• November 1, 2014
November 01, 2014, 2:47:03 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with your Chronicle username and password
News: Talk about how to cope with chronic illness, disability, and other health issues in the academic workplace.
 
Pages: [1] 2
  Print  
Author Topic: Crazy to leave TT offer for a NTT spousal?  (Read 39447 times)
ambassadress
Junior member
**
Posts: 67


« on: March 03, 2012, 9:33:40 AM »

The moment that Ambassador and I have been dreading is finally here: facing the dual-body problem.

He's done extraordinarily well for himself this year, getting many offers, which he's used as leverage to seek something for me as a spousal hire. In this market, even his competitive advantage only gave me a promise of a 2-2 lectureship at his top choice, a respected R1. Of course, I'm grateful for that opportunity, and I'm seriously considering it. They seem to be serious about seeking a TT for me in a couple of years. They are even flying me out to them on their dime (with Ambassador as well) to do a meet and greet, a real estate trip, and whatnot. The department is small and cozy and could very well use someone with my specializations. The 2-2 load has benefits and would include only lit courses and would be so flexible that I could, even as a lecturer, propose new courses to put on the books.

I've been given an offer at a decent SLAC with regional name recognition only and an amazing amazing amazing set of faculty members who are young, hip, and very dedicated teachers. It's in a region of the US that I've always wanted to live. The students aren't as well-prepared or focused as you may think when you hear "SLAC," and there's a good amount of hand-holding expected that would indeed limit my time for research. This job is a 3-3 with tiny class sizes and lots of room for deciding myself what I want to teach each semester. Research expectations are there: less than a book, more than just one article and conferences. I thought a SLAC would be a my dream job, but I'm getting more and more confident about my research potential as I go to campus visits and do my job talks. I know that even at an R1, I'll give the same types of attention to students as I would at a SLAC; that's just my default mode of teaching.

I'm also a finalist for a job at a fairly large regional public institution. Similar to the SLAC, this institution has faculty and admin with hearts of gold and a scrappy demeanor that comes from the gap between their budgetary constraints and their dedication to their diverse and underprivileged student body. This job has higher research expectations than the SLAC and the same amount of teaching. The teaching opportunities are many and diverse but certainly not flexible (the catalog is not gonna change soon, and it's a pretty standard plate of historical period and genre based courses). I feel like I'd be working like a maniac and yet still feel in danger of not meeting tenure requirements.

The SLAC is a costly, awkward marathon plane trip away from the Ambassador's R1. The regional public is a reasonable-ish plane ride away from Ambassador's R1 and would be a tempting location for the Ambassador to come visit me at. One of the real attractions of Ambassador's R1 is that we've been wanting to start a family. Two years as a NTT faculty, teaching two classes while trying to place 2 or 3 articles in top journals, seems like a better opportunity for me getting pregnant than me being alone, without the Ambassador's practical and emotional support, with the financial burden of running two households, on the TT with a 3-3 load, service, and (in the case of the SLAC) a similar research agenda or (in the case of the regional public) getting my book into shape.

So the question is, in this market, am I from Mars for even contemplating following the Ambassador to his R1? I'm going to be negotiating spousal stuff when I hear from admin at the SLAC and the public regional, but I do not anticipate they can get a package for Ambassador like he's gotten from his R1. Is it reasonable to assume that this NTT could be the perfect platform for making myself a candidate worthy of an R1 TT and getting our family together?
Logged
brixton
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 3,131


« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2012, 10:59:55 AM »

Ambassadress -- I actually think you've answered your question in your query.  There are no mars-ish answers in these situations, only answers based on what's right for your family.  The subtext of your answer seems very much to be leaning towards the NTT.  But, if you're not completely comfortable with that answer, Make your list with positives and negatives in columns, and then make/embrace the decision you arrive at. You've got offers that look good for different reasons.  The answer is now really in your hands.
Logged
_touchedbyanoodle_
is not worthy of a moniker resurrection.
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 4,081


« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2012, 11:10:54 AM »

The 2-2 lectureship could be a low pressure dream, if you are able to view it that way.

