Helping Women Achieve in Academic Science

When on the market with a TwoBodyProblem, at some point you must reveal that you have a two body problem. But how and when are still a mystery. Multiple WomenOfScience, I have talked to have said that they faired best when they revealed it late. Yet, I talked to a WomanDepartmentChair, and she said that knowing earlier is better for her, since it would give her more time to negotiate and line up the second position. Now, this was a clearly enlightened chair who herself had a two body problem that was solved in that department.

Personally, I tried several different reveal times. For a couple, they knew or found out that we were together. For these three schools, I had two offers, and they both worked out something (one was tenure track and the other was soft money – I am sure you can guess which we picked). For one, I told them I had a spouse at the first interview. I was second on the hire list, but did not get an offer. For a couple, I didn’t tell them until the offer was made. One said it was impossible; the other offered my spouse a postdoc. From these experiences, I concluded that it is OK if they know already or find out through “natural” means, but if you are a complete stranger, it is best to not tell people too early.

Do others have stories or options that would work? What about telling the chair only, to enable some early probes before negotiating, but not telling the hiring committee?

Comments on: "Surprise! I have a husband!" (1)

  1. […] Second, we have discussed many of the big work-life issues on this blog. For example: When should you have kids (see these blog posts: flexibility, grad school, pre/post tenure, postdoc)?  Should you take a job when you don’t have one for your spouse (see our posts on two-body problems: problems, surprise, negotiations)? […]

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