Post # 1
I would like to get some perspective from the hive….see, my Fiance and I are both academics. He is working on his PhD, and I just got my PhD last August. In our field, PhD jobs are few are far between and very hard to come by. FI started his PhD in VA while I was finishing up my PhD in FL, and the long distance thing sucked. A LOT. So, when I was offered an instructor position teaching at FI’s school, our first thought was “Great!” However, now that I have been teaching for a few months, thing are not so great anymore. I make crap money and don’t have benefits. Also, non-tenured instructors are considered “second class” citizens in the academic world (at least in the sciences). I have been really, really bummed out the past few weeks and I think it is the job situation. (It really sucks to know that I owe 5 times as much in grad student loans than my annual income!).
Many married academics in our field usually end up living apart for a while while both work their careers. Usually, after ~5-years-ish, either they end up divorced or one of them takes a “different” job so they can live together. Occasionally, someone can negotiate a spousal hire situation. When people in my field hear that I live with my Fiance and I am working at this “second class” job, I tend to get looked down upon, and often get told “horror” stories about wives who took second class jobs and eventually end up divorced anyways AND with a ruined career.
Any advice from the hive? (I apologize, I am not sure that this falls under wedding related, but it IS emotional). Should I try to suck it up, look to the positive and keep working here? Or should I start applying for tenure-track jobs and just accept that we will have to do the distance thing for a few more years (including the rest of our engagement and early marriage years)? Did anyone else have to make this kind of decision? Any advice is appreciated! Thanks!
Post # 3
This is so tough. I think that your marriage is probably going to suffer in the end if you stay in this ‘second class’ job. Are there any other options that you have in the area? Or is there an area with a larger amount of academic jobs so you can both have good jobs? I don’t think that I could ever live apart from my husband for years though. Good luck with whatever you decide.
Post # 4
I don’t think I could answer that. Do you think you’d hold this against your Fiance if you stayed with him? Do you think your relationship would hurt worse if you moved away? It’s tough and I’m glad I’m not in your situation. My advice is to try to find someone in a similar situation to buddy up with in the meantime, just to have someone to vent to. I think you should keep looking at positions around there, see if you could commute?
EDIT: My future SIL and BIL were in a long distance relationship for about a year and a half while he finished his engineering degree in Indiana and she started her master’s program in Arizona. He ended up out there after he graduated. They made it work. He joined the National Guard when he moved out there and then was deployed for 18 months and he’s gearing up for another 18 mo deployment. They’ve made it work.
Post # 5
A co-worker of mine has a daugher/son-in-law who are in a similar situation, and it seems tough. I’m not sure what to suggest. My only tidbit regarding LD relationships is that they tend to be a lot easier to handle when there is an ‘end date’. I imagine putting up with a crappy job is also easier when therei s an end date.
Could you find another job and your Fiance move once he graduates? Or can you put up with the crappy job, but both start looking elsewhere once he’s done?
Post # 6
That is so tough. I can relate because I want to go to graduate school, but it took a long time for Fiance to come around to the idea with moving, and I almost didn’t go because of it. I think you have your answer, and this is how I arrived at mine — we need to be happy with our own lives, ourselves, independent of another person, or we’ll never be completely happy. If you can be happy in the “second class” job, then stay for him. But you’re obviously not. Just like I tried to get a Master’s and stop there so I wouldn’t have to move away, but it wasn’t enough so now I’ve appleid to PhD programs because I know I need to go on to be happy with myself. You have your Fiance there with you and you know something is still missing. It’s crappy, but you can’t help that. Long distance sucks, too, but at least you’ll know it has an expiration date when you will be together again. If you stay in the crappy job, you have to wait and hope you can get something else later. If you have a job opportunity now, I’d take it, but it’s not an easy decision, and I wish the two of you luck as you figure it out.
Post # 7
ugh this is such a difficult decision to make. i voted to stay with your Fiance because that’s what i would do, but honestly this is one decision you’ll really have to make for yourself. Fiance and i have discussed this before, and have said that if either of us ever gets a dream job offer in another location, we would follow one another. one of my closest friends is moving across the country next month because her Fiance lost his job in NY and then got offered a dream job in SF. on the other hand, that’s not for everyone. but you mentioned that when you did long distance it really sucked. we’ve never had to do that but i imagine i wouldn’t do well at all.
my parents were confronted with this….they got engaged in college, and applied to grad schools all over the country, figuring they would both get into school in at least one city. they moved to dc, my dad got his degree and started working while my mom finished her PhD. she taught at that university for a bit because it was a job in the right city, and meanwhile she got pregnant, her parents both passed away young and unexpectedly, and she wound up giving up her career. i’ve asked her a million times if she regretted it but she felt that when push came to shove, her family was more important to her than her career. i think seeing both of her parents die very young really made her realize that being with my dad was more important than any job she could get.
don’t know if any of that helps. it’s a sucky situation really, but i hope you find your happiness….either from being able to see your Fiance every day, or from finding fulfillment from your job. don’t let other people’s raised eyebrows dictate your decision….choosing family over career has become so “un-PC” for lack of a better term, but “women’s liberation” or gender equality or whatever you want to call it doesn’t mean that you should choose career over family, it simply means that you have a choice.
Post # 8
I understand how hard the world of academia is (I tried getting a college teaching gig for several years). It’s definitely harder on women than it is on men. Although, I got to study with an AMAZING professor who stayed at my undergrad when he could have been teaching at Harvard because his wife had a job there.
Fiance and I are going to be apart for several months next year because of our situation. I went back to law school, and he decided to go back to school a semester after I started. When I was accepted to law school, I gave him the option of staying behind back home. He chose to come with me, even though he knew what kind of commitment that would take. We weren’t engaged back then.
He won’t finish until next December, but I’m moving to Colorado to take the bar exam and hopefully find a job in July. We decided that’s where we want to live, and I’m going to go and get started. He will join me later. I’m already dreading the months we will be apart. I can’t let my career be on hold for very long because I have a ton of student loans to pay back.
You just have to ask yourself some hard questions: is sacrificing your career worth it? Is being without him worth it? What will make you happiest in the long run? Can your relationship handle that kind of separation?
You don’t have to choose between a career and a relationship. You just have to determine your priorities. What is most important to you? Don’t worry about others viewing your job as second class (which it absolutely is not). Worry about what will make you happy. Successful women have careers and families, and make it work all the time (take for example the judge I work for…she’s 45, a lifetime appointed judge, and is an amazing mother and wife).
No one can make your decision for you. But, best of luck in your decision-making process!
Post # 9
Thanks everyone for the words of advice! I find it funny, but not surprising, that the poll was almost 50/50 with staying vs. going. I had a nice hour-long conversation with my New Zealand Bridesmaid or Best Man (sorry for the phone bill, Soph!) and felt much better about the whole situation after talking to her – there is a reason she is one of my close friends (even if she does live 1/2 a world away!). I think I am going to stick it out for a “while.” I am going to spend the next few months concentrating on making the best of it – try volunteering at the SPCA, etc. FI and I are going to set a date together (say…next Jan/Feb) and if things are not better for me by then, I will actively start looking for more satisfying jobs (both academic and non-academic) outside of the area. We shall see…..
Again, I appreciate the advice!