Wasted Worries

I’ll admit it, I’m a worrier. I worry about what people think. I worry about what might or might not happen. I worry about the ripple effect of every action I take. As hard as I try not to, I worry.

Over the last few months, my boss has been discussing with our parent company whether or not they would be willing to contribute towards the cost of my Masters Degree. I was told that they have paid for educational expenses in the past. I was also told “horror stories” of a current employee who was forced to sign a multi-year contract, thinking she would be promoted, and then wasn’t.

So, I worried. I worried about what this “multi-year contract” might entail. I worried about being stuck in a dead-end job. I worried that if I tried to negotiate I would look disloyal. Basically, I worried!

And, as it turns out, it was all for naught. This week I was finally given the scary “multi-year contract” that I’d been hearing horror stories about. And truly, it isn’t bad at all!

Basically, the company is willing to reimburse 100% of approved classes that relate to my job, up to $3,000 per year, so long as I earn a “B” or higher. If I leave the company within 1 year of reimbursement, I must pay back 67% of the amount I was given. If I leave after 1 year, but before the end of year 2, I must pay back 33%.

Really? That’s it?!? In my opinion, that’s not a bad deal at all! It covers the company’s interests, which makes sense. But, if I’m smart about it, it doesn’t really hurt me either.

I expect the Masters program to take 2 years, assuming I don’t take more than 2 classes each semester (including the summer semesters). The classes I’ve taken up to this point have all been prerequisites, so they don’t count towards the program, but they should still count for reimbursement.

So, worst case scenario, let’s say I stay with the company until after I graduate, and then go to work for another company. The company will have paid me $3,000 in 2013, 2014, and 2015, or $9,000 in total.The money for classes in 2013 will be “free and clear”, since I will have stayed with the company for more than 2 years since that reimbursement. For 2014, I’ll owe  back 33% of the $3,000 for that year, or $990. For 2015, I’ll owe back 67% of the $3,000, or $2010. Which means in total, I’ll owe back $3,000 of the total $9,000 paid as reimbursements. In the end, that’s still an additional $6,000 that went towards my education.

Who knows, I might end up advancing with this company, and staying on long-term. But if that doesn’t happen, I’m not really stuck. I just have to make sure that I set aside about $3,000 to pay back any educational reimbursements that I haven’t “earned through time”.

What seemed like such a big deal a few days ago turned out to be small potatoes! Not that I’m writing off $3,000 as “no big deal”. But if I know exactly what the possible outcomes are, I can plan for them in advance. I worried for weeks over something that, in reality, is easily manageable!

Have you ever worried about something that ended up being no big deal? Does your company offer educational reimbursement? Have you ever taken advantage of it?

– Ms. W

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