Moving to a completely different part of the country

(100 Posts)
Erimentha Sun 03-Feb-13 13:55:59

My DH is in the final year of his degree and it has always been his intention to go on to get an MA and a PhD and have a career in teaching at either university or college level. Initially he was going to do the MA and PhD at the Uni he is currently at, but they don't offer a course he wants to do for a taught MA. He has then repeatedly changed his mind about where he wants to go to study (7 different university's in different areas of the country in the past 3 months).

I don't particularly want to move. Practically we would struggle to rent a house as I am disabled and we have pets (we have previously tried to move in the area we are in to a bigger house and have struggled for the above reasons) Other reasons include I have friends and a support network here and i do struggle to make friends, I have MH problems and now have a good relationship with my psychiatrist and CPN. My eldest has just been referred to CAMHS for behavioural issues, and both my youngest and DH are under neurologists for their epilepsy and my DD is still undergoing various tests for hers. Commuting is also an issue as it has to be within a reasonable bus journey because he can't drive due to the epilepsy

My friend has commented to me that it is unreasonable for my DH to expect the rest of us to just up and move to a different part of the country so he can study when he could do a different course (albeit not one he really wants to study but still relevant) at the Uni he is already at. I really don't want to move and I do feel he is being a bit unreasonable to expect us to give up our life here and support network for his study. However I feel I AB a bit U as to stay here would be stopping him from studying the course he would love to do and is the career path he want to go down.

What do all you lovely people think? Sorry for the essay I just wanted to ensure I was clear, it's also my first time so please don't be too hard ;)

DeepRedBetty Sun 03-Feb-13 13:58:20

How long is the course? Could he stay at the town/campus just during the week?

TheNebulousBoojum Sun 03-Feb-13 14:06:02

I think he's being unreasonable, he has other commitments and priorities now that need to be taken into account. Three children, a wife with disabilities, pets and a support network that you all need, as opposed to a move for what appear to be very weak reasons.
Plus, my OH has a double first, and an Oxford PhD and found it impossible to get a teaching post, so I'd worry if your DH was counting on that as a certainty.
He needs to be realistic about his responsibilities, his plan would be fine if he was an unattached man with no serious prior claims on his life.

Erimentha Sun 03-Feb-13 14:06:21

The courses, MA and PhD would take approx 7 years for him to complete. The university he wants to go to is over 2hrs away by car. He can't drive due to his epilepsy so it would have to be public transport. We are having to pay for the MA ourselves which will leave us a quite tight financially and trains twice a week would put us over our budget. He gets free bus travel, but I'm guessing it would take way over 2 hours by bus which is quite impractical.

I don't want to hold him back, but don't want to give up my life just to follow him IYSWIM.

Erimentha Sun 03-Feb-13 14:07:34

Nebulous that is exactly what my friend said.

TheNebulousBoojum Sun 03-Feb-13 14:08:57

Does he not see the reality of what your lives would be like?

Erimentha Sun 03-Feb-13 14:12:20

He can see where I'm coming from, and he is looking into other options. But, I think he had sort of set his mind on something and was single mindedly driving towards it. He is good in so many ways, but sometimes it is like he is single student and it is worse since he has been at Uni.

TheNebulousBoojum Sun 03-Feb-13 14:14:09

Oh, I wouldn't have a problem with it at all if he were single, or if you didn't have so many different complex needs on both of your plates. But you do, and he can't be single-minded if he's one of a team of 5.

mumblechum1 Sun 03-Feb-13 14:14:39

YANBU. I've had to relocate 4 times with DH's job, always to hundreds of miles away from the last place, and with 2 small children, one of whom was severely disabled but the difference was that it was for his job and he was promoted every time.

I think your DH is unreasonable to even think about studying for another 7 years when you've supported him financially, (I presume) for at least the last three.

He should be job hunting as soon as he graduates, or at least looking at a more sensible option like a PGCE.

redexpat Sun 03-Feb-13 14:17:51

Is he aware that you dont have to have an MA before you do a phd?

pingu2209 Sun 03-Feb-13 14:19:32

I think he is being selfish. He could argue that YOU are being selfish, but you and your children came before his studies.

I wanted to be a top flight career woman in the city - I still could, but I put my children and family first. We can't have it all.

However, more to the point, if he thinks this protects ALL your long term futures, financially etc, then he could be very wrong. Has he really looked at how easy it is to get a job in his preferred field? It may be that where you live there are only a handful of teaching positions/colleges/unis. He may not get a job after all that up heaval.

Does he intend to move again once he has completed his studies to go to where the work is?

So many colleges and Unis are closing because they don't have the students any more due to the fees. This is a massive issue in London where there are a plethora of colleges. My friends thought they had jobs right up till 1st week September, but then had their courses pulled as there wasn't enough student take up. It has been a nightmare for them.

rainrainandmorerain Sun 03-Feb-13 14:20:39

Just a bit curious - is the area he is studying in really an 'in demand' subject? I know some very well qualified people who are finding it hard to get tenure - they are all in their 30s/40s and working part time jobs to fund phds or supplement part time teaching jobs.

I would never want to put anyone off doing what they really want to do! but if his MA isn't funded, then would he be likely to get funding for a phd....? (my dad took nearly 20 years to do his, as he had a young family and needed to raise us and work as well as do his phd, so it just took a while)

I know your immediate problem is 'where to do MA' - I'm just wondering if any/all of this is being undertaken with a 'it will be tough for years but alright one day' attitude. Academia is a tough profession and increasingly squeezed....

NonnoMum Sun 03-Feb-13 14:26:01

Maybe he could just get a job.

Erimentha Sun 03-Feb-13 14:27:38

I don't think he has even looked into the job situation potential at the end of all this. I have asked him to consider doing a different course which would offer a wider range of employability at the end. But he is mostly set that he want to do a course along these lines because it is what he is interested in. As I said before he has looked into some other courses but when we discuss them it's always along the lines of 'this course is available, but....' Then reasons why he doesn't think it's suitable, or other reasons not to do it. He says he wants a career not a job and wants to enjoy what he is doing and not be stuck in some job he hates just to pay bills. Which I understand and I think is admirable but life can't always be like that.

Alligatorpie Sun 03-Feb-13 14:29:55

I think he ibu and has unrealistic expectations, for all the reasons already mentioned.

