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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 ;)

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.

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