Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Trailing Spouse Bloggers?

I got this rather interesting question in my inbox this morning, and though I can't help the correspondent, I thought I'd put it up as my post today: first, because I believe that some of you out there can probably help her find what she's looking for, and second, because I have little to report.
Hello! I'm the spouse of a PhD student who is super close to finishing up (and claims that process will go much faster if he can just land a job already). I have a BA and work in a university library, but am not pursuing grad school, as I don't know what I'd want to do there. So, we are an academic and a (para?)academic. My job isn't a career, so I gladly said I'd go with him wherever he gets his post-doc. That was years ago, and I had no idea how long it would be, and how that kind of limbo would affect my life and sanity, as well as my autonomy. I started a blog to work out my anxieties, and in looking for similar blogs, I can't find them. I can find academic couples, but no voices from those that are (and I hate this term) trailing. Have you heard through the grapevine about anything from people who are married/with young academics and their travails?
How 'bout it readers: Have you?

On an unrelated note: Here's something I photographed the other day, right before I gobbled it up:

21 comments:

Juliette said...

I think there are a few threads for people in this sort of situation to offer each other mutual support in the forum over at phdcomics.com (The messagwe board called The Vortex is the place to go!). The comic, Piled Higher and Deeper, is also hilarious and a good way to reassure both PGs and their partners/spouses that they're not alone!

Emily said...

I'm afraid I don't have any helpful hints, but I'd love to know the name of your correspondent's blog, if it can be shared.

Anonymous said...

As the finishing-up-the-PhD half of another academic/librarian couple, I would also love to know the name of your correspondent's blog if ze is comfortable sharing.

Despite my husband's kind and apparently honest reassurances that he doesn't mind following me on a postdoc or job whenever I bring it up, I do worry about the psychological repercussions of him "trailing" (and oh, do I hate that word, too!) and it would be so helpful to read about someone else's experience from that side.

As for blogs, well, he has a couple but doesn't talk a bit about any of this stuff on them, and I've been equally unsuccessful and finding other ones out there on this topic. Good luck finding more!

Anonymous said...

There is a community for this kind of people over at www.livejournal.com. I think it's called loveandacademia or something similar.

Comrade PhysioProf said...

Holy fucknoly! That fucking thing looks fucking delicioso! DROOL!

Comrade PhysioProf said...

It's in a pool of fucking ponzu sauce! AHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Notorious Ph.D. said...

Keep those suggestions coming, folks. And sorry, my correspondent didn't give me the url of her blog, but if she'd like to chime in and post it, it sounds like it would be welcome -- I'll gladly link to it in the body of the post.

and CPP: it was delicious. Wrapped in a thin layer of cucumber rather than rice and/or seaweed. Perfect for the super-hot day we were having.

R.B. said...

Hi! I'm the mysterious library paraprofessional. I felt kinda jerky cold-emailing Notorious PhD, but it looks like it paid off.

My blog is orbitingacademe.blogspot.com, but it's a little whiny. I'm trying my best to write really well so I can possibly be help to other people in my situation. I'm also trying to toe the line between really talking about what's going on, and still being anonymous.

Thank you a million times everybody.

haphazardmusings said...

My situation is complicated, because I'm a new (and unemployed) Ph.D. with a spouse who is also in academia. Depending on our ability to secure long-term employment in a new location in the next two years, either one of us could become a trailing spouse. Hysteria ensues!

R.B., I'll definitely be following your blog, if only to get your perspective. This is a complicated and emotional issue that does not get discussed nearly enough!

Notorious Ph.D. said...

Thanks, R.B. -- I've linked to your blog in the post now. I think this is a serious issue, and that mutual support is essential. And if there aren't other blogs like yours out there, then perhaps you'll inspire others in your situation to start them!

Historiann said...

R.B., it sounds like your situation is complicated by the fact that you're not a trailing spouse. That is, your partner doesn't have a job yet.

I say the first one of you to land a job in your chosen field gets the move. You can't put your life on hold unless and until something comes through for him. Maybe it will help you feel less uncertain if you choose a date for him to either get an academic job that's acceptable to you, or a date by which he needs to find other gainful employment.

Historiann said...

And p.s. to Notorius: I didn't realize that you are a sushitarian! That opens up whole new possiblities.

R.B. said...

Historiann, you're right. My anxieties are more about what's to come. I've got some definite cognitive dissonance about wanting so much for him to succeed but also not wanting to be in his shadow. Currently, don't have a career path (I'm not a librarian), so it seems fair that the person who's got a plan gets to see it through first.

And he hasn't been lagging, per se. I'm just a lady who likes to know what is going to happen. It's uncertainty mixed with a dangerous cocktail of new-convert feminist angst.

Notorious, thank you for giving me this bandwidth.

expatriatelife said...

Although I don't have specific links to academic trailing spouses, your TS should consider joining Trailing Spouse Network on LinkedIn and also Families in Global Transition both of which are very active groups. Families in Global Transition is also on Twitter (@crossingculture) and Facebook. There is a huge global network out there of trailing spouses in general (male and female) where I'm sure she'll find some fellow soul mates.

nicoleormaggie said...

My husband is a trailing spouse. We settled at a university in the middle of nowhere with a good spousal hire policy as that's the way they capture and keep good faculty. This year he took family leave unpaid to follow me on my sabbatical and has had a great year.

Because there are so many trailing spouses and the university creates new jobs for them and pays for part of their salary the first two years, nobody here seems resentful of them. Though one of my colleagues who is a trailing spouse, who we centered an entire program around (including additional hires) when we were lucky enough to get her, is always talking down about herself as "just a trailing spouse," which is ridiculous.

Notorious Ph.D. said...

Thanks for the comments, all. Nicoleormaggie, how fortunate for you and your spouse that your employer works on hiring this way.

But R.B.'s situation is a bit different: her partner is ABD, and she's not an academic herself. There's a lot of uncertainty there as she puts her own decisions on hold while she waits for her partner to finish and go on the market.

Anna M Blanch said...

Hi all, I'm finding this discussion interesting. I usually don't leave links in comments but because you're looking for resources can I add this post into the mix: http://goannatree.blogspot.com/2010/03/things-we-wish-we-knew-when-we-started.html

It's a post written by a friend of mine about being a Graduate School/Faculty (trailing) spouse as part of a series on things we wish we'd known when we started graduate school!

nicoleormaggie said...

I disagree that she's not an academic herself. She works in an academic library...even without a graduate degree that means she's the type of person a university can place if they have those policies. There are a lot of academic positions out there besides faculty.

Notorious Ph.D. said...

n-

I'm merely respecting my correspondent's own self-identification in her e-mail as a para-academic, and underlining what she pointed out: that there's a lot out there for the more typical "two-body problem", but very little for situations like hers.

Anonymous said...

I'm also a soon-to-be-trailing spouse and it is very awkward, so I'll be following your blog too from now on.

I'm just finishing up a postdoc in mathematics but decided that this career isn't right for me, and living away from my boyfriend for the last two years has been horrible, so I'm following him to his postdoc - when he gets one.

He's still writing his PhD and my contract/visa ends in two months. I don't know where I'm moving, but I have to move somewhere.

I need to find a new career, but I don't even know if I'll be allowed to work, or live in a country where I can afford to study. It's a bit stressful.

Anonymous said...

I am a trailing spouse. It is not easy giving up my career and follow him. It took me a long time to find my directions. I am still lost without having my job - my anchor.

I have started a blog recently. Contact me at movingspouse@gmail.com to network?