Monday, January 14, 2013

Job hunt vivisection

We went out to lunch on Saturday with two other couples with kids. There was big news to be shared all around. One family just found out they were expecting a girl. We'd just found out that we were closer to solving our 2 body problem. As we talked about the news in our lives, someone laughed at me for saying my new job (let me call it University C) is in the same metro area as University E. "How very American." Well, yes.

To be fair, there are many faculty at both Univeristy C and E live in Large City and commute out to work, though they would both be commuting close to an hour in different directions. Both my partner and I have thought about living in Large City, I have a general part of it that I've dreamed of living in ever since my partner got this position. We've gone back and forth on this matter some, and I think we've decided: not yet. My dream of stamping SOLVED on a page of this blog is yet to be realized.

My end date at University F has been determined. They've all been very nice about it. I didn't tell anyone at work about this job search while it was underway, and after I got this position, I was worried about hard feelings. I've always been advised to only leave a post doc for a clearly large step in academic progression, so from post doc to TT, or from SSE State to Harvard. This is much more of a lateral move in terms of my carreer, but everyone seemed to understand that it makes my family life much easier, and are happy for me.

Something I didn't want to talk about on this blog, or anywhere really, is that the faculty in my partner's department have been trying to engage in negotiations to get me hired at University E. There was an informal interview when I first moved here that was a bit bizarre. The department in my subject here is very weak, and does little of what I do. On the other hand, there were some technical reasons why they may want me anyway. Last week, I found out that the technical reasons have been dealt with in a way that doesn't involve my hiring, and I don't know how I feel about that. How does one weigh a post-doc at a very good department versus a TT position at a very weak school that doesn't require us to move for the forseeable future? Even without the 2 body problem, it is a tough decision.

My future PI is being very generous and has offered that I keep looking for permanent jobs. There is some tea leaf reading predicting that I will have a hard time on the market near by next year and possibly the year after that. So, the job hunt isn't over, and thus this post is a vivisection. I've found an exciting TT position at a university only slightly further away from our current home than University C, thought I'm having a hard time getting my hopes up. University E thinks it might have a general position open in June that I should apply for.

European universities tend to make hiring decisions much later in the academic year than American Universities do. Thus far, I have always applied on the US schedule, and thus missed my opportunities to a TT position anywhere. I'm risk averse enough about this decision that I haven't felt comfortable passing up good post doc opportunities in to hold out for a TT position that may or may not be advertised several months down the line. I had come to this realization while I was waiting to hear the results of this interview, I even had a blog post drafted on the issue .... I am very happy that I still have the chance to apply for the permanent positions that have not been advertised yet.

This has all left me feeling a bit unsettled. I could not stomach my partner looking at fun tourist attractions near University C. The job search continues, but in the best way possible, if such a thing exists. The badness of my two body problem has been significantly reduced, and there may still be a chance for that solved stamp to go up.

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