Relationships within your discipline

Karen Kustedjo kujo at cco.caltech.edu
Fri Jun 20 20:10:09 EST 1997


Greetings all,

I was talking with a woman post-doc in my chem lab about job 
prospects.  (I am about to plunge headlong into grad school and
am trying to maintain a healthy balance of making sure I stay on
track and remain employable, as well as a stay creative.)
She was saying that it would be difficult, because she wants to
be near her boyfriend and he's taken a job in an area where it 
would be very difficult for her to find one too.  (They're both 
in chemistry.)  

It seems to me that there are many women scientists who fall in
love with men in their discipline.  (Feedback?  Test for Echo?)
Yet somehow, in the end, she follows him, career-wise, unless
they break up.  I've seen this happen to three brilliant post-doc
women in my lab.  (This is out of about 20 postdocs I've seen 
come through the group this last year.--yes, this was practically
all the women that were in the lab.) Only in one case did the  
couple (manage to?) line up jobs for both partners in industry.
I'm exceptionally lucky in
that my boyfriend and I were both chem majors in college, but he
switched to programming and *voila* instant port-a-career.  (Just
change venue every two years!)  Strangely enough, now I feel like
I'm constraining *his* options for his career and feel mildly
guilty about it, despite his constant assurances.

Far be it for me to judge others' situations, since I have not
walked a mile in their shoes; I just want some thoughts about
how some of you would handle this dilemma:  For those of you
seriously involved with a partner, how would you handle the
career situation?  My boyfriend and I have tentatively agreed 
that my career has more constraints than his does, so for at
least grad school he's ok with living in San Diego.  When deciding
on grad schools, I actually took into account his employability.
Is this a rare thing?  Upon talking to some women, I didn't get the
impression that they cared to preserve their career as much as they
cared to preserve their relationship.

It's tough -- I've seen situations where the man could earn so much
more, and thus financially it is a sound decision for the woman to
follow the man.  I'm so tempted sometimes to learn how to program
myself so that both our careers are portable and mobile!

Just wanting to prove that I can depend on myself (to myself),

Karen K.
Karen K.
-- 
Karen Kustedjo
"The folly of mistaking a paradox for a discovery, a metaphor for a
proof, a torrent of verbiage for a spring of capital truths, and
oneself for an oracle, is inborn in us." - Paul Vale'ry, 1895 



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