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DH wanting to apply for job in Scotland

71 replies

chewbacca83 · 16/09/2017 08:05

I met my husband who is an academic 4 years ago in the midlands when he was doing his PhD. I had my own business and was doing well. I'm from the midlands and live close to all my family and friends. He got a job 2 hours north at a prestigous university. For 2 years he commutes back and forth at weekends. He then proposed. I made the decision to close down my business, rent out my house and move to the city where he now has a 3 year contract at the university. I completely understand the life of an academic can be unpredictable and often they have to move where the work is until they get a lectureship position. We have good communication and we have always said our goal is to move back to the midlands where my family is especially as we are now trying for a baby. Dh has just been to a conference where he was strongly encouraged to apply for fellowship at a Scottish university. It potentially is a very good opportunity, I know there fellowships are hard to come by. I am also not averse to moving to another city for his career...technically I can work anywhere. BUT I don't want to move to Scotland. It's several hours from my family. We dont know anyone in this city. The position of he got it would mean he would have to stay there for 5-10 years. If it was just a couple of years i could cope I think. But my parents are in their 70s now. I want to be close by. I miss my friends as it is. Dh doesnt want to move if i dont want to. Hes very kind and thoughtful and I know he wants me to be happy. But he wants to apply for this position just to test the application process and to get experience. My worry is that if he passes each stage it will get to a point where I may be bad bad a corner because he will have a great job pop that may not come again. He has said he will give it 2 years to get into academia as his contract has 2 years left, he has already far a few attempts. I feel really selfish for saying I don't want to move to Scotland. Not going for this job could be detrimental to his career and I really want him to suceed as it is very competitive. What does everyone think?

OP posts:

SingingSeuss · 16/09/2017 12:52

I would jump at the chance to move to Scotland so may not be much help. It's lovely, and would be a great adventure. Why not try. If you hate it, move back. I think most regrets in life come from not doing things rather than the other way around.


Veronicat · 16/09/2017 13:37

I travel Glasgow to Exeter regularly.
Take the leap. Glasgow is fantastic.


chewbacca83 · 16/09/2017 15:00

I have visited glasgow once for a wedding and it seems like a great place....blumin freezing and wet though from what i remember haha😂

OP posts:

LivinTheHighLife · 16/09/2017 15:12

There will be so many variables.

I like Glasgow and Glasgow people but I'm going to admit I have said I could never move west again. It's the weather.
One thing you could do is check the weather forecast for there every time you check your current location and see what you think.


ArbitraryName · 16/09/2017 15:56

The weather is part of Glasgow's charm.


LtGreggs · 16/09/2017 21:28

Fair cop - get a decent raincoat and winter boots before you come up :-)


NikiBabe · 16/09/2017 21:31

Glasgow is an hour away from Edinburgh by train, a 90 minute drive to Carlisle.

A 45 minute drive to Loch Lomond.

Housing is very cheap and you can buy 4 bed houses for £200k.

There are lots of things to do and if it may wreck your dhs career if he doesn't, why not try?


chewbacca83 · 16/09/2017 23:30

Thanks for your advice everyone. I think the initial shock of Glasgow being on the table immediately sent me into a negative frame of mind, but actually it wouldn't be the end of the world

OP posts:

LillyLollyLandy · 16/09/2017 23:37

My parents live in Glasgow and my inlaws are in Birmingham. We live in London. We can get from Glasgow to just outside London in 6 hours so I'm not sure what you're basing your travel estimates on?


chewbacca83 · 16/09/2017 23:52

I was just going on Google maps which shows the quickest route to my parents house as around 6 hours from Glasgow. So depending on traffic you could add another hour on a Friday evening at least.Plus i like to stick to the speed limit😜

OP posts:

user1471134011 · 17/09/2017 09:37

I've strongly encountered the 'indentured servitude' model of thinking from DP and other academics. The idea that you are bound to these institutions and have to play the 'follow the job' game. There is such pressure placed on the partner to facilitate the academic often impacting their own job/relationships.
In case it needs other areas of work you can
Move cities
Stay in the same city
Change jobs
For everyone saying OP should up sticks to the North there are very few considering the impact on her - leaving friends, family etc. It isn't a moral failing on her part to want to stay near her family and she has already made significant sacrifices for this relationship


NikiBabe · 17/09/2017 12:46

There is such pressure placed on the partner to facilitate the academic often impacting their own job/relationships.

Very true actually.


Summerswallow · 17/09/2017 13:39

user I agree that academic jobs are definitely different than some other jobs - part of that is the problem of the job though, you can't just rock up at the local uni and expect there to be a lecturing post in your extremely niche area, jobs in your academic discipline are rare, have to be at the right level (so professorships really rare, teaching fellows not so much) and may even be only available internationally or every few years. It really isn't the same as, say, being a GP or a teacher where if you hang out in that local area for long enough, you will probably find work. So, the options to move are fewer than for some other professions, and probably more similar to jobs like certain types of law or being a diplomat where you have less flexibility to move, and end up with a trailing spouse.