BubaMarra Sun 03-Feb-13 14:31:18

I think he needs to make compromises as he is not a single student any more (and it seems that going back to uni reinforced that notion in his mind as you said it became worse since he started his studies).

The compromise would not have to be very big - when it comes to PhD relationship with the supervisor is far more important than the University in general. In other words he needs to find a supervisor that can match his research area. This is not necessarily limited only to universities which have taught courses in the area he is interested in.
In other words, he needs to find a suitable supervisor and s/he might not happen to work at a university which offers MA taught courses your DH wants to pursue.

Also, as already mentioned, research/teaching career is very very competitive and many find it very hard to get into academia despite having obtained their PhDs form top notch universities.

TheNebulousBoojum Sun 03-Feb-13 14:31:54

Not really grin but he does sound like my 18 year old.
Are the children his? Because he doesn't really seem to be thinking in a parent role here, or like a mature adult.

TheNebulousBoojum Sun 03-Feb-13 14:33:28

What jobs has he done previously?
I mean full time grown-up ones that he used to support himself and dependents for a significant amount of time, years rather than months.

Erimentha Sun 03-Feb-13 14:33:56

rainrain I wouldn't say it was in a particularly high demand subject, I don't know of the likelihood of getting funding for PhD I think he is sort of doing a we'll cross that bridge when we come to it kind thing. He wants to to have completed the PhD in the next 6years as he says otherwise he will be to old to be employed as no one will want him. He is late 20's currently.

It's my preference that he widen his field outside academia, but his first career choice was shot down the pan due to his epilepsy and after much soul searching and months of depression he set himself on this. I was and still try to be supportive. But it seems like he has this rosé tinted idea of what it's going to be like at the end and I'm not so sure.

Erimentha Sun 03-Feb-13 14:38:59

nebulous yes the children are his. He worked as a waiter when he was 18 to support both of us while doing his first degree (ended up dropping out) and I worked full time too. Since then he has had 3 different jobs in the finance admin sector each held for years at a time and only changed due to moving.

I feel I should add when our eldest was a newborn he did give up everything and move to this area, particularly for me to have this better extended support network. It makes me feel like maybe I should return the favour.

BackforGood Sun 03-Feb-13 14:39:11

How come he's looking at another 7 years study ? Surely an MA takes 1 year, or a PhD takes 3 years ? I originally opened thread to say he should travel / stay away for the course.
However, aside from that, he's not been realistic. If he has all the responsibilities you list, how is he planning to finance this 10 years of study ?
A bit fanciful if you are 18 and carefree, but once you have a family, then surely your priorities have to change. Is there a reason he can't do a PGCE and then start earning next year? If you move for a paid job, it's one thing, but to attend collecge, which is obviously not going to be permanent seems a bit silly in your circumstances.

rainrainandmorerain Sun 03-Feb-13 14:39:50

Hmm. I think a lot of people would rather have a career nor a job, and to do something they love rather than hate. Nothing wrong with that - but it is not an entitlement, and it needs balancing out against other responsibilities that may conflict with that.

Btw - studying a subject is very different from teaching it. Academia is no different from other work environments (and sometimes worse IME) in terms of office politics, pay, colleague conflicts and working hours. This may not be be at all relevant to your dp (how old is he btw? what other experience does he have of working?) - but I think a lot of undergrads go through a period of imagining life as an academic, and it's all a bit rose tinted tbh.

Erimentha Sun 03-Feb-13 14:40:47

Thank you for all your advice and opinions, please keep them coming it is helping me see exactly what tough questions I need to ask him and what needs looking into and discussing.

Erimentha Sun 03-Feb-13 14:41:36

rainrain he is 28

rainrainandmorerain Sun 03-Feb-13 14:43:40

Sorry erimentha - lots of x posts, you had already answered a lot of my questions.

Erimentha Sun 03-Feb-13 14:48:01

backforgood he wants to do the PhD part time in order to work at the same to fund the degree and get some relevant teaching experience. A PGCE wouldn't allow him to teach at degree level which is what he is wanting to do. I will however be asking him to consider this as a compromise.

BubaMarra Sun 03-Feb-13 14:50:48

He does sound like a committed parent and partner.
He was there for his family and it does seem to me that it's time for his familiy to be there for him.
But doing PhD will be a drain on your resources - money, time, energy, parental presence, etc. So if you agree with his PhD it will be a big compromise from your part (and your family's). He can make compromise of finding a suitable PhD closer to your home in return. And as I already said, it wouldn't have to be a sacrifice because supervisor is more important when you do PhD and he might actually find a suitable supervisor at a university that is much closer to the place where you live.
But even then be prepared to have very hard few years especially at the beginning. But it's still doable as long as all of you are on the board.

HeathRobinson Sun 03-Feb-13 14:51:09

Doesn't he want to work in the near future? Is he choosing to 'hide' in the academic world for a few years? confused

What's wrong with a PGCE for a year, get a job, do an MA part-time, evenings, maybe OU?

MarjorieAntrobus Sun 03-Feb-13 14:54:31

Is he aware that you dont have to have an MA before you do a phd?

Just repeating what redexpat said, in case you missed it.

Also, has he considered doing his PhD part-time and combining it with paid work?

Also, has he looked into funding for the PhD? If he is in sciences or engineering he might be ok. If arts or social sciences, then possibly not.

rainrainandmorerain Sun 03-Feb-13 14:54:58

I think you've both got a lot on your plate, fwiw.

Are your kids at school where you live now? That would be a key factor for me. I think given your health and mh issues, yours and your family's, you are simply not a very portable 'unit'. That is no one's fault at all! but does make things harder for you.

I think it is reasonable for your dp to pursue his academic career in as informed a way as he can - but I don't think he can expect you and the children to move at this point in time. The benefit would all be to him, not you. It is not as if he has been offered a hugely lucrative job somewhere else, where the whole family would benefit, and where some of the problems of moving could be made easier by throwing money at it.

I am a bit cautious about the idea that he is setting his heart on an academic career at undergraduate level, when he has got a lot of studying to get through first, and when it is possible that he might get a few years down the road and then realise it is not going to be a dream job. He's putting a lot of eggs in a long term basket! again, it depends a bit on the subject - some areas of study are easier to 'convert' or use in a non academic context than others.

Obvious point, but is OU an option? If not, how 'present' would be have to be for an MA in his subject? Some subjects are much less hands on/can be done long range than others. If he only needed to commute for a day a week, could he do that?

