job searching/academic couples

Rachelle J. Bienstock rachelle at
Tue Jan 30 09:53:18 EST 1996

While it is illegal for anyone to ask you a personal question
regarding your marital status or whether or not you have children,
of course you can choose to bring it up and then it is fair game
for discussion.  My opinion (from many years of experience of
interviewing) is that in general you must judge the situtation,
but, I think it is usually best not to give someone a reason
to discriminate against you whether conciously or unconciously.
In the fields with which I am familiar (i.e. chemistry, biochemistry)
there are ususally 300-400 applicants for each academic opening
in a major university research department.  I think it is in your
best interest to promote yourself, then once you receive an offer,
you are in a position to bargain...Just like ususally you never bargain
or discuss salary until an offer is made.

Timewise it makes little difference, since there is usually a
whole process involved in acquiring funding and creating academic
positions, so there is no advantage in telling them at the start (which can 
only hurt your
chances). While if you wait until they want you, then you know they want
you and will try at least to make accomodations...

You don't mention whether your husband is in the same field or not,
but I have know a few academic couples who have actually "shared"
an academic position...The other option is a "soft" money position,
however if your husband is already in a tenured position he would
probably not be enthusiastic about that...

Unfortunately, the "two-body" problem is a difficult one, and
usually one spouse winds up compromising on their postion, or having
a very long commute, or they do the long-distance relationship thing.

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