Thursday, April 12, 2012

I told the Dean to send me a one-year contract.

A bit risky politically, Meant more as a cry for help. But I mean it and will follow through. I can't take six more years of this. Would you refuse tenure if it meant you would be miserable for the rest of your life? OK, I'm being melodramatic- my kids won't be this hard to take care of for much longer- but we've all become stretched so thin that work-life balance is a joke.

Update: Mission accomplished. No longer feel ignored. Just talked with chair. Will talk with dean next week.


  1. Based on what you described, I'm not sure what else you can do. Your institution's staffing policies strike me as a bit odd if you're so overburdened (I teach 4+/4+ and am tenured, so I know overburdened very well). Does your campus have an AAUP chapter or rep?

  2. Sounds like you HAVE to escalate the asking for help as your chair isn't doing anything detectable/// good luck!

    Do you have any sort of part-time option open to you?

  3. Hi PUI Prof. I am in a similar situation as you and have commented here before. I'm so sorry to hear that you're in such a bad place. I felt very similarly about a year ago -- every day there were a lot of tears, and every day I just wanted to quit. I just could not take it all anymore.

    It does get better as the kids get older. Mine are 5 and nearly 3 now, and really things are manageable most days. It is still incredibly difficult to travel, and if anything disturbs our delicate balance (if the kids are sick, if I have car trouble, etc.), I still end up screaming, crying, and wanting to quit science. The frustrating and stressful feeling of having no back-up in these situations has not gone away yet. But, housework is more manageable, the kids are easier, and I am happy most days. I never would have imagined this a year ago.

    As to how you get through the horrid year until things get easier -- I don't have much advice. I took every day one at a time, did a lot of crying, did a lot of praying. Pretty much had a constant conversation that went something like this: "God, you gave me these two little boys to take care of, you made me smart enough to get through grad school and land a faculty position, please please please give me some strength to get through this and take good care of my kids and my job."

    I'm not telling you this to suggest that you shouldn't take a one-year contract, if it is offered. Things are still not easy. But they are much, much better.

    On a different note, my two-body situation will likely come to an end soon. After a big job search last year got both of us, I was recently offered a position at my husband's university. I was a little disappointed that my own university did not come up with anything for him. I had meant to post or email you earlier about this. I don't know if you will find it encouraging or not. I have to admit that when I was in the same place as you last year, I had very mixed feelings whenever anyone had their two-body problem solved. Happy for them but also a bit resentful. At one point (around the time Janus Prof solved her problem) I felt like everyone else on the blogs had either worked out their two-body problem or had left science altogether. I found this so depressing.

    Anyway, hang in there and bs kind to yourself.