Thank you all for your insights. To speak to some of the questions raised, here is some further information:
Why did I chose to do a masters rather than a direct admit PhD?— Incidentally, I did a dual degree program as an undergrad and decided to get another masters in order to both diversify my academic background and mitigate “educational incest.” Also I didn’t take myself seriously enough to delve into the world of PhDs.
What degrees do I have?— I have a bachelors and masters in political science and am working on my public administration degree.
Career goals/next steps?— I see myself working in international education and cross-cultural communications, either from the policy/public service side or from the academic side. For me, a PhD would permit me an opportunity to do original research on a topic I am passionate about in the short-term and could give me more flexibility in the long term (if I wanted to teach, for instance). I could see myself teaching as equally as I could see myself in administration… Meanwhile, I feel that I lack professional experience as most of my work experience has been either internships or part-time positions at my undergraduate and graduate institutions. From that standpoint, joining the workforce would be a good idea, though pursuing a PhD will also qualify me for jobs I am more interested in.
Also, thinking about the stipend that PhD’s in my field receive–yes, it’s low, but so is the salary that I would receive working in public service.
Why do I want a PhD?— Aside from reasons listed above, I like learning and enjoy writing academic papers. And, if I am going to go deep- the university environment is a familiar and safe place for me as I have little experience beyond it, doing a PhD is a safe move that requires little change and readjustment, also I want jobs that are fulfilling (maybe that’s too much to ask? lol). On the other hand, I desire professional experience and realize how valuable being in the workforce would be to position me for a future career, and there are entry-level jobs political that I want to take simply for the learning experience. But I also realize that putting off a PhD makes it that much harder to complete later on (because of readjustment, complacency, and the application process/reconnecting to professors for letters of recommendation after time outside of university life).