Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Would you "Tiger Mom" to save $9000?

Boy was born two weeks after the cutoff deadline for kindergarten. So next fall he will be 5 minus two weeks, and therefore ineligible to enter kindergarten. The following year, when I return from sabbatical, he will be 6 minus two weeks, and can start school as one of the oldest in his class. We were content with this arrangement until we realized that the cost of putting Boy in daycare in Suburb will be about $9000 for the length of my sabbatical. If we can get him into the public Kindergarten by petition, the cost will be $0. However, as expected, there are certain skills he needs to master before he can be considered for a special waiver. He has a lot of those skills already, but we will need to be a bit more directive in his play for the next 9 months to make sure he has ALL of the skills. So my new role is Homeschooling Preschool Mom (evenings and weekends), a la Tiger Mom Amy Chua. I exaggerate of course. If he's not ready, we won't do it. I have read Malcom Gladwell, too. I know the older kids get more attention in Kindergarten, and end up doing better. He seems to be on track, though, and I think, why not?? Your thoughts?

Thanks for neglecting my e-mail

Because of the guilt associated with not applying to the position near my Dad, I took one last stab to see if it was truly not to be (I put my fleece out). I composed a brief and polite e-mail listing my qualifications, why I want to apply, and asking whether they would consider hiring at a position other than at Assistant Professor. This was spurred by a suggestion by nicoleandmaggie in the comments of the original post.

Well, It's been a week and a half and I have heard nothing. Moreover, I took a closer look at the faculty and their qualifications. I could probably be happy there, but my present institution boasts better faculty credentials. Well, good. That's peace-giving.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Dilemma 2 Redux- Unhelpful advice

Still chicken to apply for two jobs together near my Dad (see here), I came up with the suggestion that Hub ask his "boss" whether he thought Hub was ready to move on. This was meant to be a way to gain entry to the subject of applying. Hub approached his PI who then waxed at length about the future of the project, including Hub at every stage and in the end said "I and Colleague (my sabbatical host) have been really impressed with PUI Prof. We're hoping to expand our program and looking to add new people, especially at the undergraduate level. She could use her sabbatical to really get her foot in the door here."

Semi-wrong non-answer, Boss! Yes, we want to solve the Two-Body Problem. Being together there would do that (insert me whining about life in soulless suburb in a glorified instructor position, still far from family).  I would consider it, especially since it's all about compromise, right?

But that sheds no light on what to do right now. I talk to my Dad every night on the phone, and it is abundantly clear that he would like to have me around, nearly begging for me to come home at Thanksgiving- two weeks after I was there last. UGH. I love him so much, I do want to. But...

Sunday, November 4, 2012

New Dilemma; Need your advice

I mentioned in a recent post that a position may open at my institution that Hub could qualify for, with some caveats. I have heard nothing from the department members in question regarding a search, so that issue has settled down a bit. Moreover, I just got a a letter in my box that I have been approved for a sabbatical next year (it was competitive). HOORAY! We will be together next year, but with some financial consequences.

Here's the new development: my Dad in hometown (very far away) just had a triple bypass. He has recently lost his wife and is alone at home. In fact, I am writing from his kitchen table because I flew here to be with him for a few days. There are sibs around, but I don't like relying on them for his care. I feel he is at a crossroads with his health, where he could start a long-term decline, or could turn around.

There is a position being advertised at Hometown U that would be a lateral move for me. They advertised for an assistant tenure-track prof in my specialty. I'm assuming I could negotiate a higher position. In addition, there is a job at Nearby R01 for which Hub may qualify. Making his application deadline would be heroic, as he has something VERY BIG project-wise right beforehand that he is working on. And for those in the know, yes, Hub did agree without fuss to apply for an assistant prof/PI slot.

The timing is really bad career-wise to apply for those jobs. I would have just gotten my sabbatical, and would have to skip the year. Hub will be finishing a huge project next year, a four-year long project that he headed. Leaving just as it was being published/ brought to market/ going live/ would be very bad for the project. We would both have to ask for letters of reccomendation from our current colleagues, making it obvious we were trying to leave. Thing is, we aren't trying to leave. We would ONLY take these positions if we both got the jobs, and my feeling is that it's a longshot. Moreover, I'm pretty happy in my current position and very happy with the institutional culture, so its hard to imagine a change that would be good, career-wise. Yet, we could be together and near Dad and family in a less desirable, but still acceptable, place. Hub has said he really wants to end up near family.

So do we apply? What do we say to our colleagues? We're going to play the lottery and ask you for a letter of reccommendation for a position we most likely won't get- don't worry, we aren't trying to leave? But if the stars do align, we're leaving? Sorry, sabbatical host, I'm not coming to work in your lab after all. Dear current empoyer, can I take a leave of absence for two years to take another position to be with my Dad for a while, then come back if I don't like it? It all sounds ridiculous. Or is it ridiculous not to apply because the timing is bad, despite being good family-wise, and its a long-shot chance to solve the two body problem.