Put family first. Put family first. Put family first. Put family first.
Logged

"Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist." -George Carlin
prof_smartypants
Treasure-pilferin' and grog-swillin'
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 9,496

You're getting hosed by small minds with no game.


« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2012, 11:16:56 AM »

The 2-2 lectureship could be a low pressure dream, if you are able to view it that way.

Put family first. Put family first. Put family first. Put family first.

This. You'd be crazy NOT to take the spousal.
Logged

janewales
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 2,584


« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2012, 11:37:21 AM »


Jobseekers are always told on these boards not to believe assurances of NTT lines/ VAPS turning tenure-track, so caution on that front is necessary, but I have seen situations like yours in which the spousal accommodation did eventually become permanent. I can think of 4 cases in my own university, and their resolution took from 2 to 10 years.

There are, however, at least double that number of spouses who are still in limbo among my immediate acquaintance, and I also know of a few cases where tenure-track opportunities were created, but the spouses were not confirmed in those spaces by the intended receiving department. So of course it's a gamble, but it sounds as though you have many good reasons to take the leap. I wish you all the best.
Logged
ambassadress
Junior member
**
Posts: 67


« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2012, 12:06:07 PM »

Wow, did not expect that response! I am relieved by your reaction, which tells me a lot about what I really want to do. I feel like a bad feminist, but of course, "bad feminism" is the one that makes prescriptions.

Janewales, you're right to say that caution is necessary. I'm thinking that if Ambassador got the 3 job offers this year and I end up getting 2, that's a decent sign that we could threaten walking away after a reasonable time frame at the R1.
Logged
luckychance
Senior member
****
Posts: 552


« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2012, 12:11:52 PM »

Wow, did not expect that response! I am relieved by your reaction, which tells me a lot about what I really want to do. I feel like a bad feminist, but of course, "bad feminism" is the one that makes prescriptions.

Janewales, you're right to say that caution is necessary. I'm thinking that if Ambassador got the 3 job offers this year and I end up getting 2, that's a decent sign that we could threaten walking away after a reasonable time frame at the R1.
Is the R1 in a city with many other schools? That would make it easier for you to get a TT job nearby.
Logged
ambassadress
Junior member
**
Posts: 67


« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2012, 12:40:15 PM »

Luckychance, yes, there are other institutions in that city. Good reminder.
Logged
hegemony
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 4,210


« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2012, 3:46:21 PM »

One thing to think about, as you're sorting through your options, is: What if Ambassador gets hit by a bus, or becomes permanently disabled, or has a passionate affair with the dean and runs off?  Would your earning power be adequate if you take the NTT path?  Would your career still fly?  I know these are dreary possibilities (and I've put the last one in a comic way), but the divorce rate is between one-third and one-half, and it's prudent not to rule anything out.  So you may be wise to consider ways in which to minimize the impact to your career, because that career and earning power may be more important to you than it seems now.  That's just something to consider.
Logged

Tragedy tomorrow, comedy tonight.
ambassadress
Junior member
**
Posts: 67


« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2012, 3:53:45 PM »

Luckily, the Ambassador is afraid of women in general yet is almost certainly heterosexual... Regarding terrible accidents, I anticipate that I would still be publishing at a rate that would make me eligible to apply for TT jobs again the next fall, were the worst to happen...shudder.
Logged
bioteacher
chocolate loving
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 7,411

Confused and sad. Or happy. I'm not sure...


« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2012, 4:04:57 PM »

Wow, did not expect that response! I am relieved by your reaction, which tells me a lot about what I really want to do. I feel like a bad feminist, but of course, "bad feminism" is the one that makes prescriptions.


Feminism is about having CHOICES. It's about having the freedom to do what is best for you and your family, not what society says is best. You are not a bad feminist for taking advantage of the freedom to follow your heart! Isn't this what all the fights have been for? So that women and men have the power to decide their own destiny?

When you're on your deathbed, do you want to look back and wish you'd spent more time with your career or those who love you? The answer is different for everyone... but it's okay to pick family. It's okay to pick career. It's okay to do what is best for YOU.

