...Every situation is unique, and earning (or not earning) a degree is a career-changing decision that should not be made lightly. Before we dive into how to approach this decision for yourself, I want to tackle the idea that earning a master’s degree is a “downgrade” from a PhD, or merely a consolation prize. There are many reasons you might want to earn a specific degree, and a primary one should be that it will allow you to pursue your desired career path. Thus, no degree is inherently superior to any other—there is only what is best for you and will most effectively help you achieve your goals. So this brings us to the real questions: Where do you aspire to go in your career, and what degree do you need to get there?
Of course, these are not easy questions to answer. But they are extremely important to consider on a regular basis. This is in fact why I sometimes recommend working in a full-time job for a few years before deciding to pursue an advanced degree. Spending time in the “real world” can be extremely clarifying when it comes to career goals....I agree with 99% of this. As someone who worked for a single year in industry, I wonder if the perfect time between a B.S. degree and graduate school is two years. The nature of application deadlines is that, if you are hired during the summer after you graduate, you will need to apply by November or December, and so you're not really spending very much time thinking "maybe I should stick around here?" If you have two years in between your undergraduate degree and your start of graduate school, there's almost a full year for you to ponder life. More than that, and I feel like you're risking more of your thirties than you might want to.
Readers, tell me where I'm wrong. (Oh, and have a great weekend.)