Monday, October 15, 2012

Dilemma redux

Wow, thanks for your input. All of it is appreciated.

A few more thoughts:

1. I make it seem like Hub would most certainly get the job if he applied. Not guaranteed. Especially if it was clear to his previous students (as an adjunct) that teaching wasn't his passion (they can always tell).
2. If Hub works as an adjunct, the "statement of faith" thing would be moot.
3. The department isn't sure they will fill the slot with someone full time (my thought: WHAT? NEVER GIVE UP FACULTY LINES VOLUNTARILY!)


  1. So, if I'm understanding this correctly, there is a good chance that your husband will be applying for an adjunct position? At which point the statement of faith is not relevant, but his teaching is. In this case, he'd be moving from a postdoc to an adjunct position. Can he go back to being research track in a few years if that type of position opens up? If he doesn't want to be a PI, and he doesn't want to teach, where does he see himself in 10 years? I'm sorry to be asking you questions that you guys are probably discussing in detail already.

    I have to echo many of the comments from the last post. You have sacrificed a lot for your family. You've talked about changing tracks for the benefit of the family (and yourself). I understand the need for making sure that one partner doesn't become bitter about the choices they made for the family, but.... If he is showing as much rigidity as you are portraying him to be, maybe the discussion needs to move away from the importance of careers to the importance of respect?

    I'm passing a lot of judgement for someone who only knows you from your blog, and who doesn't know your husband at all. I don't mean to be hurtful. I'm sorry if I am.

    1. Not hurt, and don't feel judged. I open myself up in this way to get unbiased feedback, as unbiased as one who only reads one side of the story can be...

      In any case, yes, it is something to think more in depth about, "rigidity". I actually wouldn't classify him as that since he's bowed to my career moves since we met. "I'm going overseas for my post-doc. Are you coming?" "I'm taking this faculty position. Are you still in?" And then we got married. And while this situation understandably creates tension in our marriage, I feel very respected by him. It's really more about what his training, personality and talents will allow.

  2. I also don't want to be hurtful, but I 100% agree with Barefoot Doctoral. You REALLY need to have a conversation about how to more equitably share the burden of making a two-body situation work. The longer you wait, the harder it'll be.

    Best of luck!

  3. I lived with a very similar situation (two body problem with two very young kids to care for) for five years. My take on this is that, if you would like to get your family together long-term, inevitably some compromises must be made. Now, you and Hub may not want your family together long-term, and if that works for you, that is okay. We thought about staying in our situation long-term, and I have a good colleague who was ~2 hrs from his wife for nearly 30 years, and they also had kids.

    If you do want to get together long-term, this dilemma covers two issues - should Hub apply for the job, and how should he handle the faith statement.

    I think Hub should apply for the job for multiple reasons. One, while I do believe compromises must be made to solve two-body problems, I don't mean that one spouse should pursue his or her dream job at the expense of the other. But one or both people may have to compromise on the specifics of the job, the type of institution, the fit within the dept, the geographic location, etc. IMHO, these types of compromises are not as big and scary as we make them out to be in our minds. For several years, I resisted pursuing a job at my husband's institution, for reasons like this -- it would involve less teaching (which I love), it would mean switching fields (abd hence no longer teaching the subject matter I love, and possibly not getting grad students trained for my type of research), and moving from small-town rural bliss to very crowded suburbs, which I was sure that I would hate. Well, I moved in August, and after a month or so, all those things mattered much less to me. Do I still hate the traffic and wish I was teaching more, and teaching stuff I love? Sure. But life here is pretty good, and having my husband under the same roof has been wonderful, and has helped those other concerns fade into the background.

    The other reason I think Hub should apply to the position, if you have the stomach for it, is that it will help you both get a sense of how things may work out on the long-term, and it will let you know exactly how much your dept values you. This can be painful. Last year, my husband interviewed for a position in my previous dept and ultimately did not get the job. We both had to come to the realization that my "dream job" was perhaps not as much if a dream job as I thought, if my colleagues were not willing to do this to retain me. We also had to face the fact that, as much as we both loved living in rural small town, a career for my husband was just not going to happen there. This made moving jobs much easier for me to accept.

    A separate question is how to handle the faith statement. That I have no clue. I would never suggest that Hub be insincere in his statement, but perhaps he can emphasize the values that he shares with your faith ( presumably there are some, or you wouldn't be together!), or even discuss how your faith has positively impacted your joint family life together. I am quite religious, and my husband is agnostic, but he will sincerely participate in my religious holidays, encourage the kids to do so, and even pray, because he knows it is important to me and I think sees it as important to our family life.

    Hope this helps. Not an easy situation by any means. You're an amazing woman -- hang in there and good luck with whatever this dilemma brings.

    1. Thank you so much for the time and thought you put into your answer.

  4. I don't envy you two and your decision.
    without knowing anything about your husband really, i'm confused that he doesn't want to teach and doesn't want to be PI. these seem like the most obvious career goals for a phd biologist, so i hope he has a good idea of what he does want to do!

  5. Anon 9:03 PM passes on some very wise advice!

  6. Nice, they require a faith statement from the regular
    faculty who have it pretty good, but not from the adjunct, who they're treating like sh*t. Good way to promote the faith. /sarcasm

    And the more you give details, the more it seems like this isn't the best for you and your family. Finding another position somewhere may be the best long term solution. Especially if you can get to a uni that does have research only positions. I know of a few where I work that were created because someone got a big grant or needed the expertise someone had and a position was created for that person. Is there something that your husband could do at a bigger lab with the expertise he has? Maybe he could approach some labs and see if this is a possibility?

    However, I can give some explanations and some examples with how I deal with my workplace (which is not the same as your situation since I don't have to deal directly with the administration.) Dealing with the faith statement is like dealing with other disliked/hated things at work - you look at what IS good about the situation. For example my uni does great outreach for neglected diseases, and the undergrads have to do some type of community service, both things I can say I support. And then there are things that you don't like but can live with. Like having to hear a prayer at beginnings of meetings and events - I don't have to partipate so while annoying I can live with it. There are some dealbreakers. There are some situations even where I work where I would quit rather than have to work like that. But it all depends on context.

    For example - I believe that all people deserve equal rights. Even the Catholic Church pays lip service to this, even if the their definition of "all" and "equal" aren't the same as mine (former president was involved in the Civil Rights Movement for example). And I can speak out if there are things I don't like without fear of getting fired (well mostly). Anther example - one of the tenured professors (in another dept) is trying to get approval for a GLBT group on campus. Yet another example - I don't like the fact they're suing the feds because they don't want to provide birth control (and if the Church hadn't gotten involved I believe my employer would have eventually just rolled over and provided it.) However I do support Planned Parenthood by using their services including getting my birth control through there.