MarjorieAntrobus Sun 03-Feb-13 14:55:00

X posts, sorry.

chutneypig Sun 03-Feb-13 14:57:33

Academia isn't the most stable career, many posts are fixed term or part time, tenure can be very hard to come by, and I think that's worth considering looking ahead. In my experience people are often in their late thirties when they have their first permanent contract, although that may depend on field. As rainrain said its a career which demands a lot in terms of working hours and the politics and backstabbing can be phenomenal.

Practically, I'd advise looking to see how often and where posts come up he might be interested in and exactly what they're looking for in terms of post -PhD experience. Hopefully things won't be worse than they are at the moment and it may help clarify things for you both.

Erimentha Sun 03-Feb-13 15:11:26

If it was a lucrative job offer then despite my desire not to move I would be supportive and do it no question.

Sorry I did miss the post about not having to do an MA before a PhD. We have spoken about this before and he says its full of bureaucratic red tape and such a shot in the dark and so unlikely to be able to get in without MA. Which is when I begin to get cross as its like he is giving up before even attempting to exhaust the possibility. Thing is, he is really good at what he is doing and his lecturers have been thrilled with his work and really supportive so if anyone was going to be able to do it from his class, he would be the one.

The MA he wants to do is taught, so I kind of in Uni lectures everyday kind of deal. He fat out refuses to do the OU he did some OU stuff previously, hated it and says he needs to be in taught group situation.

I'm getting tired of feeling like I constantly have to prod him along and that he won't even try these things off his own back.

SolomanDaisy Sun 03-Feb-13 15:22:55

How will you be funding this study? Is it through you working? If so, will you be able to get a job elsewhere? Has he applied for funding? Is he predicted a good first? He could do a research MA at his current uni.

You would be mad to move for a one year unfunded MA.

SolomanDaisy Sun 03-Feb-13 15:25:03

And the chances are you will have to move if he ever gets a job too, several times in all likelihood.

ImperialBlether Sun 03-Feb-13 15:30:38

My daughter's studying a taught MA part-time over two years - she has a two hour lesson per week. The other full-time students do double that. There's no reason why she should live in the same town as her university, as long as she was prepared to travel on that day.

Is your husband expecting a First?

For PhDs, you can either study them in the normal way and pay your own way, or you can apply for a Graduate Studentship where you are paid about £15,000 pa to work part-time in the department while you study. You hold seminars for undergraduates for that wage.

The problem is that if he moves for his MA, he will almost certainly have to move for his PhD and then move again for a job. The chances of being awarded a Graduate Studentship and then a full-time job at the university where he studied his MA are very slim and may not be the best thing for him anyway, as he won't have experienced working with different people.

It's very risky, isn't it? I can see it seems a nice lifestyle, being a perpetual student, but really once you leave undergraduate work you have to work hard to fund yourself. My daughter has two part-time jobs - is he prepared to do this?

ImperialBlether Sun 03-Feb-13 15:31:36

I should have said, the Graduate Studentships are like gold dust.

Erimentha Sun 03-Feb-13 15:32:52

soloman MA funded hopefully through studentship or through a loan, our savings, family help etc and he wants to do a part time PhD so he can work at the same time to fund it and have an income. Yes he is predicted a good first.

Erimentha Sun 03-Feb-13 15:38:06

imperial I think he would be working while doing an MA, I guess it depends on the workload. He isn't at the minute due to being in mon-fri all day.

I do think its risky and I think he has an idea of how it's going to be and it's going to be wonderful sunshine and flowers and I don't think it's going to work that way. I think he is looking at my brother who did a BSc, MSc and now has a studentship for his PhD and thinking it can't be that hard.

SolomanDaisy Sun 03-Feb-13 15:47:15

His best chance of funding is to stay where he is and get the uni' s support for a studentship application. Is he busy applying now? The deadline is probably in a few weeks. He is probably right about it being difficult to go straight onto a PhD.

Erimentha Sun 03-Feb-13 15:51:10

Yes he is applying now.

SolomanDaisy Sun 03-Feb-13 15:55:00

Is he applying only at the place he would need to move to attend? He needs to accept that a family cannot move to support him studying for one year. He can stay a couple of nights a week there if necessary. Lots of academics have to do that sort of thing, as they need to take the job when they come up.

Erimentha Sun 03-Feb-13 15:58:50

He has so far applied to one with a longish commute from where we currently live and is sorting out where else he is going to apply too. Hence our discussion and e asking on here.

rainrainandmorerain Sun 03-Feb-13 16:04:29

fwiw, I think not only is it not realistic to expect his family to up sticks and move for a years' MA study - but I would be very careful about how much of your savings and money from extended family you use to fund this.

I'm not saying he should use nothing... but it's not like contributing towards a specific qualification or course which will immediately open doors for him workwise (where I'd be tempted to fork out/get into some debt because of a strong likelihood of it being recouped before too long).

Savings and extended family gifting/loaning money is, ime, what you need to tide you over times of crisis, like sudden unemployment or illness. Emptying the kitty and then some for an MA under these circumstances makes me nervous.

ImperialBlether Sun 03-Feb-13 16:29:25

Solomon, you say, "His best chance of funding is to stay where he is and get the uni' s support for a studentship application." but that's not always true - it'll depend how much emphasis his current university puts on research and how much they fund it. There's a massive difference in how much they can spend on research.

OP, what sort of area is he working in? Is he a scientist?

Peevish Sun 03-Feb-13 16:37:25

Just adding another gloomy voice to those who say the outlook for many academic fields is not great - though obviously, we don't know your husband's field. I am an academic, with an Oxbridge DPhil and two MAs, all funded by highly-competitive scholarships, publications with the top academic publishers in my field, and over a decade of experience in a tenured position, and I'm finding it very difficult to move jobs, even to something below my current level.

