Monday, June 25, 2012

(Almost) Real-World 2-Body Problems

I know it's been a month. It's been a busy month. And no, my diss revisions are not done yet. It's hard to get motivated on something that you know no one will read, including your committee. I'm hoping to start writing fiction soon but refuse to start until I finish the last paragraph of my revisions. Seriously, there's only a paragraph and some citations left.

So what busy things have been happening? My lease was up at the end of May, so I had to move out. I moved into my parents garage. Well, my stuff moved into the garage. I moved into the basement. It's not ideal but at least it's rent free. My parents have their moments of being pretty awesome. They're housing me, being a bed & breakfast for my brother until he finds a place in a new city, and still doubling (tripling?) as a daycare for my sister & nephew. See? Awesome!

And why am I in my parents' house and not with my boyfriend? BF has an actual career already. He needs to do one more year of residency before he gets certified and an actual full time, well-paid gig. Since I wasn't that far down my career path, I decided to wait until he knew what city he'd be heading to before I looked for a job. Well, he got a good offer last week and we now have a destination! This has led me to two very different problems:

1) I need to find a non-academic job in New City. I'm looking at non-traditional jobs at universities and for positions at large companies. These are not the only places for Ph.D.'s to get non-aca jobs - I need to stress that. That's where I'm looking at the moment because these are easier to find from a distance. And I have found some good possibilities.

But the more I look at non-aca jobs, the more people keep trying to get me to look for adjunct gigs. These are the same people who have been supportive so far about my leaving academia. However, now that reality is setting in, people just can't seem to get past the "only job a Ph.D. can do is teach" mentality. They usually couch this as "it'll be an income for awhile". Everyone seems to think that I can make a little money adjuncting. Let me stress "little money" here. I've looked up the schools in this area on The Adjunct Project and they pay about $2500/class. For the math-phobic out there, I'll crunch the numbers for you. That's $20k/year for a 4/4 teaching load. And that's assuming I can get 4 classes at one or a combination of universities. No benefits, by the way. It's aggravating.

2) I never pictured myself as a trailing significant other. This may seem like a minute problem compared to the first one but I think it's about equal. I always thought of myself as an independent woman who wouldn't give up her career and follow a man. Well, I gave up the career I was working on for a mountain of other reasons unrelated to my romantic relationship. And now I found myself following a man who is working, sometimes single-mindedly, on his career and working around that. I am glad he's focusing on options near New City, which wasn't hit as hard by the recession and has lots of possibilities. It's still hard to put my entire life on hold while he made a decision and now have to adjust to that. To be honest, I didn't think this would be this difficult to deal with. It's a lot of identity changes in one shot. I just keep trying to tell myself that this is a practical decision and in no way makes me any less awesome.

To top it all off, I seem to be the one who has to find the new place in New City for me and boyfriend commuting to two different cities and two dogs. BF doesn't seem to understand how much that is going to cost and that he may have to pick up the rent on his own paycheck for the first month or two, depending on when I get a new job and start getting paid. Oh the joys of real-world two-body problems! If he had been the trailing significant other, I could be the wage-earner and he could deal with these financial and logistic issues. Here's another place those Ph.D. skills come in. There's some serious project management skills needed to accomplish all this!

So that's what's eating up my time. I'll blog again as interesting things happen. Meanwhile, check out what's happening in other post-academics' lives through the links on the right.