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Author Topic: Pros / Cons  (Read 14371 times)
navelgazer
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« on: January 30, 2012, 2:07:42 PM »

This is not a done deal, but my husband has an offer and I'm flying out to give a job talk. My husband's job is a very good offer (low load, good start-up budget for lab, good colleagues). My area is one the school has chosen not to specialize in anymore.

Thoughts on this list? Anyone?

Current Job                         Spousal Hire Potential
*2/2                                   *4/4
*PhD program                      *PhD program discontinued last fall (the discontinued part is what I worry about)
*14 colleagues                     *1 colleague (14 is HUGE, but 1 is really small)
*Big city, growing economy    *small town, rust belt (but not isolated, good airport access)
*Top 20 flagship                   *ranked R1, but down loq
*the food! the restaurants!     * ???

Strangers of the Internet, what are your thoughts? Living apart is off the table, and the husband has already said "oh no, do you think you'll even apply" when I told him the load.
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crowie
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« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2012, 2:25:42 PM »

Given the pro/con list you have outlined, this is clearly a "worse" job than the one you have--assuming you prefer supervising Ph.D. students and don't like teaching a full undergraduate load as much.  By the way, I don't think 14 is huge, not in my field, but I guess that varies by discipline.  But 1 is definitely really small!  But if living apart is out of the question then the pro/con list should not so much be between the current job and spousal hire job, but rather, between the broader context of your current situation (ie. you employed but your spouse not on the TT) versus the broader context of the new situation (with both of you employed, but your new job markedly different in a number of ways from the old).  I'm sure the campus visit will give you a better sense of whether this is a job you could live with if the broader situation (ie. both of you employed on the TT) is a high priority to you both.
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navelgazer
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« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2012, 2:38:56 PM »

Oh yeah, I think both of us being on the TT at the same school (or in the same area) would be huge and almost overriding all by itself. I care about location much more than I care about supervising PhD students (beyond my advisee whom I would be devastated to lose). And, my husband deserves a chance to get out of this post-doc and into a job where he can run his own lab.

I guess what I'm asking is how does this kind of move feel. Does anyone know anyone who has done this? For obvious reasons I can't ask around too much "in real life."

(On size, I'm in a department of 80 faculty, but my area is 14 people. There are about 3 other schools in the whole country with that many of "us.")
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polly_mer
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« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2012, 7:47:52 PM »

I can't comment on this exact feel, but I can tell you that being together as a family doing something I like with options on continuing to do so in the future feels fantastic.

From the eleventy-zillion how-we-solved-our-two-body-problem talks that I've seen for women in my fields, two good enough stable jobs in the same location trump nearly all other considerations.
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oldfullprof
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« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2012, 7:52:08 PM »

It's hard to imagine that any 4-4 place would have much for labs, start-up, etc.  Something doesn't feel right here.  Oh, HE, has a low load.  This still seems a little off.
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polly_mer
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Have you worked on that project today?


« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2012, 8:01:43 PM »

It's hard to imagine that any 4-4 place would have much for labs, start-up, etc.  Something doesn't feel right here.  Oh, HE, has a low load.  This still seems a little off.

Not necessarily. 

If Navelgazer isn't in a lab field and will be in a primarily service department, then her load may be 4/4 with basically no start-up while the scientist gets a pretty good start-up.  That happens around here fairly frequently.  The new scientists being heavily recruited get a pretty good deal and the humanities folks don't, even when they aren't trailing spouses.

I STFU'd at a new faculty party where the brand-new historian proudly said, "I like it here because everyone has to be offered X dollars as new faculty", when I knew that scientists were being hired at X+20K to be competitive with similar schools as well as getting start-up packages that include lab equipment, student support, and travel.  I didn't mention that I had made almost 2X as a postdoc and that all the jobs for which I am applying offer at least X+20K for lower cost-of-living areas.
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I've joined a bizarre cult called JordanCanonicalForm's Witnesses.  I have to go from door to door asking people things like, "Good evening, sir!  Do you have a moment to chat about Linear Transformations?"
navelgazer
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« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2012, 12:02:20 PM »

It's hard to imagine that any 4-4 place would have much for labs, start-up, etc.  Something doesn't feel right here.  Oh, HE, has a low load.  This still seems a little off.

Oh, my husband has a 1/1 load until tenure (and then it is contingent on grants). His start-up is 1/2 a million.

My college is almost always the lowest paid at any school, I got a 2500 "start-up," which is a lot for my field. At my current school, the sciences get 1/1 loads, but everyone else has 2/2, my college just gets paid less for the same amount of work. At the new school, it will be a 1/1 for my husband, a 3/3 for most of the rest of the non-sciences, and a 4/4 for some of the colleges.

I'm going to visit, but I'm going to need to like the program AND a guaranteed minimum number of preps.

Summary:
This job would mean giving up most of my research. Also, I don't like teaching right now at all, but this could change at a new institution. This is a new feeling.
There are many schools in this area that had openings (high teaching load, nowhere near 1/2 a million in start-up). Since they would require my husband give up his research agenda, he did not even apply to any of them.

