Monday, October 1, 2007

Some movement

Hi Sara,

I'm having fun teaching. It's great to have my own classroom again. Thank you for getting me the gig. I give the first [course #] tests back on Tuesday. It's a good spread, so I think it was fair: without a curve, it's 6 As; 12 Bs; 7 Cs; 5 Ds, and 3 Fs (plus two who didn't show up for the exam, and one I haven't seen yet, who took it proctored in the [Center]). I don't know how that compares to what's typical for the course. Let me know. And let me know what I can do for a student I'm worried about. There's one who's enrolled in both my classes, who has missed quite a few sessions, who didn't show up for the first exam. I sent him an email asking if all was okay, but I haven't heard back from him.

Also sorry if I've disturbed things in your office. Anything I did was inadvertent I assure you. It's tough not having a space of my own, as I'm sure it's hard on you to share what's otherwise your office alone.

I wanted to touch base with you about the Spring. The contract I received in August was only for the Fall, and I haven't heard anything official otherwise. Last I checked the Spring schedule still hadn't been posted. So I don't really know what's planned for the Spring, but assume that it would be the same as now.

The problem I run into is this. I hadn't anticipated the commute (or the class sizes) would be quite so much. I'm spending about 12-15 hours a week just getting to Lemon & back. Looking over our budget, we've come to the conclusion that I need to be bringing in more, and unfortunately sooner than we had anticipated. With the time commitment at Lemon, there's little chance for me to earn other part-time income in the Rocket City area. With #3 on the way, and RocketMom planning to take time off from work, starting the top of the year, I really need full-time employment with benefits.

I don't know what is available to me in that regard at Lemon. Surely there are enough students in [course #] & [course #] to warrant two sections each. I'm certainly open and willing to discuss other options as well. If you're not the right point of contact, please let me know who is, and I'll move the conversation to them. Let me know what you can.

Regards to [husband], and a hug for [baby].


Time moves along. Our expectations change. I think there's a snowball's chance in hell that they'll hire me full-time with benefits. The reality is, working another term for a mere $6000 take home would likely delay my development of these proofs-of-concept, which will likely net me quite a bit more in income. What's more, it's my work, work I really enjoy, and which I find meaningful. I want my time back. And my dignity. Besides, I'm spending more time than I'd like far away from my boys & my wife. And somehow, it just doesn't seem worth it.

RocketMom & I spent some time this weekend shoring up our decisions, and fortitude. Last week, she got word of her raise for the year, about 4.6%. The average, they were told, was 2.9%. Her supervisor had asked her if she planned on coming back to work full-time soon after the baby was born. She demurred that she was thinking about part-time. For how long? I don't know.

But... she's not really planning to go back. We thought about that this weekend. It was tough for her to go back full-time when the Inventor was 6 months old. It'd likely be even more tough this time around. D goes back to Germany around the beginning of June. So, we'd need to get another au pair, find alternate daycare, or I'd have to stay at home full-time. If we stay past the summer, the Painter would be back in school, for first-grade, meaning we'd either stay another year, or move in the middle of the school year. And, the cost of living here is significantly higher than it might be in other parts of the country. Any of these issues could be dealt with, if that's what she wanted to do.

The hard part is... they treat her well at Rocket Central. She's well compensated and respected. But... what she really wants is to take some time off, to spend more time with the family. The work itself doesn't drive her, doesn't motivate her. It's just something she can do.

Are we crazy to walk away from the stability and comfort of her income? I don't think so. It's just a decision, a decision that sets our priorities aright. The money is nice. But it's not that important.

The timing we're back to is making a jump likely in June or July. RocketMom will have income (disability & family leave) through around May. We've got non-retirement savings to support us for easily a year, more likely two. If I return my time to working on these proofs-of-concept (I've had only about 5-10 hours a week for that lately), I can reasonably hope to have a handful worked up and ready for demo before she takes off from work.

I'm not holding my breath for a faculty gig, though there would be some great benefits to having one. I would be willing to sell my time and energy for a full-time position with benefits, that allowed me to regain my dignity as a scholar, and that supported me and my family. I am committed to my research, and expect it to lead somewhere. If it takes me longer to accomplish that, because I'm engaged in something equally as meaningful, so be it. But I'm little inclined to put off those efforts for something, like what I have, that doesn't afford me that.

It's either a faculty offer will help us decide where to move, or we'll be ready (having done our homework) to decide on our own. We've been doing that. The tour is scary and uncertain, but exhilarating nonetheless.

1 comment:

Lilian said...

Wow, so many things on the table, so many big decisions to make! I certainly don't envy you right now ;) (well, to be perfectly honest, except for a certain baby growing up in someone's belly -- I'm planning on blogging about this soon)

I'm excited to see that RocketMom is blogging, though, thanks for linking to her!