That said, most of the academics I know do not have trailing spouses but tend to a) have other academics as their partners, this can work very well if they have no children and can travel/work as they want, or are older/have older children and freedom, I think it works less well when there is a senior male and a younger female who then ends up doing the bulk of childcare and scuppering their prospects just a time they need to be moving forward b) partners who are not in the academic world at all but either are happy to work from home (and move internationally, most academics I work with are not from the UK) e.g. as a consultant, or even not work that much at all. The worst pairing is ambitious academic and reasonably ambitious other professional tied to an area for work- because that leads to very tricky negotiations over who is going to take precedence, and often men win at the family stage, although I've noticed lately lots of the female profs/more senior women I know making bolder moves later in life once the children have left home, like to China, or setting up new institutes and so on.

I also agree the system is very old-fashioned and expects a kind of dependent spouse picking up the pieces type model- so I don't apply to certain types of fellowship as they always demand international sabbaticals of three months or more and I don't want to leave the country for three months or more (although I have friends who do and take the kids). We don't have spousal hire in the UK either, so if both parties are academics, every time one moves, the other may end up staying, so you end up with lots of LATS (Living Apart Togethers). I know lots of academics who live separately in the week, or even in the term and get back together on weekends/holidays.

I can see being the partner of an academic is very annoying. My husband told me he would move anywhere in the world to help my career, which I greatly appreciate. I didn't take him up on it as I like to stay close to home. I don't think the OP is being unreasonable in saying Midlands and North (if it is that wide) as a general region for job hunting as that's a lot of unis, but basically, the more flexible and international you are, the quicker and better the jobs will be- and however unfair this is, that's the case. I know I could be promoted immediately by moving institution, I choose not to as I like it where I am.


Ttbb · 17/09/2017 13:54

TBH it doesn't sound d like his academic career is going too well, I don't think he should be looking s gift horse in the mouth even if it happens to be in Edinburgh (I'm assuming it's Edinburgh otherwise why even bother?)


Sunbeam18 · 17/09/2017 14:32

A 4-bed house for £200k?? Whereabouts in Glasgow is that?


NikiBabe · 17/09/2017 14:46

It was Glasgow i thought.


AgentCooper · 17/09/2017 15:02

I work at Glasgow Uni (not as an academic though I do have a PhD) and work with loads of academics who commute from Glasgow to elsewhere in the UK. Our train and plane links are great. And it is a lovely place to live - interesting, vibrant, friendly people, great restaurants and culture, loads of green space. Not just in the west end either, the southside is brilliant too.

One thing I will say - if it is Glasgow Uni and he really wants this post, he needs to be meticulous when filling out the application as our HR dept are ruthless. I've seen longterm colleagues on rolling fixed term contracts, who academics were desperate to get into the department on permanent posts, not get invited to interview for not ticking off one of the Essential Criteria or being a bit vague on it.


user1471134011 · 17/09/2017 17:25

summerswallow I really do understand the pressures, I took a 'stage left' into school teaching following my PhD. Ive made 3 moves for DP's academic career.

But there aren't many areas of MN where an OP can say " I moved, I closed my business, I rented my house and DP wants me to relocate again" ...And get a majority responding "that's a reasonable request to make of you". It feels on here at times that the partner's job/family/financial security/agency in the relationship is second to the needs of the academic career. I often wonder how posts like these would be responded to in 'AIBU' or Relationships


user918273645 · 17/09/2017 18:13

Academia isn't reasonable, though, and OP presumably knew that when she married her DH. Her DH may well face a (realistic) choice of this job or a job outside academia, perhaps having to start (again) at the bottom on a lowish salary of 20-25k.

I don't think she can post on this particular board and expect anything other than the suggestion of exploring the possibility of moving - if you aren't willing to move around the country, then you typically don't have a realistic chance of a permanent job in academia. Without knowing much more about her and her DH's circumstances, people can't really advise more than this. It is really up to her and her DH to decide how to balance their careers, families etc.


chewbacca83 · 17/09/2017 19:42

Yes I knew I would likely have to move a few times before settling. We were hopeful it wouldnt be so far away. I'm not particularly ambitious, I have a professional job in the NHS so can move around fairly easily. My DH wants to give his first choice career path a good shot but he also knows he may have to compromise and move into another sector if he can't secure a permanent job in the next 2 years. It's difficult by i knew what i was getting in to.

OP posts:

Sunbeam18 · 17/09/2017 20:57

Ttbb 'I'm assuming it's Edinburgh otherwise why even bother?'


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