Karl Albrecht (1980), a renaissance thinker of modern times, made an emphatic observation:-
"The typical human life seems to be quite unplanned, undirected, and unlived. Only those who consciously think about the adventure of living, as a matter of choices among options, can ever establish real self-control and live their lives fully (available on DVD)."
The primary focus in making a career decision pivots around an individual's internal goals, needs, and pursuit of satisfaction. Vocational psychologists have advanced different theories to explain the process by which an individual makes a career choice. These range from a person-environment fit (Holland, 1997), to person's current self-concept (Savickas, 2002).
Many people like me, after working in the "real-world," develop a strong interest in a new field, and therefore, make a decision to return to a graduate school. In my case, it's a renewed interest in the field of psychology; coupled with a strong passion to seek a second career in academia, which compelled me to invest in a master's degree of choice.
Incidentally, my first career in the army was more of a circumstantial dictate. Having been raised in a single-parent family, and the oldest of the siblings, I had decided to drop out of college in 1987, for want of a secured career to support my family. Although the penchant to study psychology remained active and potent, the immediate external factors affecting the family, forced me to shift my priorities. Revisiting academics remained a plausible option for future.
I also understand that returning to a graduate school is a huge investment, both in time and finance. Having already completed my Masters degree in Education and Instruction in 2008, from the University of Phoenix, I had a clear notion about the academic environs there, and the expectations from me. I also had a fair idea of the program on psychology being offered there, and the great credentials of professors and support staff in the university.
Another aspect of my decision to pursue a master's program stems from a perceived increase in the earning capacity, and professional growth, for a master's degree holder. According to the U.S. Census Bureau ('The Chicago Flame', 2005) a person with a master's degree can earn around $500,000 more over their lifetime, than a person with a bachelor's degree, and the earnings increase by about $1,000,000 for each additional degree.
I also strongly believe one must have fun - for life indeed, is one short burst. One way of achieving this is to discover one's niche area, and drive one's career passionately and effectively, enjoying every moment of it. My return to the graduate school ensures this, and packs my future with myriad of possibilities that would make me feel satisfied, and have "friends for life."