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I'm currently working in the Environmental side of mining, but I'm studying Computer Science. It will take 6 years to complete (part-time study). I've kept it a secret.

If it does come out though, can I expect serious consequences? Do employers typically become suspicious of employees leaving their company if they are studying an unrelated field at university?

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    I am not too sure Environmental side of mining is completely unrelated to Computer Science. Also, keeping it secret for 6 years may be hard to do. But, I think you're okay as long as your performance at work is fine. – scaaahu Mar 12 '17 at 6:23
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    "I've kept it a secret." What exactly does this mean? If you are studying part-time during times which don't coincide with your work shift, the fact that you are doing part-time study probably never comes up. – Brandin Mar 12 '17 at 12:06
  • @Brandin By "secret" I mean I haven't even told close coworkers about it. Also sometimes I do study during work-hours, on my breaks. This is do away other people so no one can see. – Lachy Vass Mar 12 '17 at 20:10
  • @LachyVass Study off work premises. Then the fact that you study will be exactly like any other non-work activity. You can choose tell someone, or not. – Brandin Mar 12 '17 at 21:34
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    This really depends on the personality of the employer. On the one hand it's none of their business what you do in your own time and many bosses will see it that way, but on the other hand there are some more suspicious/vindictive bosses who might feel a little threatened by it or betrayed that you kept it secret. If it doesn't impact your work, they have nothing to complain about. They could argue that your time spent studying tires you out and so you might not be on top form for work, but your performance at work should be the answer for that. Also, 6 years is plenty of notice! – colmde Mar 13 '17 at 9:23
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Do employers typically become suspicious of employees leaving their company if they are studying an unrelated field at university?

Yes, it's obviously going to be a concern, but 6 years is a long time and many employers are quite OK with their staff studying or even encourage the practice, so long as they are getting value for money. In your case it's unlikely that you will go to their competition upon completion. Many new graduates leave their old employment and seek more lucrative jobs.

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This is a very employer point of view question. If I put my foot into their shoes and see the situation I would ask myself these questions:

Has his studies ever created problems for my company? Has he compromised work for studies?

If both of the above questions can be answered "no", then there is no problem.

But, you have remember one thing, an employer will only think about your work and dedication to the job, not what are studying. So, it is perfectly fine.

When it comes to studies - projects, coursework and exams, you will require time for all this. If you have good time-management than there shouldn't be a problem but if you think you might have issue than just drop a formal email.

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Yes and No. It depends upon the nature and philosophy of company or organization in which you're working.

Though it can not be a big issue regarding study but looking at your considerable 6 year period it can create problems sooner or later. So, it is advised to maintain good relationship with chief authority or person of the industry in which you're working so-that it can help you forever in order to be in safer side.

Now, talking about this issue, make sure about your objective or goal i.e which field you want to give priority to -- working in industry or studying?

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This entirely depends on how crucial an employer thinks you are to their day to day operations. And I stress the word crucial, with the connotation of you are the only one who can do something. Let's just go over types of employees and normal reaction and you can see where you fit.

  1. Completely crucial employee that is the only one who knows how certain things in the business work. Employer will be upset. They may talk to employee or quickly try to find others to figure out what this employee does and get trained. I would not think this employee would be "fireable" right away but their may be hostility.

  2. Really good employee but has no knowledge/ability that business does not have or cannot find. I have lots of employees like that, that may be getting their degree (and maybe in something else). Smart people go to school and often change their minds. I wouldn't think anything of this as a manager. If the employee is hiding it I may think they were moving on soon - but its not like I am going to out a good employee early. If the employee talks to me about it I would probably try to find them a job in another part of our company (done this 10 times at least). If employee wants to leave in a year or two or whenever I can help them with a plan and I also get someone who will train the next person - they get a smooth transition to new job.

  3. Poor/average performing employee. Here is where you would need to be scared about going to school. In essence you should be the first to go. The issue here is if the employer needs to train you and they know it they don't want to spend time/money training someone who is leaving. So if you are poor/average I would try to keep it a secret or at least downplay it.

The other factor here is how long you have been at said company and how well you are trained to do your job. If you have been somewhere for more than a few years and know your job, the employer does not help themselves by firing you two years early because you might change careers.

  • If it's point one then that's poor management. What happens if he dies? the company is in a major mess. Otherwise if he studies on his off time then I don't see how it has anything to do with his employers. – Snowlockk Mar 13 '17 at 9:08

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