As of right now, I doubt we'll take this job unless I think that I will like the teaching there more than I like teaching right now. I can't judge that, really, because I've never taught at a school with a population like this. I can tell you that their current course listings are extremely conservative and that my research area and elective teaching is... not.
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history_anon
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« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2012, 1:59:40 PM »

This may be none of my business (but then, you did ask for advice), but it sounds from your posts as if you are being asked to give up a great deal, and your husband isn't willing to give up anything.  You say that he "deserves" a chance to move from a post-doc to a prestige tenure-track job, but are willing to give up your own research agenda to accommodate him, while he didn't even apply to jobs in his field that wouldn't require you to move from your current tenure-track job.  Sacrifices are often necessary to make the two-body problem work out, but it sounds like all the sacrifices are on your side.  Are you okay with that?  You say that living apart is off the table.  Do you have kids?  I could understand it as a valid choice in that case, but if not, I don't see why you couldn't try living apart for a while, and then both continue to apply for better jobs in the same place over the next years.  I think you and your husband may need to have a frank talk about your marriage and your career goals.  Otherwise, you may make a decision you will regret later, and wind up resenting him for putting his career ahead of yours, which would be bad for both of you.
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navelgazer
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« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2012, 2:10:25 PM »

This may be none of my business (but then, you did ask for advice), but it sounds from your posts as if you are being asked to give up a great deal, and your husband isn't willing to give up anything.  You say that he "deserves" a chance to move from a post-doc to a prestige tenure-track job, but are willing to give up your own research agenda to accommodate him, while he didn't even apply to jobs in his field that wouldn't require you to move from your current tenure-track job.  Sacrifices are often necessary to make the two-body problem work out, but it sounds like all the sacrifices are on your side.  Are you okay with that?  You say that living apart is off the table.  Do you have kids?  I could understand it as a valid choice in that case, but if not, I don't see why you couldn't try living apart for a while, and then both continue to apply for better jobs in the same place over the next years.  I think you and your husband may need to have a frank talk about your marriage and your career goals.  Otherwise, you may make a decision you will regret later, and wind up resenting him for putting his career ahead of yours, which would be bad for both of you.

I am giving my husband less credit than he is due. In fact, today he is calling his program to talk about my probable offer in order to tell them, among other things, that he is willing to walk away because of my job. The issue is me, i want him to get a chance because I believe in him and want him to be happy. (we do have a kid, hence the no living apart. I will probably stay here with the kid next year to finish some financial obligations and to let the kid stay in the same school.)
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pink_
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« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2012, 11:03:13 AM »

The shift from a 2-2 to a 4-4 would be tough even for someone who loves teaching. That you have said that you don't like it is a rather significant concern from my perspective. Would the new position be TT? What kind of service obligations will it entail? How content will you be if your research agenda becomes a secondary, or even a tertiary, priority?

While I completely understand wanting to give your partner this opportunity, it sounds like it will be a huge change for you. If you are a research-intensive person and thrive in that environment, moving to a teaching-intensive position will be a seismic-level shift. Maybe this isn't the right package for the two of you.
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larryc
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« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2012, 12:40:04 PM »

Plenty of people teach 4/4 and enjoy it, some even continue their research.  It is a big hit you are taking for sure, but it is not a disaster.
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pink_
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« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2012, 12:44:36 PM »

Plenty of people teach 4/4 and enjoy it, some even continue their research.  It is a big hit you are taking for sure, but it is not a disaster.

Oh absolutely, but the OP here has said that she doesn't like teaching, which for me makes the above a bit less likely.
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monsterx
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« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2012, 3:42:31 PM »

This may be none of my business (but then, you did ask for advice), but it sounds from your posts as if you are being asked to give up a great deal, and your husband isn't willing to give up anything.  You say that he "deserves" a chance to move from a post-doc to a prestige tenure-track job, but are willing to give up your own research agenda to accommodate him, while he didn't even apply to jobs in his field that wouldn't require you to move from your current tenure-track job.  Sacrifices are often necessary to make the two-body problem work out, but it sounds like all the sacrifices are on your side.  Are you okay with that?  You say that living apart is off the table.  Do you have kids?  I could understand it as a valid choice in that case, but if not, I don't see why you couldn't try living apart for a while, and then both continue to apply for better jobs in the same place over the next years.  I think you and your husband may need to have a frank talk about your marriage and your career goals.  Otherwise, you may make a decision you will regret later, and wind up resenting him for putting his career ahead of yours, which would be bad for both of you.

This is unrealistic advice for anyone who wants to stay married.

You very rarely get to decide who gets to make how much of what sacrifice when you get presented with a solution to the two-body problem.  What happens is, something comes up and you take it or leave it.  You can and should negotiate and try to get a better deal on both aspects of the double-hire, but basically turning down two tenure track positions is pretty damn optimistic.

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polly_mer
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Have you worked on that project today?


« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2012, 7:05:50 AM »

Plenty of people teach 4/4 and enjoy it, some even continue their research.  It is a big hit you are taking for sure, but it is not a disaster.

Oh absolutely, but the OP here has said that she doesn't like teaching, which for me makes the above a bit less likely.

The OP also said that the not-liking teaching was a new thing and might be different at a different school.

OP, as someone who went from a 100% research position to a 15-contact-hour teaching position, I agree with LarryC that someone can have a heavy teaching load and still do some research while enjoying the whole thing.  A lab scientist requiring expensive specialized equipment likely cannot do that, but someone who isn't tied to a lab can make it work.
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larryc
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« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2012, 10:59:06 AM »

Navelgazer, could you use an offer elsewhere  to get your current institution to create a position for your husband?
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