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(Forever a Science)   Old and busted: The two body problem as it pertains to planets. New hotness: The two body problem as it pertains to relationships in academia   (mahalonottrash.blogspot.com) divider line 18
    More: Sad, planets, long-distance relationship, postdocs, dating service, gender differences, astronomy, interpersonal relationship  
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2073 clicks; posted to Geek » on 05 Feb 2013 at 11:25 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-02-05 11:10:30 AM
Hardly "new hotness".

Having just gone through the whole job search thing (and trying to coordinate the two-body problem), it occurred to me why this is such a strange idea to people outside the academic work force.

If you're not academic, did you do a nationwide search for a job when the time came? If you had the "second body" to consider, did that limit your search? Did you ever think "I need to find a job in X city"?

Academics don't have that luxury. In most fields, it's considered a bad career move to stay at an institution when climbing the educational ladder -- you shouldn't attend the same school for grad school as undergrad, or for your postdoc as your grad school, or get a assistant professor position at your postdoc institution. By the end of it, you should be able to establish yourself as an academic independent of your previous advisors. This means you're going to have to move -- most likely across state lines. At the very least, you should assume that if your current job is in X city, your next job will not be in X city. You MUST relocate when accepting a new job.

It's very easy to solve the two body problem when relocation is not an issue or is negotiable within the relationship, and the idea of non-negotiable relocation is often a foreign concept to those outside the academic field.
 
2013-02-05 11:40:46 AM
Pfft, two-body problem.  The three-body problem is a lot more interesting.
 
2013-02-05 11:41:40 AM
Ah, but what are the implications for the Hairy Ball theorum?
 
2013-02-05 11:50:35 AM
This movie covered it:

triblocal.com
 
2013-02-05 12:06:26 PM

Donnchadha: Academics don't have that luxury. In most fields, it's considered a bad career move to stay at an institution when climbing the educational ladder -- you shouldn't attend the same school for grad school as undergrad, or for your postdoc as your grad school, or get a assistant professor position at your postdoc institution. By the end of it, you should be able to establish yourself as an academic independent of your previous advisors. This means you're going to have to move -- most likely across state lines. At the very least, you should assume that if your current job is in X city, your next job will not be in X city. You MUST relocate when accepting a new job.


Which is really, really frustrating, because I really, really have fallen in love with my grad school institution. Or, rather, the area surrounding it.

Though, there are a number of nanophysics opportunities in the area, and a school about 30minutes away is starting to ramp up and trying to build up their STEM department, so... perhaps they will need a physics professor. Fingers crossed.
 
2013-02-05 12:10:12 PM
As someone who has solved it once and now trying to solve it again, I'm getting a kick...

The difference between academic hiring vs traditional hiring is that there is typically only one major university offering research-class professorships in a location, whereas in business and industry, there is a large likelihood that there is an employer in your professional niche in most metropolitan areas.   So while it would be unreasonable if I the insurance agent demanded that State Farm hire my wife, the CPA, if I took a position with them in Columbia, MO, it's pretty much the only option that we both work at Mizzou if we're both (research-type)academics and one of us is offered a job there.
 
2013-02-05 12:11:13 PM

Felgraf: Which is really, really frustrating, because I really, really have fallen in love with my grad school institution. Or, rather, the area surrounding it.


I did the same thing with my postdoc. I would love to move back to that city/state, but at the same time I was burnt out and in desperate need of a new job by the end of it. Unfortunately, there really aren't any other good schools in that area... it's the one I was at or tiny liberal arts with no research facilities at all.
 
2013-02-05 01:12:00 PM
I know it's not always possible, but a good rule of thumb as an academic is to steer clear of other academics for romantic entanglements. Marry a professional with a portable skill, It know it's a cold blooded way to look at it, but otherwise you're setting yourself up for a lot of problems.
 
2013-02-05 01:14:19 PM
Definitely not a new hotness, but certainly an issue.  It's really not just a problem for academics, either, but also people who work in specialized fields.  I work in vaccine R&D; I can't just roll into any given city and get another job doing that.  Because I have a biology degree, there are plenty of companies that I could go work for, but most of them want specific experience I won't have, which means I'm highly likely to only be considered for entry level positions.

On the other hand, my wife is a teacher, so at least we have that going for us.
 
2013-02-05 01:31:58 PM

Donnchadha: I did the same thing with my postdoc. I would love to move back to that city/state, but at the same time I was burnt out and in desperate need of a new job by the end of it. Unfortunately, there really aren't any other good schools in that area... it's the one I was at or tiny liberal arts with no research facilities at all.


