Big Changes for SS4BC?
May 21, 2010 14 Comments
I’ve been very hesitant to talk about a lot of the things that are going on in my career life recently on this blog because I’m not quite sure how many of my co-workers have access to this blog. However, I feel remiss to not talk about what I’m going through to the blogging community.
Many of you have known for quite some time that I’ve been unhappy with my job. The last few weeks have reached a point of absolutely miserableness. The very idea of having to stay in a state I don’t like, in a town I don’t enjoy, around people I can’t stand, doing a job that on its good days is bearable – well, this doesn’t seem like the best course of action for me.
I know that life is short. I’ve spent 2.5 years at this job and have learned a lot. My boss expects me to stay here another year. However, I just can’t see me doing this and not going clinically insane. Now that the teaching duties of the spring are over with I feel like there isn’t anything even worth doing here anymore.
I’ve noticed that I’ve become absolutely depressed here and have resorted to some one of my tried and tested ways of making myself feel better: Clothes shopping. Last weekend I dropped $300 on work attire – i.e. work for a job that I don’t have yet.
So here are my current options:
1) Stay put
Stay here at this job for the next year. If I can buck up my spirits, I may be able to make it. July 31st, 2011 is my official end date.
2) Job in Kansas
I have an interview in two weeks for a job in Kansas. It is at a school like the one that I want to be at in San Diego. However, it isn’t in San Diego, it is in Kansas. And while I have nothing fundamentally against Kansas – it isn’t San Diego. My friends are in San Diego, my family is in San Diego.
I’m also extremely worried that the salary in Kansas won’t be competitive to what I want. Looking at a website online the mean salary for new faculty at this school (in 2007) was $39,000 for a 9-month salary. I’m making more than this now (and the cost of living factor is HIGHER in Kansas than it is here). I am not going to move to Kansas to take a pay decrease. Yes, it is a 9-month salary so I could theoretically earn money in the 3 months off for summer – which would bring me up to $52,000 in a year, but I won’t know until after my interview how likely it is to get summer work. I’ve decided that I won’t accept an offer here of less than $42,000 (with $45,000 being my asking price). At $45,000, if I worked in the summer, I’d make $60,000 – which is my ideal salary per year.
I’ll know more about this after the interview.
3) Move back to San Diego
Yah, I don’t have a large enough savings account to really swing this. But I have a friend who already said she would put me up while I tried to find something. I am going to apply for a few jobs in the area now and can potentially plan to just move in August (moving in August would be the only way I could ensure I could get out of my current lease at my apartment). I may or may not be able to get a full time job when I arrived, but I would be able to get some adjunct positions and do some tutoring. Starting in the fall I would apply for academic jobs, including the position in San Diego that I want.
This idea is financially very risky. And exceptionally scary. Moving to a city with no job and no promise of one. But I’m pretty sure I could make $2,000/month in ancillary income (enough to survive) without issue with the skills I possess. And the whole idea that I can’t just pick up and leave because I don’t have an adequate savings account makes me regret not savings first to my savings account and then paying down my debt.
Right now I feel like I’m at the mercy of my circumstances rather than being able to hold out for exactly the job that I want. A large savings account affords you more than just security – it really does afford you the ability of choice in your life. I have never believed in this so strongly as I do right now.
4) Other options.
Believe it or not other things have been going through my head as well. I could take some visiting assistant professor positions. There are a lot across the country that are available. They’re typically 1 year deals. Which is annoying because you move somewhere and then have to move again in a year, but it gets me out of where I am. I’ve also seriously been considering going to law school or at least studying to be a patent agent. With the Ph.D. in chemistry and my type of post-doctoral work – adding a J.D. in Intellectual Property would boost my salary earning power double. With the patent agent, I would just need to pass an exam – no law school required. There is a class being offered online by the American Chemical Society on patents and patent law. I’m thinking about taking it. However it costs $1,000. However, a class that costs $1,000 is less than going to law school for a year and discovering that I hate it. Now just so you guys don’t think I’m really smokin’ crack here, I have been contemplating going to law school since before I went to graduate school. And even when I was in graduate school I thought about going to law school when I finished. The idea of taking more classes turned me off of it while I was in graduate school, but now I think I’m emotionally mature enough to handle more school and to do it with flying colors. Also, I can make some pretty decent money in the school year doing some adjunct teaching while I go to school – to I would only need to take student loans to cover tuition.
Honestly, I’m a little frightened by how seriously I’m considering the law school option – and may even pursue this in the evenings if I DID get a job in San Diego (there is an evening program that takes 4 years to complete at one of the law schools in San Diego). A starting salary of $100k is nothing to sneeze at… especially if I found that I really enjoyed the work.
Conclusion of all this
I really need/want out. And apparently I’m at the point where I’m willing to take drastic measures to do so. This is all very frightening and consumes just about all my waking thoughts.
Whew… it feels good to get this out in the open…