So I know there has been discussion of negotiating for your spouse to also get an academic position if you get a TT offer, but I was wondering if anyone has had experience getting their spouse a non-academic position on campus as part of the negotiation process… for instance, in IT/helpdesk or in the veteran's affairs office (my spouse is a disabled veteran). Does anyone know if this is possible? Even something worth considering bringing up during negotiations?
Date: 22 Nov 2015 23:28
Number of posts: 7
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Yes. Possible. I'd wait until you have an offer in-hand though before you bring it up. Not sure what others think about that.
Can your spouse look on the HR websites of the places you applied and start his/her own applications independently of you, or at least come up with a list of some options?
I'm a newly minted assoc prof and when I first arrived our dept was awesome about finding my spouse a position, and she has been very happy in her job. In fact, one if the first things that tipped me off that my dept is made up really great people was how much all the faculty went out of their way to help me and my spouse.
It's WAY easier for faculty/administration to help with non-acdemic spousal hires than academic ones
I know I'm in the minority on this in the academic world, but why are academia employers expected to find jobs for spouses, academic or not? If you get hired at a company, you don't usually turn around and say "great; thanks for the job offer…. now can you hire my husband, too?" In fact, outside of academia, most employers would probably prefer not to have couples both working for the same employer.
My spouse was not hired by the university I work at. The faculty and administrators used their personal contacts to connect her with good firms (she's a lawyer) in the area. She had already heard of some firms and was planning on applying, but the personal connections made a world of difference in getting her foot in the door with interviews. Then she had the pick of 3 great places and really it was all due to the faculty and admins going out of their way to help us. We did not expect that, but the experience was a harbinger of all the great interactions we've had with faculty and their families during our time here.
partypooper - I can think of a few reasons why it's different in academia.
1) Universities, and even colleges, are pretty big companies. Compared to other companies, they are in a better position to do this. That said, I think that lots of large companies DO try to find positions for spouses.
2) A lot of universities are located in the middle of nowhere; they are the "only game in town" so to speak. So If they want to recruit, they'll need to help out the spouse. Large companies are less often located remotely. I think that when they are, if they're "the only game in town" then yes, I do think it's common practice to help out a spouse.
3) When you hire a faculty member for a TT position you think you're hiring them for life. I think academia is far more stable in that regard than most other industries. If they want to keep you for life, then they need to try harder to recruit you by doings things such as finding employment for your spouse.
My friends in industry often negotiate for which city they get to work in. An academic could easily say, "In *my* industry, you have to go wherever you are told." But that's of course because it's rare for the same university to have a dozen offices around the world that they freely transfer employees between.
I expect that in any industry where it's hard to hire your preferred candidate without also hiring their spouse, spousal hires are common. Academia happens to be one of those industries. Many academics are married to other academics. In a given year, most cities do not have *any* jobs for which you are available, and most of the rest have only one. So the chances of you and your academic spouse getting a job in the same city are close to zero. So either one of your prospective employers comes up with a second job, or you go back on the job market next year and both searches fail.
So I find this about as mysterious as the fact that people in Seattle wear a lot of rain gear.