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Author Topic: Pregnant Candidates?  (Read 11290 times)
westcoastgirl
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« on: March 03, 2012, 10:48:31 PM »

There was some talk in the other thread about how haircuts might be interpreted. There's some ambiguity there, no? What about pregnancy? There's no ambiguity there; well, unless it's early. I often wonder if my 6 month belly had any role in sinking my candidacy for an instructorship a few years back. It was clear that I'd give birth during the term. With campus interviews being conducted around now, it's safe to assume that the birth will have happened before the commencement of the academic year. So does it matter?

For the record, I'm done. I've mentioned my situation here before and I have all the children I want in this life. I'm just wondering what the collective you have experienced.
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janewales
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« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2012, 11:39:55 PM »


I was pregnant on the job market; I was not so far along as to be obvious to the oblivious, but certainly some people noticed (a colleague later told me he figured it out when I didn't order a drink: "You seemed like the kind of person who would usually drink," he said. Hmm). I did get a good job, and started my position on maternity leave-- at that time, the allowance was for 4 months, so I didn't start teaching until January. These days, leave is  a year, so a pregnant candidate wouldn't start until the following academic year, and that would be fine.

We have interviewed pregnant candidates more than once, and offered jobs to some of them; but I'm in a country with serious maternity, paternity, adoptive and parental leave provisions, and it's just not on to make a candidate's reproductive status part of the conversation. Doesn't mean there aren't people noticing, or commenting, or even worrying, but in my experience anyway, pregnancy (or potential pregnancy) hasn't been an issue.
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anisogamy
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« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2012, 8:45:17 AM »

I was pregnant during my first year on the market, but I think that my failure to get a job that year had more to do with my ABD status and my naivete about the job market rather than my pregnancy.  That's not to say that it couldn't have had an impact, but I'd already scuttled my own candidacy before the pregnancy was likely to be a serious consideration in an SC's deliberations.
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A little compassion is better than kicking people when they are down, regardless of who has suffered more and longer or whose bad job market has the biggest dick.
seniorscholar
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« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2012, 11:11:29 AM »

One of our PhD students (in comp/rhet, I will admit), not only interviewed when very very pregnant and got an offer with a first-semester maternity leave included, but also negotiated successfully for a guaranteed place in the college day-care center (which had a long waiting list) starting in January.
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ruralguy
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« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2012, 11:21:57 AM »

I think it could affect hiring for a short term position.

If they NEED you for one year and one year only, and you would give birth during the term, and probably need some time off,
some folks, without even asking any questions (because they can't) would probably just not bother hiring you if there were
other equivalent options.

For TT position, I doubt it would matter at all, save for the most conservative folk who might worry you'll be too busy with a dozen babbies to publish or teach. It hasn't mattered on my campus for a long time, and I'm at a very conservative institution. If a woman, is, say , 30, chances are that she'll have 2-ish kids, and then spend the rest of 30 year career at the school without giving birth again (although there may indeed be various child care responsibilties that pop up).  So, if said woman is the best candidate, I am sure teh vast majority of schools wouldn't blink before they extended an offer.
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sugaree
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« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2012, 5:57:52 PM »

My very first exposure to the academic job market was forever ago when I was an undergraduate major and the faculty recruited me to be one of the students who attended all the job talks (we didn't have a grad program). This was in the early 90s, I think? Anyway, they hired the candidate who was very visibly pregnant.

Since then, I've seen several more pregnant candidates get hired, including a few of my grad cohort.
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doctorhappy
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« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2012, 11:29:32 PM »

I am currently 4.5 months pregnant and interviewing for TT jobs, so this topic is of great interest to me. I have been hiding the belly, since I still can, mainly because I don't want it to detract attention from my work-related qualities. If I get offered a job, I won't be able to teach in the Fall and will have to negotiate a semester deferral or starting on maternity leve (which seems too good to be true).
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monita
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« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2012, 10:08:55 AM »

I interviewed last summer at 7+ months and was very obviously pregnant.  I did not get the job, but don't feel like it had anything to do with my pregnancy. The person that was hired was very similar to me in terms of completion date, teaching experience, and publications, but her subfield was more closely related to some of the courses they needed covered, so fair enough.  The search committee was very accomodating with bathroom breaks and lots of water (it was super hot) but otherwise didn't make a fuss about it.

