kore_no_more (kore_no_more) wrote in loveandacademia,

At a Crossroads Concerning Academia (or, didn't they use to put gallows here?)

Just trying to title this topic gives me agita.  So I went with the door marked "Flippant," even though I'm actually wigging out quite badly.

I'm a young professor in the humanities.  The only thing I've ever really wanted to do is to be a professor.  Ever since I hit college and realized that there was a profession where you could talk to 100+ people at a time about books, I've been pretty single-minded.  I started teaching before I was 20, published my first paper at 21, edited journals in grad. school, etc., etc., and I got a tenure-track job straight out of the gate.  My university is on the other side of the country from my friends and family, I'm not in love with the area (I, uh, actually kind of hate it), and I'm at a teaching institution that doesn't give me too much time for my own work, but for a first step, it isn't too bad.  I'd always planned to slowly work my way up the academic ladder - a few years of working my tuchis off in the boonies, and then a gradual slide towards a school that would, a) allow me more time for research, and b) permit a closer geographical proximity to home.  Basically, my present doesn't thrill me, but I dream of a rosy future.

But, here's the thing ... six months after I moved out here with my husband, he was offered his Dream Job.  It's a shift from what he was doing when we met - he started out as a fellow academic - but it utilizes his skills, challenges him and satisfies him, and, as a bonus, provides him with a very generous salary that's literally twice what he made before, and three times my current salary.  The downside was that the branch of the company that offered him the spot was 1500 miles away from where we live, but given that the Dream Job is in a field that involves a lot of travel anyway, and that they promised him that they'd accommodate our situation, fly him back on weekends, etc., it seemed doable - he just had to promise not to transfer away from them at the first opportunity, and to give them at least two years.

It's been one year, and they just gave him what amounts to an ultimatum: move to the city that houses his home office, or transfer to the city where I work, but do something, as, given the new economic climate, while they're very pleased with his work, they don't think that the long-distance thing is working out.  This would be great, except that their office in the city where I work doesn't do anything that's even vaguely related to what my husband does.  However, an office that's basically in the city where I grew up does ....


So, at first glance it looked like we have three options ... except that it turned out that the office that's in the city where I work isn't accepting any transfers, and we'd both rather gnaw out our own livers than to commit to living in the city that houses his current home office permanently.  So, really, it leaves two options, which are less related to "where we transfer"  then to "what we - or rather, I - do."  I can stay at my job, where the only thing that I really enjoy is the actual teaching - not much time for research, no pleasure in the environment - now with a true long-distance relationship, and try doing the market again, with no guarantees, given that the market is currently made of poo, and hope, hope, hope that eventually I can land a spot in the city where he'll be working, where my family and my friends currently reside.  Or, I can quit my tenure-track job, move with him, and hope that the black mark of leaving a tenure-track job won't automatically negate my odds of ever finding work in academia again.  If it does, I could stay home for a few years to have kids and focus on my own research, adjunct occasionally, and either hope that I can somehow claw my way back into academia, or find something else that will make me happy.

So why the hell am I spewing teal deer at you?  Well, because I could really do with some practical advice from people who've been in similar situations, or who know what kind of an effect this might have on my CV, or who are just generically and generally wise.  I really feel like I'm being made to choose between misery in the immediate present for the slim chance of having exactly the life I planned in the future  vs. ten years of probable happiness and a big question-mark as to what comes after. 



crossposted to academics_anon 
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