I sometimes see CVs that include some personal info about a job candidate, e.g. their spouse's name and occupation (two candidates that my institution hired in the last few years had their wives' names and jobs listed at the top of their CVs next). How widely is this done? And do people ever list their children's names and birthdates? I will have two children by the time I go on the market and I'd sort of like to include them on a CV because I think their birthdates will coincide with relatively more fallow periods in my productivity, plus it shows (I think) that I'm having kids in advance to starting a t-t job and therefore won't be taking maternity leave, etc. in the first few years of the position. But would this be a weird thing to include?
Date: 18 Apr 2011 19:49
Number of posts: 24
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I've never seen that, but now that I think about it I guess I've seen very few CVs. My knee-jerk reaction, though, is that I would not want to include such personal information because I don't see what purpose it serves. If there is a lag in productivity or something you want to explain, maybe the cover letter would be the place to discuss it. In other words, I would rather not put something vague for them to infer something, but just be explicit.
Your CV is for your professional — not personal — life, so I would not include personal information. I haven't seen it done often.
Agree. I have never understood the rationale for doing this. I see it more often in clinical circles (sometimes, prospective clinical supervisors want to know this kind of thing) but in a research/teaching setting, I can't think of any reason why this would be a good practice.
The only reason I can think of to include spouse and spouse's employment info is if you are trying to get a job that includes possibility for a spouse hire.
I think to put the birthdays of one's children in order to communicate information regarding NOT needing maternity leave is a sad, SAD indication of the state of the expectations put upon women in the hiring process. How remarkably (and sickeningly) sad.
soc, You are absolutely right. It is sad. I completely understand why anotheranon wants that information out there, though. As departments assess how likely someone is to get tenure, whether teaching needs can be met, etc., you can bet they'll be thinking about whether a young woman would be likely to need maternity leave. I've certainly conveyed that information myself (in a roundabout way) at interviews, along with the fact that I won't need spousal accommodation.
The way I see it, I will be at a bit of a liability on the job market, having had two children during the post-doctoral period and thus having made trade-offs in terms of productivity and pace. But by getting through the most intense stages of early motherhood during this time, I will (hopefully) be more focused when I do eventually start a t-t position. So it's not so much that I want to broadcast this because it's some great advantage, more that I'm hoping to reframe it as a less of a negative.
But Soc, you're totally right, it's very sad that I'm thinking this way and worrying about this. The academic job market is unfriendly to most, but it's especially hostile to young parents. So is the tenure process. I have heard several recent horror stories recently about women with young children being denied tenure; there's no way to prove that this denials were linked to their status as mothers, but it's certain hard to maintain high research productivity in the first few years of parenting. The irony is that many of the older tenured female faculty members I know, whose kids are grown, are total hot-shots in their 50s and 60s - but tenure committees don't focus on the long view, just on the first seven years of the job, which for most of us who are starting academic positions in our early 30s is also the prime child-rearing period. It's very frustrating and I think explains why so many talented female Ph.Ds drop out of academia. Another irony is that as psychologists many of us do research on the importance of nurturance and early caregiving - but to make too much time to care for our own children is tantamount to career suicide.
On the other hand, people throughout history have made compromises. Why is it expected that you can have everything….NOW? As someone who had children first, then entered academia, I find it puzzling that one would expect to have everything simultaneously. I have no regrets that I focussed on my children first, and they would tell you (now grown) that they are who they are because of it. As a psychologist, I also wonder about the world view that having children should change nothing. I think sometimes we need to takle the long view ourselves and ask whether, 30 years from now, having waited a few years longer for tenure was a small cost for having such a joy in ourlives as children.
I certainly don't expect "everything simultaneously," and I don't think that was reflected in my remarks. Unless by "everything" you mean a family and a job — in which case, yes, I guess I do expect everything, as do most women I know. My original outrage was over the need to market yourself as "not going to have children," in order to be competitive for SOME (i.e., not all) jobs. I think the climate that nurtures (pun intended) this type of thinking among young women PhDs is disgusting.
However, your statements do not fall onto deaf ears. I know the game, and I know that at times, and for some, it is a dirty game. I also know that I will never be at a top-ranked school, that I will never be remarkably productive as a researcher, and that I will never be a research superstar that will attract federal dollars. This isn't because I'm not capable of it, because I may be…but it is because I am in the child-bearing years as a new professor with every intention of having at least one more child. I don't think it's unreasonable for a mother to expect her employers to be supportive of life choices…but this is when the choice of school becomes key.
As I've said elsewhere — I had my first child in graduate school — she is currently almost a year and a half old. I will plan a second child within the next two years. I had a difficult time finding a job this year, because my productivity necessarily lagged (read: came to a full stop) when my child was born. But I still got interviews (quite a few!), and I was fortunate enough to have a choice between two offers. Both offers were very high teaching loads, which was okay with me because it was, after all, a job — and a job of any kind in this market is a miracle (IMO). The job I accepted was at a school that shares my values and goals for education and family…and that was extremely important. The tenure expectations are realistic given the teaching load and my family.
So yes, anon — compromises are made. It IS important to come to terms with the fact that as women, we can't have it all. But it is not unreasonable for us to expect to be able to have familes AND contribute to the evolution of knowledge that is the academy — having children and slowing research productivity does not render us useless — and the climate that presents that sort of image is, indeed, disgusting, and it is unfortunate.
If prestige of job is a factor — the anon's statements about compromises ring especially true.
