This year has been a busy one for me, which has led to sporadic and largely uninteresting blog posts. For the last few months, I haven’t been doing much more than feeding my horses and moving them from paddock to pasture. Instead, I’ve been doing something way less exciting: taking classes at Tulsa Community College.
At some point last summer, I realized that my long-term job prospects aren’t great. Johnny had an interview with an out-of-state company, which prompted me to look for potential jobs in the area. I didn’t find many that looked appealing; I didn’t seem qualified for those that did look interesting. My bachelor’s degree is in natural resources management with a concentration in soil science and minor in biology. When I graduated in 2008 during the recession, no one was hiring soil scientists. I had a small student loan, so I took a customer service job right away in order to start paying it. I did that for a year, worked as a therapeutic riding instructor for three years, and have been at The Horse of Course for nearly five. Aside from a summer internship, I’ve never worked in natural resources management.
My official title at The Horse of Course is Web/Marketing Manager, but I wear a lot of hats. I manage the store’s e-commerce site, pick and ship most web orders, coordinate marketing campaigns, negotiate vendor and sponsor contracts with organizations and venues, oversee the store’s budget, assist with buying inventory, travel with the mobile unit, and often help the customer service team on the sales floor. By most metrics, I am reasonably good at my job. However, I feel like I’ve been making it up as I go along, and my weird, unrelated degree doesn’t help my job prospects.
Last summer, I scheduled an appointment to talk with an advisor at Oklahoma State University in Tulsa about getting a bachelor’s degree in marketing. Many of my classes from the University of Tennessee-Martin transfer, but there’s not a lot of overlap between natural resources management and marketing. There are a lot of classes I need to earn a marketing degree. The advisor recommended a list of classes I could take at Tulsa Community College that would transfer to OSU Tulsa.
Last semester, I took microeconomics and financial accounting. This spring, I took entrepreneurship, statistics, and managerial accounting. It’s been time-consuming and difficult. Fall is a busy time at work; I traveled for nearly a quarter of the semester. Work is slower in the winter and spring, but the courses I took had a staggering volume of homework. I spent most of my free time on weekends and evenings grinding through accounting problems and writing a business plan. The work has paid off: I earned an A in every class I took. More importantly, some of these classes are helping me do a better job at my current job!
You might wonder if all this means I plan to leave The Horse of Course. I don’t- I love working there. The schedule flexibility is great and selling horse stuff to horse people is fun! But the store’s owner is considering retirement, which means the business will eventually be sold or closed. If it’s sold and the new owners aren’t in Oklahoma, it’s likely this location will close. Either way, I’ll need to find work. It can’t hurt to get additional education to back up my experience.
At any rate, the semester is over and I am relieved! I’m looking forward to reclaiming my free time and spending the summer riding. And I’ve learned my lesson about school/work/life balance- I’m only taking ONE class this fall!