Logged

Lifesaving dream crusher and member of the Real vs. Zeal club.
larryc
Troll Proof
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 23,004

Be excellent to each other.


WWW
« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2012, 4:08:58 PM »

a 2-2 lectureship at . . . a respected R1 . . . we've been wanting to start a family

I'd take the lectureship. BTW, have you tried to leverage a spousal for your husband at the SLAC where you have an offer?

Logged

Trolling for sex is not what this forum is all about.
hegemony
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 4,210


« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2012, 4:17:12 PM »

Just to note that you may produce scholarship at a rate that makes you attractive on the market for next fall, but if something dire happens, it's unlikely to happen that quickly.  I'm not forecasting gloom, just hoping you'll put these possibilities on the scales while weighing everything. You might look at Leslie Bennetts' book The Feminine Mistake: Are We Giving Up Too Much?  (I hope I am not starting a firestorm in mentioning it.)  As the blurb says, "The truth is that when women gamble on dependency, most eventually end up on the wrong side of the odds."  This is not particularly an argument that you reject the NTT job, but a reminder that maximizing your career power if you take the NTT job can only benefit you and may be a vital choice.  It's not about a theoretical stance on feminism, it's about keeping your choices and earning power strong and thereby putting you in a strong position.  You want to be with the Ambassador because you have a great relationship and family, not because you've gotten yourself in a position where you don't have a choice.  It also gives you the greatest chance of ending up back in a TT job in the new city.  But just because I'm saying the NTT option is doable doesn't mean it's necessarily a slam-dunk.  I think you're wise to think all the options through carefully.  
Logged

Tragedy tomorrow, comedy tonight.
novusmagister
Junior member
**
Posts: 60


« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2012, 12:27:02 AM »

As quite a few people noted before, I would think that the spousal lectureship would be the way to go.
A few additional thoughts:
Try to negotiate a multi-year contract for the lectureship that was offered to you to match the Ambassador's time line (e.g., if he is up for his first review after the typical 3 years, try to get a 3-year contract as lecturer). I work at an R1 and lecturer contracts are usually up for renewal every year (but I have heard that multi-year contracts are being negotiated occasionally).

Otherwise: The big downside of lecturer jobs over TT is the teaching load, which they negotiated away for you. For all practical purposes, you may think of this as an R1 job (the teaching load, the library resources, the colleagues), without the pressure of the tenure clock. If you are interested in publishing, that generally speaking could be a better environment for you than a SLAC.
Logged
ambassadress
Junior member
**
Posts: 67


« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2012, 12:05:25 PM »

Hegemony, your posts are always like what my mother would post, if she had had a great education. I do wish the NTT offer were a slam dunk because it would make it easier. At one point, the Ambassador tried to convince me to let him reject his great TT offer and he would take the crappy NTT offer that my TT offer institution was prepared to give him. This is just the first moment in my life when the work-life balance is truly going to affect my decisions.

Novusmagister, thanks for reminding me about the colleagues and library. My TT offer has wonderful colleagues who are such dedicated teachers and would be good friends, but I'm not sure they can give me advice about research or make good comments on my manuscripts. And the library at my TT is like "the little library that could." If I were single, I could really commit to this SLAC and embrace its shortcomings, but I also know that any R1 dreams I have would be melting away as I committed to the SLAC and not myself as a scholar. While I'm not 100% sure that I want to be a super-high-powered, multi-book kind of a person, my advisors think that taking the SLAC job would shut that door, whereas taking the NTT would still keep the SLAC door open for me later on.

I realized that the perfect situation would have been a VAP: something that I could competitively "win" on my own to gratify my pride and sense of worth, but that wouldn't ask me to commit to them outside of just doing my teaching duties, and that would let the Ambassador put pressure on his TT institution to get me that tenure line.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2012, 12:10:08 PM by ambassadress » Logged
Pages: [1] 2
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.9 | SMF © 2006-2008, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
  • 1255 Twenty-Third St., N.W.
  • Washington, D.C. 20037
subscribe today

Get the insight you need for success in academe.