I think your husband needs to think seriously about his career prospects, preferably by talking frankly to an academic in his field - I can honestly say that, although I love my job and have been successful at it, if I were an undergraduate again, I wouldn't repeat my career path. He needs to research the jobs in his field by looking at the TES, etc

I also think you would be mad to uproot in your circumstances. He needs to look at the hours of classes on any of the taught MAs to which he is applying - and as others have said, whether he can get accepted on a doctoral course without an MA - and see whether he can commute, and perhaps stay over one night a week if necessary. He need not live close to the insitution where he is doing his PhD at all - my partner and I were doing PhDs simultaneously, and he lived in my city and just travelled to his to see his supervisor at intervals and teach classes one day a week.

duffybeatmetoit Sun 03-Feb-13 16:38:17

You've said he is acting like a single student. Does this extend to socialising as well? I would be concerned if that was the case. It's all too easy if he's out with other students and you are looking after dcs and the home to become resentful and it drive a wedge between you. If he was travelling/living away to pursue his studies this could make things worse.

If he's going to be studying for 7 years who knows what the employment situation will be in 2020.

You have my sympathies - it's very difficult to have a rational conversation about it without sounding as if you are trying to stop him from doing what he wants to do.

SolomanDaisy Sun 03-Feb-13 16:42:12

Imperial, I had assumed that both universities have an allocation of research council studentships. That might not be the case of course, but assuming it is a student known and respected by the panel is more likely to be supported.

Journey Sun 03-Feb-13 17:05:53

He needs to look into the job market. If career prospects aren't good for his field then there is little point in doing a PhD.

Why is he wanting to do a MA and then a PhD? Why doesn't he just do the PhD?

I think your DH is being very selfish. His studying all seems to be for him. Where does the family's needs fit in?

Erimentha Sun 03-Feb-13 17:32:54

duffy no he doesn't socialise like a student. He has ever been a big one for going out drinking etc. What I meant out student mindset is a little bit selfish, everything revolved around him and Uni at times, his jobs around the house can get left as he is too busy with Uni, he acts a bit sometimes like he would like to be free of responsibilities. He goes out with his Uni friends maybe once a month at most. But he does socialise and have coffee with them while at Uni. I am worried of coming across as like you say sounding like I'm stopping him from doing what he wants. He can be hard to talk to at times as if try to talk to him he can just sit there quiet and become sulky/depressed and saying everything is his fault, which isn't what I would be saying at all.

journey I'm going to ask him to do some more research into the job market as it is a really good point and important to know this before going forward. Unfortunately I think that regardless of what the outcome of the job research is he is going to want to go ahead with it anyway and I would either have to ask him outright not to do it or just go along with it. As for what the family is getting out of it, he says he is doing it so he can get a good, well paid job so he can support us in the future.

It isn't really practical for him to be away in the week as due to my disability I need help with certain things and without him here in the morning and evenings it would be a real struggle.

I don't think all this would bother me quite so much if he was as supportive of my studying and ventures as he expects me to be of his. But his Uni work is most important and must come first as he will be getting a well paid job at the end of it.

takeaway2 Sun 03-Feb-13 18:19:45

I think he needs to demonstrate the possibility of getting a 'well paid job' at the end of this journey. Of course one cannot predict what will happen in 2020, but there are few jobs around and I think it will get worse given the current govt's ideas. What area is he in? Has he seen whether there are jobs in his area at least now? Does he know any academics in this area who he can speak to? Is he well connected to any academics who he can possibly study under?

If any of my undergraduates came to talk to me about their ideas of doing a phd, a lot of it will come down to whether the person demonstrates independent thinking and curiosity. Of course we will look at the ideas and the current grades (top of the class etc).

Does he get on with any academics who may be able to advise? There are quite a few of us on here who may be able to help if we know what area he's in?

SolomanDaisy Sun 03-Feb-13 18:26:48

What do you want to do and how is he unsupportive of it? A masters, a PhD and an academic career is not a plan that is a sufficient guarantee of such high income that it should override other members of the family. He'll be needing you to subsidise him for some time anyway.

If you living apart isn't an option you need to consider the reality that you may well have to relocate as a family several times for him to achieve his career aims. Depending on his field this may well involve needing to relocate abroad for some time.

CartedOff Sun 03-Feb-13 18:33:32

As the ex-wife of an academic (never been involved in it myself but heard and seen a lot) my heart sank a bit when I read that the dream job he wants to study for is in academia. It isn't easy to get a job in let alone one that is a) well paid, b) full time and c) secure. Jobs like that are like gold dust. Someone above mentioned how hard it was for them to move jobs despite having an array of excellent qualifications and experience, and I think it's a very important point to make- even with everything you can still be stuck trying to find a position. It's not an ordinary field. If someone has that well-paid job that your husband is desperate for they are very unlikely to want to give it up. As things get more and more competitive I imagine people are clinging to them for dear life.

rainrainandmorerain Sun 03-Feb-13 18:35:51

I think everyone posting on this thread with some knowledge of academia has expressed reservations about the assumption there will be a great job at the end of all this.

It is a gamble, not a certainty. And you are going to be dealing with this for the best part of a decade. It is also not the only work option open to him. He is choosing to do this because he wants to. There's nothing wrong with that in itself - but it's not taking on a job to pay the bills and doing part time study. It's not saying 'I will be a qualified x in a job market where we know there are excellent job prospects.'

Worst case scenario is that you uproot your life a couple of times to follow him to different unis, and rack up a lot of debt in the meantime.

He sounds hard to talk to, so I don't know how you manage it - but I would ask him to research the availability and current salaries of the jobs that he thinks will be open to him when he successfully completes his phd. No one has a crystal ball! but I think it is a fair assumption that academic jobs in most areas are not going to get more plentiful/better paid in the next decade.

I think he also needs to work out how he is going to fund all of this. How much debt can you realistically saddle yourself with as a family over the time he will take to get his ma and phd? If he says he will work to fund his phd - fine, but he needs go have a realistic idea of how he can do this. It really is such a long time - he can't be going in to this with the scenario 'it will all be alright in the end and we will have loads of money when I get my ideal job'.

I don't think you are being selfish at all - I do think you have a lot to juggle here. Total aside here, but if you are currently claiming working tax credit etc etc then you will be affected somehow by Universal Credit coming in, and this is worth researching.

rainrainandmorerain Sun 03-Feb-13 18:43:08

And what cartedoff said. I come from a family of academics. It's why I'm not one!

The more specialised your discipline or area of expertise, the more limited you are. You can't 'create' your own job - secure/permanent jobs are fairly rare and you have to wait for someone to vacate the job you want, either by moving on (doesn't happen much) or by dropping off their perch (takes years!)

OTherwise you're looking at competing for short term contracts with a lot of other people who are also well qualified. One question worth asking is whether your dp will only think of working/teaching at a university, or would he take a job at the local FE college, teaching post 16 year olds? There are more opportunities at that level, and higher 'churn'. Diff environment though.

