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Feminist Still Willing to Move for Her Husband’s Career!

November 25, 2012

(This title is meant to be read like a headline for The Onion, full of false shock and surprise.)

I read too many women-in-STEM items this weekend, and it just makes me sad and angry.   “Let’s hope we have boys,” my husband said, as I lamented the still-existing (though largely unintentional) bias against women in science, particularly academia.  “Let’s hope we have genius girls who change the world,” I replied.

At the same time, T is kicking off his academic job search.  He is applying to places that would not require us to move, as well as places that would.  Some (most?) would require me to move into adjacent industries, though I expect to be able to find work in my field.  Some places he’s applying have actual winter, and despite being from “almost-Canada”, I am wary and only willing to accept if it is within driving distance of one or both of our families.

In reality, we haven’t debated where we should live much.   I mean, I did veto an entire coast (hint: not this one).  In reality, I’d consider it in a logical manner if necessary.  He has a list of positions and schools, and when/if he gets offers, we’ll perform the constrained optimization “where should we live?” problem then.  Currently, there are too many variables.

It is exciting, but at the same time, it makes me a little sad.  I took all the maths, I studied science, and I got my engineering degree, with honors. I got a job at an awesome engineering company and then moved to California to work for another great company.  Then I added an M.S. degree, just to be sure.  I’ve built the foundations for a great career.  I have mentors and sponsors who continually help me to push my career.  It has been a really exciting year for me.  I’m learning a lot and doing exciting work.

And yet. . .  The clock has been ticking.

Dramatic, no?

I like being an example of feminism, an example of an ambitious woman in STEM.  It feels odd to say, “Yes, pursue your career, but someday you’ll have to put your husbands career first anyway.”  Even though that isn’t the truth.  His career is driving the search, as his options are much more limited.  Still, we’re committed to doing something that is good for both of us.  This is a marriage and partnership, and we’ll do what is best for our family.

I’m excited and proud of all my husband has accomplished in over the years.  I’m thrilled that he’s pursuing academia.  I’m thrilled that regular travel to international conferences might be forever part of our lives.  I’m thrilled at how talented he is and how happy and fulfilled it makes him.   I’m thrilled for us, but change is still a bit scary.

It’s easy for me to get wrapped up into what I’ve invested thus far, thinking that if we do end up leaving, it all vanishes.  Of course that isn’t true.  Life keeps moving forward.  The best thing is that our part-time long distance marriage will turn back into a regular marriage!   Then we will keep moving forward, together.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. November 25, 2012 12:25 pm

    Changing jobs although you are appreciated in your old job can be a great career booster. I don’t think that you should look at you moving together with your husband from the feminist viewpoint. An individual family and a marriage is way beyond feminism.

    Furthermore, I think that all these women that are not feministic and do move with their husbands also don’t have jobs they love – but I don’t see how this would apply to you.

    But it’s good that you keep feminism in mind and think about these thinks. This shows that you know what you are doing! 🙂

    • November 25, 2012 2:34 pm

      Thanks for the encouragement. You are so right that it may end up helping my career and pushing me to do something different and new – it is just hard to think about that when so far, we just have a bunch of unknowns!

  2. November 25, 2012 6:49 pm

    I don’t look at it so much as “moving for your husband” as “moving for the spouse who has more limited opportunities”. I’m sure if your fields were reversed, he would be willing to move for you

  3. November 26, 2012 7:29 am

    I think sometimes people use the word feminism for anything where the woman doesn’t come first and that’s not always the case. You have mad a commitment to your husband, you are one. I think moving for his job is fine as long as he is willing to do the same for you. Its a very kind and selfish act and its apart of being married. I don’t think it has anything to do with you power/role as a career woman. I hope everything works out!

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