Monday, February 25, 2013

In Which I Get What I Want (Kind Of)

We are moving this summer, to a lovely little mountain town in Virginia.*  It's very close to P's mother, in fact; she and I have a kind of aunt-like friendship that is in fine form.  It's only two hours from my parents and sister.  It's close to a number of wonderful parks.  We can probably rent a house from Mountain U. for a year.

Once we move there, I'll probably manage to be delighted.  Right now, however, not so much.

First, it's a one-year job, and Dr. S can interview again for their TT job.  Normally this is a sucker bet, but this place has actually hired two one-year-faculty in recent years, and the next college over, Old South U.,  is also hiring for the same thing next year.  Having the teaching experience will help Dr. S when he applies for jobs ALL OVER AGAIN, even if Mountain U. doesn't hire him, which, let's be honest, I wouldn't bet more than a dollar on.***

And then there's moving.  Selling a house.  Cleaning and packing up a house full of small children.  Money (the one-year salary is crap).  Moving again. It's a small town; can I find a job?  (Quick survey says: ha, ha.)

Anyhow, it's what we're doing, so I'd best learn to be happy about it.

* Formerly known for possessing a famous stuffed horse.  I'm told it's since been buried. 
** MU and OSU both ran failed searches.  Mountain U. was looking for an analytical chemist - everyone pause for a hearty laugh here!-  and the results were- I quote - "so depressing we didn't even make anyone an offer."  They have since revised the criteria to reflect REALITY.  Also, two of the faculty in Mountain U.'s department actually called the dean to see if they could keep Dr. S, so I think they're serious about the intent.  The practice remains, as ever, uncertain.
*** I am the most pessimistic of all the world's natural pessimists.  

11 comments:

  1. Virginia is for lovers? Maybe there's a bonus there somewhere... ;)

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    1. There has been a definite dearth of looooove in our household of late, if you know what I mean. (I hasten to add, not for any terrible marital-discord reason, but because of illness and children screaming in the night.)

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  2. Congrats, I guess?

    It will be nice to be easy driving distance from family. Two hours is like nothing. Get in the car, hit the road, kids fall asleep, you're there. Definite upside.

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    1. Mostly good. I am SO looking forward to living closer! We are going on VACATION! Without the kids! So help me!

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  3. Ok, so moving is crappy. Moving twice is probably three times as bad. But! Close to parents and aunt figure!! Away from cold and dry winters! Lovely "small" town to live in! (I can't help the quotes, you know my birthplace in Cold State was an unincorporated collection of houses huddled together for warmth. On the upside, there was a tiny creek "Elk Crick" just one house over. Also, blackberries in the woods behind the house. Anyway.)

    I'm sure you'll be quite delighted once you've settled in. I'd even bet a dollar Dr. S. gets the TT job at Mountain U :)

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    1. Dr. S informs me it is 5000 people, plus the students. But yes, there is more than one stoplight.

      You're on for the bet. Winner has to... come visit? ;) (It's quite near the AT actually - as in, the AT runs about eight miles away- if your spouse should ever want to go a-wandering.)

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    2. Ok, 5,000 people is small. I heard 50,000 when we were speaking last week. Big difference! (Antje, from Germany, came over as a foreign exchange student and said she was from a small town of 80,000.)

      I'm definitely coming to visit!

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  4. OMG! OMG! Okay, it's mot perfect, and yeah, it will suck horribly to move and move again. But...WARM! FAMILY! WARM! FAMILY! I'm happy about the good parts, and you never know...magic might happen.

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    1. Well, at least SOMEBODY's happy about it. Actually, my mother is pretty much beside herself. And!! WARM looks really good about right now, eh?

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  5. Long time lurker here, can you explain the analytical chemist comment? I am an analytical chemist at a SLAC also near the AT and curious about whether you mean there aren't many analytical chemists or they are very in demand or what was unreasonable about their expectations?

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    1. Hmm... I do hope it's not the same one. (All right, I checked, no chemists named Dana there.) For one, it's in a rural area in the South. People who aren't from the South are frequently quite hesitant to move there, due to some well-founded and some not-so-well founded fears about the hick, racist people they might encounter. (If I hear one more ignorant New Yorker saying "But you just can't get good sushi there! And do they even have symphonies?", I might slap them. And don't even get me started on the hick, racist things I have heard my people say, Lord love 'em.) Then, yes, there are a LOT more biochemists than analytical chemists, due to there being a lot more NIH funding than NSF funding, especially in training grants, as I'm sure you know. As analytical chemists could generally earn 3-5x a faculty salary going to industry - and in fact, when I was applying to grad schools, one of the Ivy chem departments I visited sent 75% of their PhDs straight to industry - I would be surprised if all that many of them go to academia. Demonstrably, they didn't get any good analytical chemists to even apply. There is a much-larger city not very far away, with a bunch of biotech and government-related jobs, where one might reasonably expect chemists to gravitate. So, while I am sure that you are a talented teacher, innovative researcher, and devoted member of the faculty, I suspect most of your equally talented analytical-chemist colleagues are not interested in following that path. At least not to VA. Or maybe it was a bad year, who knows. But if I could earn six figures in industry, or drag my family to, say, Mississippi (no offense to any MS natives, but their schools are consistently ranked dead-last), you know which one I'd choose.

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