Neither of them is a walk in the park, but is work or study harder? Or is it even possible to answer that? Below you’ll uncover 14 factors that influence how difficult work v study is. If you considering both options but need a bit more clarity, this article is for you!
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Is Work Or Study Harder?
The below table highlights the factors that make studying and employment challenging.
|Work is harder if you:||Study is harder if you:|
|Work long hours or overtime||Put in long hours|
|Dislike the work or find it challenging||Dislike the course or find it challenging|
|Suffer from work stress||Have to pay for the course yourself|
|Don’t get paid well||Have limited time for study|
|Don’t like your colleagues or clients||Struggle with self-discipline or deadlines|
|Frequently travel or are away from family and friends||Have long commutes or live in poor accommodation|
|Risk your health or safety for the job||Live far away from family and friends|
As you can see from above, there is much overlap in both work and study challenges. But at the same time, there are endless considerations to contemplate when evaluating whether work or study is easier. Much of it boils down to the type and length of work or course you’re in or considering in addition to personal circumstances. Read on uncover more about each of these considerations and how they could impact you!
Attending college can cost as much as $50,000 for tuition alone in the US. Source
Work is harder if you:
Work long hours or overtime
Most employment contracts have a set number of hours they require you to work each week. This could equate to a 9 – 5 job, fixed or flexible hours. Overtime may be a part of the role, be it paid or unpaid.
Overworking is a common phenomenon and if you put in more than 40 hours a week, you’re at risk of suffering burnout. Odds are you’ll also be tired, less productive and less happy in your role.
Ask yourself: Are you currently overworked or could you be overworked in your job? Would you be ok with that?
Tip: Compressed work weeks, such as a 4 day work week, allow full time staff to complete their work in a shorter week, which could equate to less hours and more free time.
Dislike the work or find it challenging
Work can be challenging from multiple perspectives, be it physically, mentally, emotionally etc. If the work involves high pressure, large work volumes or is difficult, you may not enjoy it.
If you spend 8 hours + a day at work in a job you don’t like, it will take its toll over time.
Fortunately, a job isn’t really for life anymore which means if you dislike your job, you can change.
Plus, sabbaticals, more annual leave and career breaks are much more common nowadays which means you can take a break if you need to.
Ask yourself: What factors do you like and dislike about your job? Can you change them or move job?
Suffer from work stress
Highly demanding jobs and the struggle to shut off and have a poor work life balance are all factors contributing to the increasing levels of workplace stress.
A certain level of stress in your job is healthy, but too much of it for too long is unsustainable.
If you do suffer from this, it not only impacts your life, but also your colleagues, family and friends.
Ask yourself: What are the stressors in work and can you reduce or eliminate them? Can you seek help from a mental health professional to help you better manage stress?
Don’t get paid well
The primary attraction and need for people to work is to earn money. While money isn’t the sole factor that determines worker satisfaction, it’s certainly a leading component in it.
If you don’t feel adequately compensated for your labor, you may develop a dislike for the job, become demotivated and suffer a decline in your performance.
Not getting paid well also impacts on your personal life if you have mortgages, bills to pay and dependents relying on you to provide for them.
A substantial difference between work v study is income. At least with employment, you’re getting paid.
Ask yourself: Could you get a pay rise or would switching job be worth it for an increase in pay?
Don’t like your colleagues or clients
We all encounter people we don’t see eye to eye with. If you’re working in close proximity with such people on a daily basis or numerous people you dislike throughout the day, it’s likely to make your day more challenging and exhausting.
If these people demean you or make you feel bullied, you’ll probably dread dealing with them.
Ask yourself: Can you change your attitude or how you interact with these people?
Related: The Truth About Working In An Office
Frequently travel or are away from family and friends
Travelling for work sounds grandiose from the outset and the odd trip here and there is usually tolerable and sometimes enjoyable. However, frequently travelling for work loses its shimmer after a while.
If your role involves large amounts of frequent travel, it can become exhausting after a time, especially if it’s back-to-back travel or you’re on long haul flights.
You’ll likely be eating out of restaurants which may not be the best for your health. You might not be able to exercise if you have a long workday.
Travelling can put a strain on your relationships too, especially if you’re expecting your partner to take care of kids or dependents while you’re away.
Plus, you may miss out on occasions and social events.
Ask yourself: Could you request less travel or would you need to change jobs? Would continuing to travel affect your personal health or relationships enough to move?
Risk your health or safety for the job
If your job puts your health and safety at risk, it can have a profound impact on how you perform your work and how you perceive your job.
Nurses, police and people in the military are just a few examples who face this each day at a larger scale.
On a more basic level, your job could involve lifting heavy items, working with hazardous chemicals or dangerous equipment which could easily lead to injury or illness.
Evidently, this will make your role much more challenging, particularly if you’re risk averse.
Ask yourself: How much of a risk does this job pose and is it worth it?