Erimentha Sun 03-Feb-13 19:04:53

takeaway2 he has agreed to discuss this with his lecturers on Monday if they are free. He has a good relationship with 3 of them and I think they will be able to give him good advice. He is studying Philosophy and particularly interested in war ethics, though he would consider medical ethics.

soloman last year I was studying from home doing an a level as an introduction to studying from home with a mind to doing an either an OU course or going to Uni part time when the children were older. The most time he would give me was 1 day a week when he would look after the DC. This dwindled to half a day most weeks but as he wouldn't take them out to play without me constantly asking they kept coming in to talk to me. Consequently I didn't have enough time to work and despite my best efforts failed the exam. I would like to work from home either selling some of the things I craft or something else I might be able to do, but he won't give me anytime to do it in during the day. Wouldn't be to much of a problem if our eldest didn't have the behavioural issues and would actually go to sleep before 11pm.

rainrain he has said he will consider teaching further education, but that its not his first choice. He refuses to teach any lower than that as it is his idea of hell.

rainrainandmorerain Sun 03-Feb-13 19:15:36

Well, I wouldn't want to teach under 16s, so I can understand that.

Philosophy. Okay. Crikey.

Finding a full time well paid job in Philosophy, even medical ethics, is going to be very very hard. And I cannot think of any fulltime teaching jobs in the FE colleges I know in Philosophy (I know it is offered as an A level, but not taught by full time staff).

I hope some other posters of an academic bent can offer thoughts knowing his area of study.

CartedOff Sun 03-Feb-13 19:28:38

I don't want to pour on the negativity (sorry) but I can't help but feel that going down this route will cause an immense amount of resentment for you. He wants to be an academic and expects you to support him in this (very stressful) endeavour, while having lacked any ability or inclination to support you in your own studies. Masters and PhDs are a lot of work- will you be taking on even more of the household duties and child-rearing during this? How will you feel while he reads his fifth article of the day and asks for quiet and time while he writes essays, remembering how he only gave you one day a week for your exam prep?

I think these are important things to take into consideration, because this will cost a lot of money and attention and time. It will go on for years and years and there will be times of immense stress and why-are-we-doing-this. This might sound dramatic but it's important to think about the impact this will have on your relationship, as it does have one.

It's a hell of a lot to invest in for what may end up being a job that, realistically, someone with an undergraduate qualification and a PGCE could have done...that may be what he ends up having to take.

takeaway2 Sun 03-Feb-13 19:36:08

Philosophy. Oh dear... I'm not in that field but I believe that there's been significant drop in student numbers (please check this fact!) and if this is true then depts will close. Which means fewer full time academic jobs. Or funding for research fellowships etc.

Please don't bank on just having a chat with his lecturers if they are 'free'. Most will have office hours so he needs to go and see them during that time which they've put aside specifically for students. Otherwise the rest of the 'free time' is taken up by other classes, meetings and research.

I know that a lot of my senior colleagues have said that they won't encourage their offspring into academia (and these are v well regarded colleagues). I know that I am tending towards that way. And to do it part time! I have a part time phd student and due to various events in her personal and work life (she worked full time sponsored by her work place but it was almost impossible to get time off to do her phd work), she's now taken time off to give birth. I have no idea whether she will come back. I know she wants to... But who knows what life might throw at her next...

V few places will actively encourage part time phd (unless you are already working as an RA within the field and you are 'writing up' as you go along your projects for example.

chocolateshoes Sun 03-Feb-13 19:39:12

lots of useful comments on here. I just wanted to add that my DH did his PHd which was based at Nottingham Uni while we lived in France. Plus he is now a PHd supervisor for someone who is living in Africa yet is signed up to a northern UK uni. With Skype, e-mails, etc you don't need to be based close to the uni in my experience.

rainrainandmorerain Sun 03-Feb-13 19:46:14

I would want to know roughly what it is he is hoping to discuss with his lecturers. If he goes in as a good student feeling despondent about future study, then they are likely to (quite nicely) encourage him and try and buoy him up about what he wants to do.

If he wants to know how many junior lectureships there are out there in Philosophy, and what the grades are, then the uni careers dept might be more useful. Or another resource that deals specifically with jobs in academia.

SolomanDaisy Sun 03-Feb-13 19:55:34

I just searched THES. There are no UK based philosophy jobs at any level advertised at the minute. What work is he planning to do while he does his PhD?

He sounds like an absolute arse about your studying. He is an undergraduate and he couldn't manage to give you a day a week to study? Is he working at the minute?

Erimentha Sun 03-Feb-13 20:13:29

soloman not at the minute as he is in Uni mon- fri, from early till quite late. He said he couldn't give me any more time as he was too busy doing his Uni work.

Erimentha Sun 03-Feb-13 20:16:13

With regard to working while doing his PhD he wants to do some teaching as a student at the Uni where he is doing his PhD. After he has got it he says he may have to do a research job before being able to get a job in academia.

RoadtoSussex Sun 03-Feb-13 20:52:35

Sorry, but do not allow yourself to get railroaded into giving up your vital support network.

You are disabled.
You do not work.
One of your children has additional needs.

There is a significant chance that this life plan of his will actually be detrimental to your well being. He sounds, well, flaky and not a particularly mature man.

I know a couple where the DH has instigated a move to pursue study dreams leading to something not particularly well paid. But, he was already qualified as something, let's say a nurse, so has that to fall back on. His DW has a very well paid job that can be done anywhere in the country. So they know, on some level, that they can always get by.

Do not end up in poverty or worsening health just because he has a dream.

If he wants to do the MA that badly then he will get on the train, find a place to crash or whatever.

SocietyClowns Sun 03-Feb-13 21:12:25

Sorry to add to the negative posts, but is there anyone out there who could give him a reality check? It's virtually impossible to waltz into a well paid permanent job. Even lectureships are now on temporary contracts and they are very few to go round. I've got a handful of degrees and it hasn't taken me very far. Cuts in funding etc etc. Does he really believe doing an MA and a PhD are a sure way into a lucrative career or is he incredibly selfish? And what is he doing spending all week at uni from early to late? Few degrees (except perhaps medicine and law) require that kind of commitment. Is he just very immature and wants to live a single life?
Seriously, knock some sense into him for the sake of yourself and your family!

