Add note: I'm fully out of academia, and employed in the public realm (see: Dante's sec 3, lvl 5).
Recently, I had a meeting with my boss. In this meeting, I handed him a list of 3 Extension classes and a professional webinar for field certification that I would like to complete this semester. The total (which I was asking him to pay for) was $2,000.00+.
He checked off approval on the field certification course (wasn't surprised by that, my immediate supervisor has been pushing for me to take the silly test since he figured out my 5-yr work history met the boards requirements) and ignored the other 3 (despite the carefully formulated reasons for wanting to take them).
Then he leaned back and asked: "...so, um... when exactly do you think you are going to be done with school?"
Good question, Mr. Boss Man.
I hold a Masters and two B.A's. I also hold an A.A. from a community college and post-grad work from 2 community colleges, 2 extension centers, and 1 private school. On average it seems that I've found some reason (god, only knows if it's a good reason) to take 1-3 classes a semester since I've graduated. Usually, they are all programming classes. However, at my current job, my programming workload is low and as a result this hasn't translated into a clear benefit for my company**.
When it comes to school, my boss only has one concern: how many letters are behind your name
. Adding letters behind my name (through certification, and degrees) makes me more valuable to him because he can make more $$$ on me by shelling my initials out on grants.
Frankly, I have zero interest in going on through another degree program (all the degree programs offered in my field limit me in letting me take the classes I want to take and keep up with my current job). I particularly have no interest in a PhD (after my Masters, that's really my last 'degree' option). I also have no interest in academia (frankly, there are precious few benefits to having a PhD in a professional arena-- in fact, from where I sit, they are not much different then having a Masters).
If I was to apply to grad school again, I'd be calling 7 colleges for transcripts. Hopefully, my boss never knows that.
I really think taking classes (which I always do outside of work hours) are beneficial to me. I also believe (in the long run) that they increase my professional worth (despite the fact they don't and won't add letters to my name). However, I do seem to have a problem in selling my boss on that fact. Short of writing an app for office-wide use (which is plausible), I don't have many convincing ways of selling my boss on paying for these ventures. Do you?
Overall, Boss has offered me a shot of writing a "plan" for him to justify my reasons for continuing with school, if you have thoughts (or experience with this) I'd love to know 'em.
**I have automated a few of my common data-mining tasks, in the scope of the companies overall 'for-profit' purgative, this merely has helped me more then helped them.