Study is harder if you
Put in long hours
With study, there will be classes, lectures, tutorials and labs that you’ll need to attend. These hours are usually set, unless you can watch recordings. Full time courses, particularly post doctorate courses are notorious for their long hours.
Additionally, there will be requirements for assignments and projects to be completed. The number of hours you spend on assignments and study will depend on your pace and how committed to the course you are.
With study, you can complete this at any time that suits you and your schedule. However, this can be a double-edged sword as you may not know when to switch off.
At least with a job you can walk out at the end of the day and be done with it.
How much time you pledge to study will be to some extent be based on how much time you want to commit.
Time invested will also depend on if you want to achieve a pass or distinction. You may also decide not to attend all the lectures or tutorials.
Ask yourself: Are you willing to commit the necessary time?
Dislike the work or find it challenging
Some courses will be more demanding than others. Post doctorate courses, for instance, are infamous for their challenging nature. If you are working on a project, you may end up disliking it which makes it even more difficult to motivate yourself to work on it.
In comparison to work, courses are usually for a set period of time. If you can endure the project or course itself, you can then move on and hopefully find a job or course that you enjoy.
But, if you’re starting out on a 4-year course and already know that you don’t enjoy it, that will be a long 4 years.
Fortunately, most courses break for the summer, and there are study weeks, which means you have 3 months or less to endure it in the year.
Ask yourself: What is it about the course that you dislike? Can you change it or seek help on the course?
Tip: Attending tutorials and seeking assistance from the lecturer or past students can aid your understanding of the topic.
Have to pay for the course yourself
Paying for the course and having enough money to get by will undoubtedly be a significant challenge for most students. From this financial perspective, studying is certainly harder than working.
With a course, most people have to pay for this themselves which often involves going into heavy debt.
In the US, the average university course costs range from $9,349 – $35,331.
You may be fortunate enough to have an employer who will support or fully fund the course for you.
Additionally, you’re usually not paid, unless you’re eligible for a grant, scholarship or some form of paid apprenticeship.
Consequently, you may have to live on a very tight budget in order to make it through the course.
Ask yourself: Can you afford to pay for the course and have money for living? How will this impact you day to day and your debt in the future?
Have limited time for study
Gaining a pass for any course warrants studying and completing assignments. If you are working a full-time job in addition to studying, you will have even less time to spare.
Generally, you’re looking at an average of 20 a week for part-time study and around 40 hours a week for full time study.
Even if you’re studying full time and have children or dependents that rely on you, they can take up a considerable chunk of your time too.
Cramming study and assignments in usually means other activities need to be sacrificed; this includes your social life, family time, lie ins etc.
Putting your head down can be isolating and difficult, particularly when leading up to deadlines and exams. That said, it’s usually short-lived so the end is usually in near sight.
Ask yourself: Do you have time available, or can you make time?
Struggle with self-discipline or deadlines
Studying and completing assignments will require self-discipline to ensure that they are completed, and you have enough knowledge to help you pass exams.
You won’t have a boss standing over your shoulder pressing you to get these done either, so it’s usually your own motivation that’s being relied on.
If you respond better to a heavier level of accountability, which is often present in work, then you may struggle to get work done.
Deadlines may aid your study, but you’ll probably end up cramming and stressing in the days leading up to the due date.
Ask yourself: Will this impact on your ability to complete the course? Can you get an accountability partner or improve your self-discipline?
Have long commutes or live in poor accommodation
Whether it’s work or study, it may require commuting if you need to travel to site or the campus. This can take a significant amount of time out of your day.
If you’re living in student accommodation for the duration of your course, the living conditions can impact significantly on your health and wellbeing.
If you live in a noisy, cold or poorly maintained house, it will affect your mental health and possibly your physical well-being too.
Lack of sleep, sickness and feeling uncomfortable in your home or room can negatively affect your performance and attitude towards study.
Ask yourself: How far of a commute would it be and how much hassle would it involve moving?
Live far away from family and friends
Moving away from home for the first time is a massive lifestyle change for many students. It’s exacerbated if you live far away from family and friends.
This may make it difficult to get home as often as you’d like.
Living in poor accommodation will aggravate this even further, especially if you don’t even have a room to call your own.
Ask yourself: How often do you realistically envisage yourself going home? How often would you be ok with going home?
To sum up, each person and their circumstances are different. By asking yourselves the above questions, you’ll be able to better understand how challenging work or study would be for you!
If you would like to further enhance your knowledge on the world of work and study, I have written some articles that are without a doubt worth a look. Some of them I guarantee you’ve probably never even heard of!
Here are some other useful articles I wrote that you should go check out:
- Is Weekend Work Worth It? + Does It Pay Better?
- 7 Hidden Things To Know About Work V Study
- Is Full Time Work Hard? – 10 Factors To Consider!
- Casual Work v Part Time – 6 Remarkable Differences!
- Annualized Hours Explained – Helpful Tips & How It Works!