I’ve seen a lot written and discussed about the so-called “two body problem”, as universities take on the challenge of dual career couples coming into a new position. It’s a particularly important issue in my field, as the majority of married women in it are married to men in the field. The problem is that I’m not one of them, as I married someone who’s career is outside of academia.
I’ve been writing recently about the different challenges I’m facing as I’m preparing to make the post doc to faculty transition (hopefully!), and this is a challenge that I rarely see or hear discussed. My spouse’s career is starting to take off at the same time that mine is, and I’m worried that a cross-country (or out of country) move will significantly affect his work. We’re going to have to make some significant and hard decisions if my current batch of applications returns with interviews and offers. Who’s career takes precedent? Which ever choice we make, how does the other start over again? If I stay in academia, what resources are available to help my non-academic spouse get settled in a new location where we don’t know anyone outside of the university? I gladly welcome any of your thoughts and experiences on these questions in the comments.
The academic career process leaves me frustrated with what I think is a big underlying issue that pushes many qualified and talented people out of the field: we’re expected to move far too often. You’re expected to go to grad school at a different location than undergrad. It’s looked down if you do your post doc where you did your grad research. The lack of job security as a post doc is made worse by institutions wanting to bring in outside talent instead of finding a space for the post docs that they’ve trained. It’s another instance of loving the work, but hating the culture of academia.