Ask the Expert: Am I mad to resign for study leave?

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Resigning to study for exams is certainly a drastic solution and we are wondering whether, if you are seriously contemplating this route, there isn't something else amiss at work.

Normally, if you enjoy your job and your employer values you, it would be possible to negotiate some kind of study arrangement, even if there isn't a formal policy of granting paid study leave. There are all kinds of options ranging from unpaid leave to gathering up annual leave to requesting part time hours for a period of time.

If you have tried this flexible approach and your employer has simply refused, you must ask yourself why. Do they not value you? Are they just a very rigid company? What has happened with others in the past - are you exceptional in needing study leave to pass these exams?

What you decide to do will depend on the answer to these questions. Leaving to study certainly won't enhance your CV - and the highflying companies won't be impressed - so you should not do it lightly.

On the other hand, not everyone is cut out for a top level 'my life is my work' kind of job and if you are not one of those people, it's as well to recognise that and work with it rather than against it. Perhaps also you have reached the end of the road with this particular employer after four years, anyway. In these circumstances, leaving is not as foolish as some might think.

The one thing we would say is that if you do decide to resign to study, make sure you do just that - study hard and get as good an exam result as you can. Otherwise you will end up with the worst of both worlds having given up a good job and still achieved a poor exam performance.

Next week's question: I am in a post-doctoral position at Oxford University and was recently offered a position as an IT developer in fixed income derivatives working with the quants at a London investment bank. However, I am disappointed with the compensation package the bank offered me, which is about 35k plus benefits. During the interviews I was told the salary range for the position was 40-50k plus benefits and I asked for 45k. I admitted, when asked, that my current salary is 28k. Can I still try and re-negotiate the salary now the offer letter is on the table, and could I potentially nominate somebody more experienced to negotiate on my behalf?

What would you advise? Send your answer to:

Look out for the Experts' answer to this dilemma and readers' comments on Ask the Expert next week!

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