Sunday, April 09, 2006

to there and back again

I’m pretty sure I’ll get the job at JARU, the department chair practically pleaded with me to wait two weeks ‘til the other candidates had come to campus (there’s a formal process, you know). They must think I have loads of other offers on my plate. But if I had loads of other offers, I can’t imagine that I’d accept JARU’s offer. In fact, I think I will turn their offer down in favor of post-doc status and the uncertainty of another job hunt.

It’s not that the people were unpleasant, on the contrary they lived up to the fabled Midwestern “nice.” And the starting salary would be acceptable. The course load would be interesting and I’d potentially have some latitude to shape the program. But I’d be spending ~15 hours per week in the classroom (quite high for the sciences), have an office smaller and dingier than my current cubicle, have no graduate program (and none likely in the future), have essentially no startup funding, no research facilities (although the teaching facilities were better than expected), and no time or expectation for research. And despite JARU’s ideal location near the family, the job conditions are a deal-breaker for me. Without the ability to maintain some semblance of a research program, I probably wouldn’t be able to move to a different uni. So if I took the job now, it would be my job 30 years from now. And I’m not ready to make that decision. Maybe if I had a kid it would be different. But I don’t.

Speaking of kids, I had a lovely visit with Writer Chica. She’s got her hands full with her two little ones, but it was such a pleasure to see Toddler and meet Chicita. Toddler’s growing up so fast…talking and running around, and Chicita is so tiny and smiley. With the help of Chica’s dear husband, I managed to sneak Chica away for a pedicure…and she was a pedicure virgin. It was actually more fun to watch her experience the delights and tickles of her pedicure than it was to get my own. And I really enjoy my pedicures. Of course, my Got the Blues for Red is an awesome color; I can’t wait for sandal weather.

I spent the weekend in hometown visiting the family. Got to see the tremendous work my mom’s been doing in the early days of her retirement and to see her vision for the next few years of activity. It’s pretty cool stuff…I wish I could tell you more. Brother and I got a bit of a chance to talk before he rushed off to a dance with his girlfriend, and I had the usual perfunctory though pleasant lunch with my father and his wife. After carefully watching my food intake for weeks, my mom insisted on taking me to a soda shop for desert on Saturday. I think my ice cream sundae probably undid substantial effort. It was yummy, but I don’t crave ice cream like I used to. Dark chocolate, on the other hand, is always on my mind.

Whenever I arrive in PNW airport I feel like I am returning to the land of my people. (I don’t feel this way when I enter home state). Here I can get a fancy coffee-type drink at 7 pm and no one looks at me funny. The wireless internet is free and the passengers are often clad in fleece and raincoats. People are friendly and polite. The air smells of moisture. And I am home. Any wonder I am not ready to leave?

8 comments:

Volcano Girl said...

Hi ScienceWoman,

I am surprised by your stong negative reponse to the small teaching college. I remember a conversation with you a long time ago when you said you and your husband's goal was to settle within 1-4 hour drive of family. How does he feel about the perspective job?

Asking/forcing my life partner to move with me as I followed my degree and postdoc has been challenging for our relationship. We both suffer from culture shock from moving to a big east coast city after the PNW. After 4 months, he has found a good job as a librarian at a public library is finally finding his groove. We still talk fondly of our "old life" with tall trees, bicycle commuting, and vinyards. We sincerely hope that our next move will be to some place beautiful and for good.

You have told me that your husband is not happy in the PNW and misses his people in the midwest. How much input does he have in your career path?

I do wish you the best, where ever you end up.
Take care,
Volcano Girl

Lisa said...

I was really suprised that you didn't jump at the chance to move closer to your family, and I totally understand that you have worked way too hard to give up on your research goals (nobody puts baby in a classroom!). How's the BusinessMan reacting to your decision?

angiebean said...

Hey. Don't turn down the offer so quickly. Would it be possible for you to do research over the summer? If not in your lab at your school maybe at another school nearby. Many professors would be willing to take on someone for repeated summers. Also, have you thought about incorporating your reaseach into your classes? It may take some creativity but it is do-able.

Writer Chica said...

Knowing you and knowing the university, your decision makes sense to me.

You write so passionately about the PNW. Listen to that feeling. It means something. I hope that whenever you need to move you can find a place that feels similar to you.

ScienceWoman said...

Hi Girls, Thanks for your opinions and support. Reading your comments I can see why you are surprised at my decision and I think I have a bit more explaining to do. And I will try do so in the next few days as more pieces start to fall into place (I hope). But for now, any more reactions are welcome.

geobabe said...

glad you stuck to your guns. you're one of the smartest people i know, so you won't have to settle for less. it's inspiring to know someone who knows exactly what they want, instead of blundering through life blindly, trying to figure out what they want to be when they grow up. :)

cheers

PurpleDaisy said...

Whenever I arrive in PNW airport I feel like I am returning to the land of my people. (I don’t feel this way when I enter home state). Here I can get a fancy coffee-type drink at 7 pm and no one looks at me funny. The wireless internet is free and the passengers are often clad in fleece and raincoats. People are friendly and polite. The air smells of moisture. And I am home. Any wonder I am not ready to leave?


Ahhhh, *sigh*. Your post reminds me of home. I'm currently living out of my Home State for graduate school. I dearly miss the Home State, which is in the NW. The smell of moisture and the sight of late-night coffee drinkers...*sigh*

:)

Mr Man said...

Though I realy do desperatly want to move back to the midwest, I do know that this JARU is not a good fit for her at this time.

Besides I just started a job that I think I will like.