I'd actually be OK with little in the way of research facilities, if only because I've discovered I'm apparently *really good* at teaching, and can sort of figure out the flaws in some teacher's methods pretty quickly?

/For instance, you need to teach intro physics to Engineers differently than you would to physicists, just like you teach mathematics slightly differently to physicisicists than to mathematicians. In an intro physics class, I don't *need* a 10 page proof for why spherical integration is r^2 sin(theta) dr dtheta dphi. Indeed, it's not necessarily even *helpful*. The 'cheaty' explanation of 'shrink this down really small, and it's approximately a cube, with one side of dr, one side of r sin(theta) dphi, and one side r dtheta' suffices for intro physics.
 
2013-02-05 02:07:54 PM

Felgraf: Donnchadha: I did the same thing with my postdoc. I would love to move back to that city/state, but at the same time I was burnt out and in desperate need of a new job by the end of it. Unfortunately, there really aren't any other good schools in that area... it's the one I was at or tiny liberal arts with no research facilities at all.

I'd actually be OK with little in the way of research facilities, if only because I've discovered I'm apparently *really good* at teaching, and can sort of figure out the flaws in some teacher's methods pretty quickly?

/For instance, you need to teach intro physics to Engineers differently than you would to physicists, just like you teach mathematics slightly differently to physicisicists than to mathematicians. In an intro physics class, I don't *need* a 10 page proof for why spherical integration is r^2 sin(theta) dr dtheta dphi. Indeed, it's not necessarily even *helpful*. The 'cheaty' explanation of 'shrink this down really small, and it's approximately a cube, with one side of dr, one side of r sin(theta) dphi, and one side r dtheta' suffices for intro physics.


Step one -- assume a spherical cow...

I enjoy teaching too, so my current job is at a PUI that does have some research facilities -- nowhere near an R1 level though. However, the other other schools in my old locale were teaching ONLY. You could research new teaching methods or maybe (maybe...) develop a new lab -- and then it was what you could do with antiquated technology.
 
2013-02-05 02:13:45 PM
Donnchadha:  the idea of non-negotiable relocation is often a foreign concept to those outside the academic field.

Or those in the academic field just don't see it in the other professions.  The wife and I were both military - when we graduated, we looked forward to a new posting, in a new port, every 2 to 3 years.  As I was a soon-to-be submariner, the hopes of joint postings were slim.  Thankfully, she got out - thus simplifying our two-body problem.

My sis had a similar situation with med school, residency, etc.  Granted, very similar to the academic field.  Luckily for her, her hubby did his graduate work in the same town she went to med school in, and found work after that where they relocated.
 
2013-02-05 03:03:53 PM
In this position now and it suckssssss.  Finishing up my doctorate while the fiancee is working a post-doc in another city.  Worst of all, we came from the same lab so its hard to differentiate what we do.  Not sure what our next step is going to me.
 
2013-02-05 03:04:28 PM
*be
 
2013-02-05 03:35:57 PM

Uisce Beatha: Or those in the academic field just don't see it in the other professions.


I did say "often" not "always"

During my job search, one of the most commonly asked questions from family and friends who weren't in my field was "Where are you looking for a job? Are you going to move back [home]?"

There were definitely some people who could not comprehend how being picky about geographical location was not really an option for the jobs I was applying for.
 
2013-02-05 03:46:00 PM

eiger: I know it's not always possible, but a good rule of thumb as an academic is to steer clear of other academics for romantic entanglements. Marry a professional with a portable skill, It know it's a cold blooded way to look at it, but otherwise you're setting yourself up for a lot of problems.



This sort of partitioning is what we had to do the end. Back in the day I largely gave up the tenure track to accommodate where Ms. Damnhippyfreak was doing her post docs (and eventual associate prof position) and focused more on consulting, government, and (shudder) sessional positions - letting me be relatively mobile.

Anyway, if this is a difficult problem, wait until the idea of starting a family comes up.
 
2013-02-05 03:46:08 PM

Donnchadha: I did say "often" not "always"


Fair enough.  I might have been projecting a bit - Dad was a doc, mom was a prof, and yet, they couldn't see that I am in a similar situation that they were, vis a vis frequent, forced moves, that they were at my stage in life.

Donnchadha: Are you going to move back [home]?"


I *love* this question.  Yeah, sure, just as soon as there is a Navy base anything of value in OK.
 
2013-02-05 07:46:33 PM
Oh hell yes, this sucked. Looking for your first academic position and trying to limit the search to half-a-dozen cities because those are the areas the wife can work is just awful. And she's not an academic. In the end, it worked temporarily.
 
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