Relationships within your discipline

Amanda Kesner kesner at
Sat Jun 21 10:01:13 EST 1997

On 21 Jun 1997, Karen Kustedjo wrote:

> 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.

Lucky for me that my boyfriend is a physics guy, and I did bio. 
Currently, I'm the one who's working, and he is in grad school.  He chose
where to apply based on the strength of the Physics Ph.D. programs, but
my employability was a pretty big factor.  Also lucky for me, he
chose Columbia, so I had a lot of employment opportunities in NYC (and got
a job in about 2 weeks after starting to look seriously!).

  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?  

No, I don't think it's rare.  However, I'm in the opposite situation.  I
can go pretty much wherever I want if I want to do bio or biotech work.  I
think our constraints will be much more where he can get a tenure-track
position, even if it IS at Joe Blow U in Idaho (no offense). 

> 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!

When I go to grad school (I'm applying for Fall`98 to Pharmacology
programs), I'm going to go wherever I want (and where I'm accepted :).  I
know that I will always earn more than my boyfriend (I think Physics
Ph.D.'s average $40K), so it's more important to me that I get a good
start in research, rather than look for a place where he can get a
post-doc.  (However, Harvard WOULD be ideal...)  My boyfriend accepts that
there are limited markets for his skill and is prepared for the challenge
of finding employment.  When that time comes (hey, he still has 4 more
years at Columbia!), I don't think my employability will be as much of a
factor for him as it was in choosing grad schools. 

Good luck Karen!

Amanda Kesner
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
kesner at

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