couples

Cathy Quinones quinones at orchid.UCSC.EDU
Mon May 23 11:40:36 EST 1994


In article <Cq9EBu.HFM at mozo.cc.purdue.edu> muriana at aclcb.purdue.edu writes:
>In article <2rjqmh$29n at darkstar.UCSC.EDU>, quinones at orchid.UCSC.EDU (Cathy Quinones) writes:
>>In article <01HCKDIVH5FM8X3JGL at CCIT.ARIZONA.EDU> AZPIROZ at CCIT.ARIZONA.EDU writes:
>
>>>Sorry, but splitting a position between two people is exploitation,
>>>whether the couple agrees to it or not.
>
>        ....STUFF DELETED...
>
>>>Next, the argument will be used for anyone who intends to do research
>>>of any sort, or other "extras" that, somehow, diminish the value of
>>>a professor to the status of half-there.
>>>
>>>Ricardo Azpiroz
>>>Plant Sciences
>>>University of Arizona
>>
>>I don't know, frankly, how the "split position" situation works in terms
>
>
>     I wonder if these 1/2 positions are trully tenure-track positions (I 
>doubt it), or, are they relegated (no slight intended) to the position of 
>visiting professors or some such?

The couple we have here is tenured.  And very well respected, too.  They even
own a house, no small feat in Santa Cruz, CA!  They have been here for a
long time.

>
>     ....STUFF DELETED...
>
>>And I still think it's pretty cool it's becoming "ok" to have 1 salary and
>>have 2 people do 1/2 the work each.
>
>	Go through all the trouble of getting a Ph.D., or more (post-doc) 
>and settle for 1/2 a job? Such people who are willing to accept such jobs *
>**are*** likely to be taken advantage of - i.e., what kind of *benefits* 
>are they given, or rather, not-given?

Why is it that people are so bent on using terms such as "settle" to describe
this situation?!  Why is it so perverted, so warped, so WRONG that someone may
be interested in a tenured, part-time position?  I am starting to guess this
concept is truly anathema to the protestant work ethic.  The way I see it,
these people signed up for lower pay for lower responsibilities
(teaching).  They still have graduate students, publish, get funding.  I
truly can't comment on benefits, but since they are tenured faculty I
suppose they do have benefits.  Their retirement plan may be different,
and that would be both understandable and expected; I'm sure they took the
position however long ago with full knowledge of what would happen upon
retirement.

>>  As far as working extra time for the
>>same salary, I know of enough full-time faculty who eternally haunt the 
>>research buildings... either they have nowhere to go, no social life, no
>>need for fun or relaxation, or they are working more than 40 hours a week.
>>I see nobody holding guns to their heads, so I guess they are putting this
>>time in voluntarily [to satisfy their intellectual needs or whatever]; the
>>return they get is in personal satisfaction, they are definitely not
>>getting paid by the hour! 
>
>	This is really funny; I must clip it out and circulate it to my 
>other colleagues.  "No one puts a gun to your head....they are putting this 
>time in voluntarily to satisfy their intellectual needs..." - You make it 
>sound like there is no drawback to "not putting in the time" - You really 

Did I say that? Where?  I simply stated that there are quite a few faculty
that appear to live in their research buildings [ok, I should say a lot of
them are junior faculty, yet to grasp tenure].  I KNOW there is a
drawback:  the average tenure-bound scientist/teacher has to literally
suspend reality and dedicate his/her everything to research, in order to
prove him/herself to peers, administration and funding agencies.  Now, if
you put 2 such individuals together, the time they are going to have to
share together as a couple or as parents is going to be severely
curtailed.  My guess is that it is a lot easier to "get ahead" in academia
if one's partner is not working 75 hours/week but instead is dedicating their
"spare time" to couple-related endeavors (such as doing laundry, shopping for
food, being the primary care provider for children, possibly relatives  and
pets :).  Now you tell me, what the hell is an academic-minded couple
supposed to do if one person is hired by an university and the other isn't?
The unhired partner will have options such as finding a job elsewhere [and
who is interested in a long distance relationship?  I'm not, been there, it
sucks].  The unhired parter may stay home and *settle* do the domestic
duties, share the working partner's salary 50/50.  The unhired parner may
*settle* for some other position he/she can find in town, and give up
his/her research/teaching dreams.  The hired partner may refuse the
position and the couple can *settle* for unemployment.  I suppose from your
perspective all those are all better options than having the two people
look at each other in the eye and say "we'll live on 1 salary but we both
will get to do what we want."  What a concept, the mind boggleth! 

Now, do tell me how that assessment of research in the 90's conflicts with
the concept of a shared position.  To those who accept such jobs, less
teaching time may mean more time (mental resources, whatever you want to
call it) to *other* endeavors.  Those may be research-related, or having
some semblance of a normal family life, or pursuing other interests.    

>should get educated on what it takes to get tenure, what it's like trying 
>to get grants funds in the 90's, getting funds to continue a project or 
>maintain good people who are on soft funds, ensuring your research 
>competitiveness knowing there are other people working on similar themes
>- no, they certainly are not getting paid "by the hour".
>
>-Peter Muriana

No, they are not getting paid by the hour.  That's what I meant.  Many
full-time academians work beyond 40 hours/week.  Many 1/2-time academians
work beyond 20 hours/week.  If the split position offers job security and
the employees are satisfied with the benefits, why must other insist that
people who choose a split position are "settling for less"?

Now, I wouldn't be suggesting that you get educated on anything, but since
you started the exhortations, here's mine: ask people what it is they want
out of their lives, and dare to consider that what may not be good for you
may be good for them.  Some people's life dreams go beyond making it in
the NIH/NSF hall of fame.  Some people want to have a career and they also
want to have a family, and they feel that making a bit less money is a
small price to pay for feeling they are doing what they want to do as best
as they can.  In a perfect world, people's intellectual/professional needs
wouldn't conflict with their other life goals.  Maybe someday universities
will start offering full-time positions to couples who so desire them. 
Until then, a split position seems to me a typical case of making the best
of a tough situation.  And, like I said before, a split position keeps
BOTH partners active in their profession and would make it easier for BOTH
to move on to a full-time position if they so desired later on [as opposed
to having had one of the partners "benched" for years].



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