SolomanDaisy Sun 03-Feb-13 21:17:42

If he is really working all that time, he is the most committed undergraduate I have ever heard of. I love that his back up plan is a research job. I think he's taking the piss and you would be crazy to move for him.

SocietyClowns Sun 03-Feb-13 21:27:41

Don't get me started on research.... (my area) angry

mumblechum1 Sun 03-Feb-13 21:38:31

I don't know anything about MAs or phds, but my dh did his MBA whilst working full time in a very senior job.

It was bloody hard and he wasn't there for the children when they were little but he succeeded in achieving the MBA.

I think your dh should be working full time and if he is able to, carry on with some sort of part time education. Bringing in a salary should be his priority imo.

mummytime Sun 03-Feb-13 21:39:46

Philosophy is a very very hard area to get a job. I know lots of Oxbridge Philosophy graduates, and none of them work in Philosophy (not even the one with a Batchelor of Philosophy which is a second degree, who is now a lawyer).

Add to this the fact that he is totally unsupportive of your own ambitions and needs.

I would think some long hard thinking yourself would be a good idea. What do you want to be doing in 5 years? How exactly is your family going to fund itself for the next few years?

rainrainandmorerain Sun 03-Feb-13 21:53:16

I don't know that he is taking the piss, necessarily - but it all sounds very optimistic and unrealistic. In order to get a lecturing job (in the end) he's going to have to compete with others, and if it's anything like other areas of academia, this will mean having published research work, a 'sexy' or relevant specialist area - it is so not a case of Phd leading straight to a good job. Research work is also very competitive.

None of this is a reason NOT to go into this line of work... but I just don't see how it will work with his family commitments. I have no doubt that is something he really enjoys, too - but unless he is truly outstanding and also very 'pushy' and competitive in terms of career, I just don't see this as leading to a fulfilling and lucrative job.

It might sound crazy as a comparison but from time to time, women post who have partners/husbands who are aspiring musicians/artists/sportsmen. They all have problems reconciling these uncertain professions with family life, especially as a lot of it seems to be about support 'now' for the promise of a dream career later. No one wants to be a dream-killer! And there's nothing to say that any of us have to give up our dreams when we have kids. But it nearly always means compromise and having to take a different and usually longer route to what we want.

I think fwiw your dp would be much better off getting a PGCE and then looking at doing a part time phd. He could at least do some part time/supply teaching and find out whether that suited him, and it would mean he had some more choice wrt paid work.

mummytime Sun 03-Feb-13 22:37:04

Also whilst it is not required for University lecturers to be qualified, most places are now requiring them to "qualify on the job".

ImperialBlether Sun 03-Feb-13 22:57:56

Btw I don't know what he thought he'd be teaching in FE. He might be able to teach A level RS - most FE colleges don't offer Philosophy. FE colleges offer re-sit GCSEs so he could be teaching school level then, too.

I think he'd do better taking a vocational course next.

mrsbunnylove Sun 03-Feb-13 23:22:56


i'd be wanting this man to have some counselling, to help him get his mind clear.

does he want to be with you and the children, or is this his way of saying he wants to get away? not trying to be unkind, but if he's bright enough to study philosophy he can work out the effect a move might have on the family.
before anything else happens, he needs to sort out what he wants.

i have reservations about the 'he has to do something vocational/ he has responsibilities' posts. you and he, and the children, are already coping with health issues and frankly need to put yourselves first. if funding can be arranged while he follows his dream, let him do it.

and what about you? what are your needs and your dreams? do they include him? do they depend on him? if he moves away from the family to study (a weekly commute would be hellish, don't even consider it) would you survive financially, practically and emotionally? if you saw him at the end of term? or if he left permanently?

he needs to be clear about what he wants. you need to be clear about what you want. no covering up or thinking that although he says one thing now he will do something else in the end. and when you're both clear, you need to talk it through and make proper plans for your future.

Erimentha Mon 04-Feb-13 00:22:44

Thank you all so much for your input, it is really helping me get things clearer in my head and is helping me to identify and ask the hard questions.

Soloman he is a very committed student (a bit too committed if you ask me) last semester wasn't as bad but this semester he has lectures and seminars every day which require large amounts of reading, he has 2 assignments due, an assessed debate, 2 exams and a double dissertation between now and may.

mummytime. To be honest I don't really know what I would like to be doing myself in 5 years time. At the minute I'm just taking each day at a time, aside from grandiose ideas that would never happen (disabilities magically disappearing) I guess I really just kind of like my life as it is. I would like to be able to do more crafting and potentially be able to sell some of my work to earn a little extra money.

mrsbunnylove he says he wants to be with me and the children, sometimes I'm not to sure. But I am absolutely convinced that he would never knowingly intentionally do something that would hurt us or be of detriment to us. I think he just has a rosy idea of what life would be like and can't currently see the issues I can see. My needs and dreams do include him, he is my husband and intended on sharing my life with him. Do they depend on him, no. Could we survive financially if he moved away? Probably -I guess we would have too, it's one of those things that you can't change by wistfull thinking you just have to get on with really. Surviving practically and emotionally would be a much bigger and harder to surmount hurdle.

He is going to speak to some people at Uni tomorrow to get more of an idea about some of the suggestions given on here. Once we have all the information we are going to sit down and have a discussion about it and hopefully come to some sort of compromise. I guess we will see where we go from there, the best case scenario would be him being able to go straight in and do a PhD at the Uni he is currently at as that would work out the best for everyone involved but I'm not sure of the likelihood of that happening.

mrsbunnylove Mon 04-Feb-13 00:35:01

i hope it works out well for you.

Erimentha Mon 04-Feb-13 00:49:24

Thank you! I know a lot of people have warned me about a career in academia and I have taken those warnings on board and told my DH about my concerns. I can hardly tell him that I won't allow him to peruse his dream or give him an ultimatum, Uni or us as I really don't think that is fair and would probably end up breaking resentment. He has to make his own decisions, but should he make ones that are consistently to the detriment to the rest of the family then I will have to make my own decisions from that.

He has however said if I asked him not to do it, he wouldn't. I just don't want to be the person who kills his dream, I think he is old enough and smart enough to figure out the right thing on his own.

I am quite chuffed that my first mumsnet post was in AIBU and I think, unless I missed something that I got a unanimous YANBU. I was totally expecting to get flamed and told of course IWBU.