I'm curious how this may relate to the "appearance" of a candidate. For example, I look noticeably young (like I'm a high school senior) and could see a department considering the possibility of me planning motherhood in the future and being hesitant about hiring me. (I'll finish next spring). This somewhat worries me. I'm already a mother and my daughter will be in 2nd grade by the time I take a postdoc or a position. I also cannot have more children so motherhood is very much unlikely.
Does anyone have insight about departments "shying away" from young candidates under the assumption of them wanting to become mothers shortly after taking a position?
I look very young too (and have a child), and I didn't feel it affected my prospects (multiple offers at research schools). In fact, I think being open about my current pre-school aged child helped me because the reaction was more "wow, and you've been so productive" as they did the mental subtraction. I think you have an advantage if you've already demonstrated your ability to juggle family and work demands.
Thanks. This has been something I've been quite worried about. I usually keep having a school-aged child to myself because of a previous bad experience. Do you just casually mention it in conversation (obviously not the serious conversations but small talk)?
This was in my first graduate program (for my master's degree). When I joined the program, I requested to be paired up with a faculty member who was doing research in my area. They paired me up my first semester and I served as the professor's TA and RA. After two weeks, I mentioned something about me having a kid (people in the program knew I wasn't married, BUT have been in a commited relationship with the father for a little over 8 years). Apparently, this individual had a huge problem with me having a child and going to graduate school. It wasn't even like I "bragged" about the information - it just came out and I had never denied it (it had never came up). But he did not like it, and told the department chair that he did not think I was a good fit for the program and that he did not want to have me as a TA and RA the following semester However, he could never say this to my face - he just avoided my emails. I really did not think much about the situation until he "handed me off" to the new faculty member the following year.
She loved me (and having her as an advisor was the best thing for me professionally, etc)! She told me that she had heard from another faculty member all the nasty things my previous "advisor" said about me. I was never able to find out exactly what he said, though. However, she did say that he was against her joining the department because she was married with children. It was such a bad experience with him that I decided to keep having a daughter to myself during my first quarter in my doctoral program. However, I have noticed minor stereotyping, like I cannot believe you can be so productive with a kid, but nothing as severe as my first experience.
That is extremely bizarre and erratic behavior. I'm sorry you had to go through that. My guess is that this professor also has children of his own…what an incredible double-standard.
I sincerely hope that these sort of attitudes are not common and I think they will be all but eradicated as the older male professors retire. Some areas of the country probably have this more than others. I know for myself during one interview a senior male colleague indicated to me that it was a great place to live and insinuated about my wife staying home with our child (as a male I was open about my young child). Anyway, I actually took great pleasure in telling him that this would not be the case as my wife worked outside academia and her income is higher than mine, so if anyone would stay home it would be me. He was a little taken aback and made some comment about dual-career families becoming the norm. He was a really nice person and not meaning to have any bias, but it was clear this all seemed sort of foreign to him.
You would think that thinks would change with older male professors retiring. However, this prof could not be more than 35 years old. He did not have kids at the time but a little over 9 months later his wife gave birth. It is definitely a bizarre case!
Wow, that is terrible, rly_srsly. In my experience, for every faculty member type who seems to be bothered by my having a child (because it denotes lack of seriousness or productivity or whatever), there are at least two people who are really supportive and even impressed. But you just never know when you'll come across a nutball like your former prof, and it's scary to think they're lurking out there, maybe even on search committees and tenure committees making decisions about our futures.
Definitely! I keep it to myself. However, many of the people I have met have been supportive and the example is a rare case it seems (at least in my experience). But it was for the better. The next person I worked with was awesome.
But it is lingering in the back of my mind as I'll be officially on the job market in the fall. (I tested the waters this past year with some decent success - in my opinion at least).
Waiting "a few years longer for tenure" is fine - the more alarming possibility is never having the chance to start a good tenure-track job at all, in an age in which hiring committees favor youth and "promise" over older, slower candidates, or being denied tenure by an all-male committee that sees only slowed productivity rather than the compromises and trade-offs of early parenthood. My fear is of being completely shut out of academia, not of being delayed along the way. Having one's children before entering academia does seem wise, but isn't an option for those of us who started grad school before meeting our spouses or who encountered challenges and delays while trying to start families. I would never argue that having children should change nothing. In fact, it's exactly because having children changes everything that I'm making these arguments.
I agree with you anotheranon. It's not about waiting a few years for tenure or not making compromises; it's about making compromises then facing a reality of perhaps never getting a job at all. I have made many, many compromises along the way. In fact, I waited to have children until I was out of graduate school (which of course took much longer than I expected!). When conception didn't come easily, and then problems were encountered later, my productivity STOPPED. Now I am faced with perhaps never having a job, despite having given so many years and so much devotion to this field. Why would a department gamble on me when (as this board can attest) there are so many other equally-qualified candidates who did not have a lag in productivity (i.e., do not have a gap on their CV)? Yes, I know for a fact I was passed over for a job because of this. As Soc said, "having children and slowing research productivity does not render us useless — and the climate that presents that sort of image [and perpetuates that reality] is… unfortunate." It's especially disheartening to see that perpetuated by other women.
What about citizenship? I am a US citizen, but went to grad school in Canada. Many people assume I am Canadian. I am worried that this might add the perceived complication of getting a visa - in an ideal world, this wouldn't matter, but in a market as tough as it is now, I am worried that any slight disadvantage could tip the scales in favour of another candidate.
Should I mentioned I am a US citizen on my CV?