“Remember the Balance” – How to Succeed at Work and School


One of the great things about Goodwin Recruiting is that you don’t have to have an expensive education to succeed here. I joined the company as a recruiting partner in 2018. I showed up on their virtual doorstep with a work ethic, a love for serving others, a burning desire to succeed, and a third of my MBA.  

The year before joining Goodwin, a series of devastating events led me to walk away from school, and by the time the pandemic rolled around, I had completely written off my ability to finish. That all changed when a Harding University recruiter called me, ironically enough. That phone call invited a welcome challenge to take control and finish my MBA. When I informed the Goodwin team of my decision to finish my degree, I was overwhelmed by the love and support I received.

If you are considering returning to school while working a full-time job, here are a few bits of advice from someone who did it and lived to tell the tale.   

You can do this! Here’s how…

  1. Your accountant is your friend

    One reason I started on my master’s degree in the first place (aside from being a glutton for punishment) was because my employer at the time provided a tuition assistance program. Having to pay for only a portion of my education was a massive factor. Then, when I decided to return after a three-year hiatus, I learned I was eligible for tax breaks due to my independent contractor status as a talent recruiter. Side note: My accountant is my hero.  

  2. Follow the Boy Scouts’ motto

    Be prepared! To balance work and school, I chose to take only one class at a time and was strategic about which courses I took and when. For example, taking a pre-planned vacation in the middle of my most challenging class would have been catastrophic, so I looked at my work schedule, time off, and personal obligations to ensure I could manage all commitments while going to school and juggling a full-time job. Being well-prepared for the challenges ahead was a huge reason I was successful in work, school, and life!  

  3. Warn your family and friends

    Having a strategic plan in place also enabled me to (literally) warn my family and friends about what to expect. I was the president of my local Rotary Club and had just taken on a new position at work when my final MBA capstone class started. Everyone in my life knew that April 2022 was going to be “the bad time for me,” so I was given some extra grace if I was a little short or unavailable for social interactions. Understanding from my loved ones formed a support system and helped keep my stress levels in check. This leads me to point #4…  

  4. Keep it in balance, grasshopper

    My classes were all eight weeks long, and the stress was sometimes overwhelming. Allowing my laptop to hold me hostage wasn’t the way to go, so I made sure that I still went out to dinner with friends, did some Netflix binging, and got enough sleep (or at least tried). Self-care, time management, and work-life balance are so important in avoiding burnout. Goodwin’s founder, Eric Goodwin, recently reminded our team to “Remember the balance.” Doing exactly that can be a huge factor in success or failure, especially as an adult student.  

  5. The more you know

    I learn best when I can put what I’m learning into context, so whenever possible, I integrated topics from school coursework into my recruiting work and vice versa. At times, I felt awkward because I was twice the age of many students in my cohort, but that meant I had a lot of work and life experience to help them succeed, too!  

  6. Treat Yo’self

    I was enrolled in an online MBA program, so I felt a bit silly about attending graduation. However, I earned my degree just like everyone else, and taking time to celebrate with my family and meeting my fellow students and professors was really rewarding. Whether you are obtaining a certification, a college degree, or a doctorate, take time to enjoy the moment and celebrate your accomplishment!  

One more helpful tip: Mentors matter!

If you are looking to move your career forward, we would love to be a part of your journey to support and guide you! Check out our job board at Goodwin Recruiting – or reach out directly to our internal recruiting team. And if, by chance, this article has inspired you to consider a career in talent recruiting, today is a great day to learn more about one of the nation’s top firms! I wish you the very best in all your endeavors.