Erimentha Mon 04-Feb-13 00:50:31

breeding not breaking. Autocorrect and no glasses is a bad combo

madwomanintheattic Mon 04-Feb-13 01:08:46

How on earth are a married couple with children, and no one earning any money, planning on grandiose studying for ten entire years?

Seriously, I would love to know.

Dh works ft and earns a reasonable wage, but there is no way on this sweet earth that I can trot off for a phd at the mo, as my childcare expenses would cripple me. However much of a job I imagined I would get at the end of it. (Fwiw I have three kids, two with special needs - I finished my first degree having given birth to dd1, breaks feeding her and typing my thesis in the silent hours one handed.)

I am loving that your concerns are merely around moving house (something I wouldn't think twice about, tbh - I've followed dh all over the world with no support network for disabilities, and it's easy enough to manage) and not 'how the actual frick are we going to pay for this?)

If, for whatever reason - robbed a bank/ won the lottery - you genuinely don't have to fret over a family not earning for ten entire years, then just let him follow his whims and get on with it, and buy n the support you need. Stay where you are if you want, to, or move with him and set up a new support network.

Frankly, I'm just madly jealous that you appear to have three source for this to even be a genuine thought process. I sweat blood to try to study with a family, and that's with at least one of us working ft, and with me working evenings and weekends and any day during the week I can. Ere is no way on earth I could trip off to uni five days a week all day every day. And I don't know any other mature students with families that do either.

He has got the absolute life of Reilly. I just want to know how you've enabled him to do it. envy

madwomanintheattic Mon 04-Feb-13 01:10:30

With due apologies for the stupid autocorrect on this damned iPad that has made my post virtually unreadable. <sigh>

mumblechum1 Mon 04-Feb-13 08:02:16

I'm assuming that the OP is working FT in a lucrative job, or that either she or the dh has a private income.

Erimentha Mon 04-Feb-13 08:46:20

madwoman my DH wants to pay for the MA either by a funded place, loan or his family's generosity. As to what we are going to live on while he is doing it, I have no fricking clue and once I have got to the bottom of where he wants to go I will quickly be following up with 'and what are we supposed to live on while you do it?' The PhD, he wants to do part time while working and it is a lot more versatile in location so I don't really have as many concerns about that.

We currently manage on a small income, much frugality, savings and family support (his family) we certainly are not rolling in it by any stretch of the imagination.

Before he embarked on this course he worked FT but had pretty much reached the ceiling, he wanted to retrain in something he wanted to do, something he was passionate about and something which at the end of it he could support the family much better with so we wouldn't always have to be so frugal.

rainrainandmorerain Mon 04-Feb-13 10:13:03


I have said it before, but I think if at this stage, you are living (if only partly) off savings and his family doesn't seem to be sustainable. Would his family be happy to bankroll him or your family through his time studying, if that's going to take nearly ten years??

And how long until your savings run out?

I do see how this might have been a plan for a finite undergraduate course - but I don't understand how it could continue.

And again, I do understand him wanting to do a course he loves, and to work doing something he loves - where this is all falling down is with the assumption that it will give him a lucrative job at the end of it with which he will be better able to support his family. It is sounding rather like he WANTS this to be true than it being a realistic and well researched career choice.

rainrainandmorerain Mon 04-Feb-13 10:21:47

I think too that having a plan to retrain in a different career is fine. Lots of us do it.

But from the outset, his plan seems to have involved taking TEN YEARS to do it. And it's a subject/area with few jobs in anyway.

I think the beat thoughts on the thread have come from posters taking the wider or longterm perspective. I'm a bit slow off the mark! but I've just thought, TEN YEARS?? to retrain?

I do know someone who has gone back to uni to do medicine, as they've decided they want to become a doctor, and that's going to take a heck of a long time - they are doing it by a mix of taking sabbaticals and part time study, as they have children and another (luckily flexible) job. I take my hat off to them, because that is a huge investment of time and energy (and money) - but can see that medicine is an area with some jobs in, at least.

BubaMarra Mon 04-Feb-13 11:08:14

Please read this article and ask your DH to read it as well.

It's longish, but it covers so many different aspect of PhD including health and financial aspects. It's worth reading whatever he decides to do.

This sums it up:

Doing a PhD will break you. It's pretty much designed to break you. Yes, even you, you who are brilliant (that almost goes without saying; it's because you're brilliant that you're contemplating doing a PhD in the first place).

SolomanDaisy Mon 04-Feb-13 12:04:27

If he is genuinely spending that long on his undergraduate work, I would be concerned about the impact that higher level study will have on you as a family. He is attaining good grades through a disproportionate amount of effort, so the amount of work he needs to do at the next level is likely to be higher.

His plan is not a well thought out career goal. Most PhD students who are lucky enough to get teaching work alongside the PhD are actually studying full-time. If he is determined, the only way this seems achievable for you as a family is for him to stay at his current university on condition he can achieve research studentships and study full-time. You'll then have to be prepared to move or live separately when he completes his PhD. This is a consequence of him deciding that a Philosophy degree and higher study are good ways to support his family...

Erimentha Mon 04-Feb-13 12:27:34

BubaMarra thank you for the link, I have read it though and forwarded it to DH along with my specific concerns relating to that article.

Soloman I agree with the amount of work involved. He already gets stressed trying to fit everything in and it can only get worse/harder the higher up he goes.

pinktwinkle Mon 04-Feb-13 13:00:19

Erimentha - you said earlier about how you DH "he needs to be in taught group situation." I just wonder how he will deal with the 'going it alone' orientation of a PhD where he might only occasionally meet his supervisor and will have to motivate himself to carry out the literature review, empirical work etc.

FWIW, the academic jobs environment is very precarious and seriously not one I'd be looking to enter if I could have my time over. My students are great but departmental politicking can be challenging. I know many academics who feel this way.

Also, another voice for not necessarily needing an MA in advance of a PhD.

takeaway2 Mon 04-Feb-13 20:38:07

Have you read this published today in the guardian?
Hope that links - am on phone now.

Erimentha Mon 04-Feb-13 21:28:59

I hadn't read it, thank you for the link. I will read it now and pass the link onto DH too. Hopefully I will eventually get through to him.

Higheredserf Mon 04-Feb-13 22:23:27

The last lectureships advertised within my department attracted around 100 applicants.

