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From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development
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12/10/11
Career Discussion. Dual Career couples
Filed under: Position Searching, Networking, Job Offer (Situations), Post-docs, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 5:10 pm

At a certain point many of us face a decision when
both participants in a couple have professional careers:
 > who is the leading partner,
 > who is the following partner,
 > or should we have a temporary separated existence?

It is a difficult decision.  Some couples make the decision
strictly on a monetary basis.  That is not the only way.

This past week several couples, both near to graduation and
recent grads spoke to me about where they are in
their career decision processes.
This blog entry describes case studies and tries not
to prescribe.  It will offer quick background summaries,
recent results and follow up discussions.

WORK IN PROGRESS:
ACADEMIC POSITION SEEKING PARTNER,
 DISTANT POST-DOC PARTNER
One couple has “partner 1″ finishing his degree in
January and “partner 2″ already finished in a nice
post-doc 500 miles away from her partner’s current
location.  Partner 1 is interviewing for full time tenure-track
positions.  Two interviews have recently been completed
and results should be announced within about a month.

They recognize the temporary nature of the 2’s post-doc
and feel, if successful, they would likely choose a
safe, secure, nearest-to-partner-2, full time position
for partner 1.
Their thinking is that partner 2 is better able to find
a strong position within the local area of 1 and 2, if
they are closely located.  They seek fewer moves.

DISCUSSION
Another tactic looks two steps ‘down the road.’
Look at the eventual offers of the full time positions
from both and evaluate the greater geographic areas
of the offers — which one provides greater long term
hiring.
-Get your networks working about this.
-Get connected to people who can be a hub in the
new location.  [ACS is a terrific national resource for
this.]

DEFERENCE TO FULL TIME POSITION:
TWO PH.D. GRADUATES:  BOTH WITH OFFERS
Partner 1 has received a full time offer in Cincinnati.
Partner 2 has a promising post-doc in her field that will
propel her career 500 miles away.

They have decided not to split up but move to
Cincinnati.  They will inquire with the firm and
ask for help finding a position. 

In a similar tactic, involve your networks in finding
hidden positions for partner 2. 

There are differences between these first two cases
1.     one of the positions is a permanent position
in an industrial firm.
2.     offers have been made and relocation trips
have been taken, the permanent position has been
accepted.
3.     Cincinnati has a regional presence of Fortune
500 companies and industries which can be
opportunities.  {More significant factor}

It is possible that the security of the academic
position might be just as long/short as the industrial
firm, in these economic times.

JOINT DECISION OF TWO PH.D.S ONE
POST-DOC, ONE PERMANENT POSITION
Partner 1 is in his second year in a TN post-doc. 
Partner 2 was offered a less than median salary in
a  two-year rotational assignment role
(1000 miles away from TN). 
Partner 2 also has a post-doc offer in a top 20 university,
less than 2 hours drive away (100 miles from TN).

She decided the location of the permanent position
was too far (1000 miles) and salary did not justify
continued separation and expected costs.  The post-doc
offers higher longer term prospects and allows the
couple to delay the more permanent location choice.

Action items:  Consider a permanent location which
has a diversity of industries that can allow better
career management.  In larger, growing metropolitan
areas a person can move from one company to another
without having to relocate.  This is where the post-doc
position is located.

DEFERENCE TO LONG TERM GOAL
ONE PH.D. MARRIED, SPOUSE IN AUSTRALIA
Partner 1 expects to graduate very soon and has
interviewed and been offered a full-time position.
Partner 1 has applied for proper Australian visa. 
If the visa is granted within a couple of weeks of
the offer,
evaluate the trade-offs the full time position
provides in terms of experience, expanding
her network and compensation.

Recently, Partner 1 received her visa notification.

ACTION ITEMS:
Recast the resume into a form for the Australian
job market.  Begin marketing, finding openings
and leading employers in Australia.

This topic is not given enough attention for our
foreign born graduates and post docs.  You have
to be in their shoes to understand. 

1 comment
Academic interviews. After Actions Review
Filed under: Interviewing, Position Searching, Job Offer (Situations)
Posted by: site admin @ 2:58 pm

RG interviewed at two principally undergraduate chemistry
and chemistry-biology departments within the last two weeks.
He felt good about his experiences and thought he could
interview better.

We decided to talk through a interview review session to
identify learnings he had and he could share his insights
from the experience with our readership.  [If you are
interested, this note addresses in a personalized way
the Academic interview branch After the interview of the
Interview continuum from the article:
Before, During and After Interviews.]

The first institution he visited was in the eastern US
and had eight current full time members.  His position
would replace one currently held by a person retiring
soon.  The visit was planned to start off with a airport
pick up by one of the younger faculty (host) in the first
afternoon, hotel check-in and dinner.

The second day involved hotel pick up by the host,
meetings with provost, dean, and chair, a technical
presentation, a classroom presentation on Grignard
reactions (I re-learned the involvement of magnesium
as an organometallic reaction of an alkyl or aryl
magnesium halide with a ketone or aldehyde forming
a C-C bond.), panel meetings with other faculty,
and dinner.  It seemed like a slower changing,
small-city environment a hundred miles from three
NFL football teams.

The take-aways were– don’t fly through Philadelphia
[CHECK WITH PEOPLE WHO FLY TO KNOW
WHERE NOT TO FLY THRU– MANY DELAYS.]
and to practice the demonstration lecture more before
giving it.

The second interview was at a PUI within driving
distance which afforded a more relaxed schedule
than the first institution.  He drove around the
university living area and had more time to take
things in.  [Close to a large urban center.] This
was a smaller faculty of three (although the
website lists 4.) and where he met with not only
the chair, but also the President of the College,
Provost, and a number of college
students
This institution emphasized a unique
educational philosophy
which the president
promoted and the desire to have someone who
would make good use of a 400 MHz NMR.

These were significant tips to play off from in
the overall interview.  He did.

RG sent personalized t-y letters to all interviewees.
We talked of a interview review process which
involved detailing his likes, dislikes, areas of
personal interview performance improvement,
planned follow-ups and activities.

Speak to people in his network who went to
the schools, or currently go to the schools

Search and capture all current news about
the departments and schools

Assess:  do both meet his threshold of where
he wishes to teach?  If not, why and develop
professional ways of expressing this if he is
offered and does not accept.

Compare and contrast:  What does his gut
say about preference?
what are his key decision factors in priority
order?  Rank each institution.

Research grants:  Where would he apply?

Start laying the ground work for where
ever he lands.  Make contacts with people
who have passed this hurdle.  He had done
a lot already.

Develop a downside back-up plan, if
neither provides a strong offer.

Then, there is the “two body problem
he faces and several others who I met
during the day face.  Topic for the next
blog entry.

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