Should I change my job and my country of residence?
August 1, 2014 12:12 AM Subscribe
I am facing a huge question that I don't know how to navigate and don't feel like I can talk to anyone about. The short story is that I have a precarious-feeling academic job in the Midwestern U.S. and applied for a job in an English-speaking country in the Southern Hemisphere. Today, I found out that I am on the short list for the job. And now I'm just not sure what to do.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (16 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
First, about my current life and current job. I live in a Midwestern town comfortably near to extended family with my wife and two-year-old son. (We really like our extended families on both sides, and we are close enough to see them regularly but not so close that they just drop by.) I am a junior, tenure-track academic, and I basically like my job. But things have become seriously, badly, dysfunctionally politically charged in my department. So much so that I am unsure of being tenured in a couple of years even though it should be an easy case. Complicating matters is the fact that my wife is also an academic. We have not been able to satisfactorily solve the two-body problem in our current location, but she has *something* and has just started to feel sort of good about where we're at.
Second, about the new stuff. I have a good friend who lives in the country we would be going -- not in the same town but close enough. The department would be, I think, a large step up in quality, and in virtue of the way universities work there, I would have tenure even as a junior faculty member. Plus, it will probably pay a little bit more, after adjusting for cost of living. I really like the look and feel of the country and the town. It would be life-altering, which is maybe a good thing in and of itself.
Third, my questions. So many questions, really. And it's hard to know where to start. The big one, of course, is whether my family should move if I get an offer. And how should my wife and I make our decision? Importantly, what concrete things can I do to make her a real part of the decision-making, to be fair, to be concerned with her interests, and yet not give up on my own?
Some smaller questions include whether I should tell my current institution that I am on the shortlist somewhere, and what, if anything, should I be trying to negotiate on this end, insofar as staying put definitely has advantages? Is there any chance of using this to get something permanent and meaningful for my wife? Would asking for such a thing even be a good idea? Would getting a job offer be a way to get tenure at my current institution? Or at least get them to make a fast review of my tenure case? How open and up front should I be with the new place? I think it's true that I would take an offer very seriously. But I couldn't promise that I would accept.
And how do I go about telling my parents, my wife's parents, my grandparents, ... ?? How can I tell them that we might be moving to the other side of the world for maybe the rest of our lives and that they will go from seeing us every other week to seeing us once a year at most? In some ways, it feels like moving to the moon. And finally, what do I need to ask and think about that I am not asking and (probably) not thinking about? What have I left out of account?