Academia is not all about teaching either, the best way to gain employment especially if he wants to work at certain Universities would be his publication record.It's all about the REF <breaks out in cold sweat>. It takes months, sometimes years to write journal articles and books.

Some Universities do offer teaching only posts, they tend to be poorly paid. Think 26k pa, many are temporary posts. I have a few friends who are still signing up to one year teaching posts and having to move around. Three of them are getting close to 40. They can't get mortgages, they are not settled.

I do know someone that made Professor at 38, he bought in a million pounds of research money, science subject though.

Tutorials are taught by PhD students within my department, great for experience and they are paid at 25 pounds per hour. This does not include preparation time, they tend to get between two to five hours teaching per week.

Apart from my thoughts on the state of academia, I think as you have poor health the effect on you losing your support network is too much to ask. Out of interest what age would he be in ten years?

Kiwiinkits Mon 04-Feb-13 23:55:56

Does anyone remember the professional golfer thread? This one has similarities...
Do a search, OP

Kiwiinkits Tue 05-Feb-13 00:01:07

Anyone else get the irony that his specialism is ethics, yet he sees nothing ethically challenging in the decision he's making with regards his family finances? Oh dear. Ethical challenge fail.

Kiwiinkits Tue 05-Feb-13 00:02:42
Kiwiinkits Tue 05-Feb-13 00:08:38

No, that's not the right thread sorry, hold on....

RoadtoSussex Tue 05-Feb-13 06:59:21

Gawd, I remember the one about the professional golfer, the one about the musician who wanted to go to Nashville, the one about the musician who wanted full time childcare for his children despite being at home most of the time, the one about the musician who enjoyed himself on tour a bit too much....

All men who felt that nothing should get in the way of their dreams!

My opinion is, encourage him to do the MA, but you will not be moving. After that, if he wants to do a PhD, fine, but it has to be self financing (by working) in a way that maintains the family and does NOT add to any debt. Oh, and, you will get at least one full clear day each week to do the things you want to do.

MerryCouthyMows Tue 05-Feb-13 07:41:52

I speak from the experience of having list a career due to a diagnosis of epilepsy.

I was an on-site architect before my diagnosis.

After a couple of years of depression, I would have done (and really was going to do) what your husband wants to do - upheave the whole family to do more, specific training.

I didn't.

Because I had children with SN's and disabilities that I couldn't uproot from their support networks.

Which is why I think your DH needs a reality check. This just isn't going to work.

If your DH's epilepsy is such that he still can't hold a driving license (you only have to be seizure free for ONE year), and you foresee that he won't have a car or license for the duration of an MA and Phd, then his epilepsy isn't that well controlled.

Epilepsy can and does get worse with stress. Taking on this much studying at the same time as having a family is incredibly stressful, unless he is planning on opting out of the shitwork of having children.

Which isn't acceptable. Leaving you with all the hard work is not on. I truly get where he is coming from emotionally though, it knocks the stuffing out of you to be unable to do the career that you had wanted to do, for YEARS.

It is VERY hard, as someone with epilepsy, to get work in ANY job. All the jobs I have had post diagnosis have been entry-level retail jobs.

I am kind of on the fence here slightly, I can TOTALLY understand your DH's point of view, his employment prospects with epilepsy that isn't controlled enough to hold a driving license are frankly shite. REALLY shite.

But I am falling more on your 'side' so to speak, because you MEED your support network around you when you have had MH issues, AND you have a DC with disabilities. Moving would be the worst thing ever for you.

I think he needs to understand that if his epilepsy worsens, which it can and does, then an MA and/or a Phd might not be possible to complete for health reasons.

Currently my epilepsy is at the point where I cannot work at all. At other times, I've managed to work PT, but FT work always puts too much strain on me and worsens my seizures.

This is, basically, a REALLY crappy situation for your family to be in, and I don't know how to resolve this in a way that meets all of your needs, because their isn't one.

Either way, one of you is going to have to sacrifice a LOT. Either you or your DH. But I can't tell you who would feel the most resentful in the long run.

Whoever does the sacrificing, be it your DH sacrificing his dreams of an MA and a Phd so that you don't have to move, or you sacrificing your support networks and counsellor (I know how hard it is to find the 'right' counsellor), one of you is giving up everything.


MerryCouthyMows Tue 05-Feb-13 07:45:49

Ugh. Excuse the typos and the grammatical errors - my joints are bad and Autocorrect is a bastard.

mumblechum1 Tue 05-Feb-13 07:47:52

"Whoever does the sacrificing, be it your DH sacrificing his dreams of an MA and a Phd so that you don't have to move, or you sacrificing your support networks and counsellor (I know how hard it is to find the 'right' counsellor), one of you is giving up everything"

Sadly I think that you would both end up losing everything if you move, you are guaranteed to lose your support network and counsellor and his is almost certainly (going by what the academics on this thread say), guaranteed to sacrifice his dream of MA, Phd and lucrative career.

Lomaamina Tue 05-Feb-13 20:24:42

I am going to add my vote to this unanimous (a record?) AIBU and say: don't do it. I'm an academic and only last week I was counselling a brilliant PhD student to not count on an academic career path, even though she was fully funded on a studentship and has great prospects. There is no way you can count on any job in academia, let alone enough to support a family. If you're lucky. I mean, seriously lucky then yes you might get a lectureship post PhD, but to get there you have to make massive sacrifices and that's without taking account of your particular circumstances of needing the particular support network you've built around you. It is a pipe dream your DH is following and - I'm sorry to say - a selfish one.

I'd also reinforce the point about Master's and PHD studies each being major shifts in demands for independent learning. You have to be super self-reliant to get through both. That's particularly the case with part-time PhDs. Their attrition rate is even higher than full-time ones.

There may or may not be a direct route from a BA to a PhD in Philosophy. It is much more typical in the natural sciences and much less so in arts and humanities. Indeed, even in the sciences there is an increasing requirement for PhD students to have proven their abilities through successful completion of a Master's (or MRes).

I completely sympathise with your not wanting to be the one who is shutting off your DH's dream. You don't want him to forever be able to 'blame' you (even if only in his heart) that it is supposedly your fault that he wasn't able to pursue this route. Somehow he needs to reach the conclusion on his own. My advice, for what it's worth is to pile on the evidence, like all those useful links given you above and let him reach the conclusion on his own.

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