makes a good NP is having direct care nursing experience. Whether that is inpatient, home health, etc is up to you.

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