On the other hand, I'm convinced I lost a one-year term position renewal because I was pregnant.  My students loved me, and I really wanted to stay.  There was a lot of hinting that I would stay, but at the very last minute (like 2 weeks before school started) I was told that they'd hired someone else.  They said they had to go with someone more qualified, but since they hired an ABD, that seems a bit shady. 

So, I was no help at all for this thread, huh?  It could go either way.
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macaroon
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« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2012, 10:37:56 AM »

I am currently 4.5 months pregnant and interviewing for TT jobs, so this topic is of great interest to me. I have been hiding the belly, since I still can, mainly because I don't want it to detract attention from my work-related qualities. If I get offered a job, I won't be able to teach in the Fall and will have to negotiate a semester deferral or starting on maternity leve (which seems too good to be true).

This may or may not be a problem - probably not.  As ruralguy says, with a TT job, they are hiring you for 30 years, so most departments will be able to look beyond the 1 semester deferral.  However, asking for a deferral is effectively turning down the job offer and renegotiating a new one, and lord only knows what crazy stuff goes on in the administration when that happens.  If it scuttles your candidacy, there's other wacky stuff going on behind the scenes there. 

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txgalprof
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« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2012, 10:39:09 AM »

FWIW, I interviewed pregnant and got my first TT-job. However, the baby was born before the term started. (I was also able to negotiate a place in the on-campus childcare facility.)

I also have a good friend in my department who started off her career here on maternity leave-- I believe she came in for the first couple of weeks of the semester, and then had the baby.

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ruralguy
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« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2012, 11:17:06 AM »

Yes, I'd emphasize again that this likely would have almost no bearing on TT jobs, even if a deferral is involved.

Although, as I can say from personal experience, having to take care of a crying infant and prepare for classes, and do research is not easy. However, I wouldn't let the exprience keep me from hiring a pregnant woman who was best qualified for the TT jobs my dept.
was offering.
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prof_twocents
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« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2012, 3:48:47 PM »

Another post added to the mix, but also one who served recently on search committees. We had one candidate a few years ago who was clearly pregnant, but that had no bearing in the consideration of her for a tenure-track position.

Had it been a one-year position, however, it would have been a disqualifier. For a one year position, we need someone who can work that entire year. For a t-t position, we are hiring for the long term.
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onthefringe
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« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2012, 4:14:08 PM »

My department and a neighboring department have both made job offers to candidates who were >7 months pregnant at the time of the interview. In both cases, the candidates accepted the job, but deferred for a year (arranged to stay at their postdocs for that time). Since we are an R1, and don't have a driving need to hire a specific person to offer a specific course this coming fall, both departments were fine with this arrangement.  I assume it could be touchier at a SLAC?
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westcoastgirl
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« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2012, 5:01:24 PM »

Is there any way some of the pregnant candidates here might be able to go back to work after having the baby (if it would mean losing the job?).

A few years ago, I had my child and I had a few adjunct gigs. At the time, my husband and I were both grad students. He had a write up fellowship but it didn't cover our bills in our super high COL area. I didn't want to lose my adjunct gigs. I returned to work (five classes), 2 weeks after giving birth. I'd come home between classes to pump and feed and I was up all night, but it worked. I didn't work on the diss at all that year.

And I've had these gigs since that time, so it was worth it. My husband became a SAHD and managed to finish his dissertation. It wasn't an easier year, but it's a blur now.
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kunsthistorikerin
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« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2012, 10:12:42 PM »

Is there any way some of the pregnant candidates here might be able to go back to work after having the baby (if it would mean losing the job?).



Can losing the job actually happen?  If a candidate is offered a tenure-track job in the spring, and says "I need to defer because I am having a baby in September," can the college actually withdraw the offer and go to the next candidate?  I understand this happening for an adjunct/VAP type position, but for t-t this seems wrong. 
 
Westcoastgirl, five classes two weeks after giving birth is heroic.  Possibly godlike.  I am in awe!

KH

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