I'm an academic and I've dedicated 5 years of my life to getting here and DH wants me to leave my job....(188 Posts)
Just that really DH hates my job and wants me to leave. I have spent the last 3 years doing a PhD, which I completed early last year with no issues and was extremely lucky to walk straight into a permanent senior lectureship (like gold dust in my sector!). However the strain on universities now and what they expect from their staff is immense (or maybe it is just my institution?!). To do my job well (which is the only I way I want to work) I have to put in 50+ hours a week, often more, and continuously dart from stressful situation to stressful situation. I've seen a number of colleagues go off on long term stress and mental health problems, which sadly then increases the strain on the rest of the team. The thing is I love my job, I absolutely love it, I just don't like the amount of it I am supposed to do on a weekly basis.
Dh, quite rightly I feel, hates it, he feels it is impeding too much on our family time, quality of life and more than anything my emotional state - which impacts on me as a parent etc. He is extremely supportive at home and takes on 80% of the household stuff and children school runs etc. I've tried lowering my work load, seeking support from management etc and all to no avail. I'm expected to teach a ridiculous number of hours (with all the prep, assessment and marking that comes with that), oversee students well-being, provide students with one to one support, carry out high level research, generate income, publish high level academic articles, oh and of course write a book or two on the way.... Just not sure where to turn - stick it out and hope it gets easier, or go back to the career I had where I was on equal money, and closed my inbox down at 5pm each day, but I was unhappy!
Before I can answer I'd like to know what sort of hours you work?
Are we talking 4am until 6pm or are we talking 9am until 9pm?
No way should you give this up for DH. What’s his job? What’s his hours?
50 hours a week is pretty normal for a full time job. Cant your DH become a SAHP if he feels one is needed?
Its not a single solid block and changes weekly - I'm normally in the office 8-5, but that changes depending on weekend teaching/ evening teaching. I tend to always have to pick up emails or respond to things between about 7.30-10pm, and often 5-7am (depending on day) etc - if I'm at home I try to work when children asleep, so lots of early mornings - late evenings.
Can you carve out some immovable slots, like no work on a Tuesday & Thursday between 4pm and 8pm. No work on a Saturday before 5pm? That way things might seem more predictable and more manageable?
P.s. just sat here and worked out hours for last week - 68... I need to manage this better.
Do you earn significantly more than your DH? If so is this an issue? Would he reduce his hours if he works full time or become a SAHD. It sounds like you have role reversal going on here and your DH doesn't like it.
50 hours is normal (sadly) so your DH is being unreasonable. Do not give up your job for him. What hours does he do? Is he jealous that you are progressing and doing well? Is it a secure relationship?
That is too many hours -it is around 10 hours per day 7 day each week. Sounds like you have no time left over for you or your family.
Personally I don’t think anyone should let their job negatively impact on family life, if there’s any alternative.
Surely there’s a way to take your old job and still guest lecture/tutor, or a new different job utilising your skills?
Sorry OP, but something has to give and I’m on the side of your DH. Not the hours specifically, but if it’s affecting your emotional state and making everything stressful for the whole family, it’s time to rethink.
And I say this as a part time professional in a career it took me 14 years to achieve. Sometimes you have to choose a path that’s second best at work, for the good of everyone at home.
Can you get additional help? cleaner, extended childcare, dog walker help for example? My DH and I both have very busy careers and something had to give as we were run ragged between us. It’s certainly not about bailing him out of chores and housework because he’s a man, but rather realising that your chosen job puts him under undue pressure in addition to the the pressure you are required to bear as part of your job description. He sounds like he’s got your interests and the interests of your family unit at heart - I think maybe by evaluating where you can outsource and prioritising could help rebalance quality family time. Just a thought. It worked for us.
I genuinely don't feel this is Dh being selfish, jealous, etc, he is not like that at all. I think his concern is more about the pressure it puts on me - he works part time and that suits our family well (joint decision made when I took this job) and I think he's very happy - we've talked about alternatives.
Is there the opportunity to do this as a job share with one of the other professors who is also feeling the strain? I'm not sure 68 hours is sustainable...
Sounds like you are working way too much... but you need to work out how to lessen the load.
Absolutely do not give up a job you love and have worked hard for. But nobody should be working every evening/weekends/early mornings
Sack off the research side until you can better manage the teaching load?
I also work in a university and things are insane. But you have to put your health (physical and mental) first.
50 hours may be "normal" but it is not reasonable.
I wonder if you might sit down and think about this as if you were about to retire, and ask whether you are looking back onto something that you feel happy about in terms of work/life balance. You might decide that you will think it was all worth it; or you might look at the small amount of time you were able to spend with the children in their short and irretrievable childhoods and regret it.
I think you should go back to the management of whatever institution you are working for and state clearly that this is neither reasonable nor tenable in the long term. They have a duty of care to you as their employee. They are currently failing in that duty.
Yeah I was going to say 50 is normal but now you’ve worked it out at 68 it makes more sense
What you need is a seinsible mentor who can help you figure out how to make your workload manageable. It IS possible!
I'm currently sitting in my office almost in tears reading this and reflecting. I've a lecture I must write, my email box is pinging away with all these different things I have got to do and a colleague has just ranted at me for getting something to her this morning - which should have been there on friday evening (not that anyone was going to look at it over the weekend!!!) - which I spent the whole weekend writing and I really want to get my coat and walk out - instead I came on here.... but really must write lecture.... Rhi - not massively an option given REF, HPandBacon yes that is it - Dh is a really good man, if he is saying this I know he has thought long and hard about it.
I am also am academic. I had a few years out of work while having my kids. When it came to finding a job again my ex suggested I look for non academic jobs and said 'my brother is really intelligent and he's a train driver!' 😂😂😂 I didn't follow his advice. I think you would regret it if you have up your career, unless you have independent reasons to want to get away from the strain of academia (which would be understandable). Can you get a grant to reduce the teaching? I have learnt to concentrate all my energy in my research and to aim for 'just good enough' with teaching and admin. There are some good academic support groups on Facebook, like Women In Academia Support Network that you might find useful.
(To clarify: there is absolutely nothing wrong with being a train driver, but it is certainly not something I'd want to do after investing years developing am academic career.)
My children are young as well - they deserve more of my time and focus. I cannot keep juggling as I am.
I have learnt to concentrate all my energy in my research and to aim for 'just good enough' with teaching and admin.
This is good advice.
Choices You have a lot on your plate and are struggling! (I get it, I'm a single parent with a full time SL job and a 60 mile commute). Don't check emails first thing - they swallow up your time ... Leave it till later when you have used up your sharpest brain hours on research or whatever else is important to you. It's fine to be late with stuff - everyone is. Can you talk to your HoD or mentor about how you are struggling?
Will the work get easier once you've been in this job for a year or so? As in, can you reuse lectures and other course work?
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