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« This Week's Acquisitions | Main | Lettering »

November 04, 2007


Jonathan Dresner

The double-standard can actually be quite painful. It's true that my present institution makes it almost impossible to negotiate raises without outside offers. It's also true that applying elsewhere is widely seen as a gross lack of committment to the institution, even by faculty who admit that they themselves sometimes send out applications to desirable positions for the same reasons!


I've had similar discussions with graduate students who feel guilty about suddenly going to another school, feeling like they've 'let down' the people who accepted them and gave them stipends. To which I usually make two points, both applicable to the faculty case:

1. The department will survive without you. If your department will wither and die without your presence, that's the best reason to leave - it can't be particularly good.

2. The department didn't hire you as a personal favor. Somehow people get the unconscious impression (low self-esteem, perhaps?) that the department went out on a limb to hire you out of charity, or something. No, they brought you in to make themselves look better. If they can't provide a compelling atmosphere for you to stay, that's their fault.

Rohan Maitzen

Junior faculty should also be aware that what limited lateral mobility they have may completely evaporate once they pass the tenure barrier and get their first promotion, as there are very few openings in the middle ranks. Thus, unless you are a'superstar,' you will eventually realize that in order to move you have to change careers. The two-academic couple issue remains a big one given how controversial hiring remains. (At my institution, you can't leverage one without having, yes, an offer from somewhere else--so round and round we go.) I remember when I announced my engagement to my PhD advisors, one of them said immediately, "you must be prepared to live apart, then," which rather shocked me at the time (and still does, but for different reasons, as I'm much less naive now!). As for wanting to be close to your extended family, I was shocked at the nasty comment on the thread you linked to about "running home to mommy."

Too bad there couldn't be some kind of job swap system. :-) There must be someone out closer to my folks who would rather be out here, and we'd both do, not as well, but better if we were able to align our personal and professional lives, so our departments would gain rather than suffer.

Rohan Maitzen

That is, "how controversial *spousal* hirings remain"!


Thank you very much for this post. Just out of curiosity, what are the "old English rules governing Oxbridge fellows"? (asks the new North American.)


It used to be the case that a Fellow had to remain unmarried.

Young Prof.

I have the opposite problem of the two-academic couple: I'm single and living in a teeny tiny town with few dating prospects. Sorry, but I'm not going to be a sexual martyr to my department if I have the choice not to. I'm a young woman and times have changed since young bright women automatically married professors and followed them to their academic postings with no thought of their own careers. If the senior faculty can't understand that, that's their problem.

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