Why the Smartest People Have the Toughest Time Dating | HuffPost Life
The following dating challenges seem to be common to most smart people. It may get you a first date, but it's probably not going to get you a. It's a time when it seems like all your non-academic friends are buying You could swear off serious dating altogether until you're getting close. If so, you're probably not married to an untenured academic. into the academic job market only to wind up with non-tenure track positions at the South Pole. .. Although we've only been dating for a couple of months, after.
I have spent well over a decade in the dating world.
But more to the point, I figured I had plenty of time. When a boyfriend of four years abruptly walked out on me, I realized that finding a life partner was about so much more than love. Meanwhile, I had decided to pursue a career in science, and I knew from watching my female mentors that I would probably be battling institutionalized and internalized sexism for the rest of my career.
I went off to graduate school with an open mind, an open heart, and a reckless optimism that everything would work itself out. But if dating as a single working girl had been challenging, dating as a Ph.
My fellow graduate students were mostly single women or not-single men. Those few single guys, perhaps unbeknownst to them, had flocks of secret admirers subtly vying for their attention. It felt like a creepy repeat of high school, only older and dorkier. With men outside of the university, I inevitably ran into the same two problems. First, as a graduate student, I was transient by nature. Local guys with good jobs did not seem keen on the idea of leaving them to follow me around after I graduated, moving at least once for a postdoc and again for a tenure-track position with no guarantee of permanency.
I started to understand why female academics are more likely than their male counterparts to have an academic spouse. I take it seriously for the same reasons I take science seriously. I became a scientist because I am a thoughtful, curious, inquisitive person who thinks the world is a pretty darned amazing place.
My dedication to uncovering new truths about the universe is my way of paying homage to its intricate brilliance. I see love in a similar light.
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It is a privilege to devote oneself to it. In my last year of graduate school, it dawned on me that I might not ever have this privilege. Yet another non-scientist guy had just decided my independence, self-awareness, and ambition — qualities he found alluring at first — were too much to put up with.
I dejectedly searched the internet for information on freezing my eggs. I focused on science, leaning in to my dissertation in a way Sheryl Sandberg would be proud of. But I was also leaning out. My dream job opened up at a university in a small midwestern town. I was excited at first. A couple of years ago, I was gathering my things after a seminar at a top physics research institution when I overheard two of the senior professors discussing a candidate for a senior lectureship.
Professor A was asking Professor B if the candidate had a partner, which might make him less able to move internationally. Prof B replied, happily: Nonetheless, the traditional academic career structure is built around an assumption of mobility that is hard to maintain with any kind of relationships or dependents. My first postdoc was in England.
Halfway through grad school I studied for a year in England. Each of these moves or visits has been, while not strictly required, extremely helpful for my career. If mobility is such an advantage, how does having a family or a partner affect your chances?
Personally, I found the piece deeply disheartening, but my dismay was of a somewhat detached variety.
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In order to worry about the effects of having children, one has to be in a position where that seems like even a remote possibility. At the moment, I spend a lot more time thinking about the two-body problem.
It is by no means unique to academia, but the international nature of the field, the frequency of short-term year contracts, and the low wages compared to other similarly intense career paths make it especially bad for academics.
In the sciences, the gender disparity adds a further complication for female academics: Of course, solving the two-body problem is not impossible. I have many colleagues who have done it, either through spousal hires, fortuitous job opportunities, extended long-distance relationships, or various degrees of compromise.
It takes sacrifice, luck, and, often, institutional support. But couples just beginning a relationship while building two academic careers might find the odds stacked against them. Even ignoring for a moment the fact that a no-compromise work-obsessed lifestyle is still considered a virtue in many institutions, academic careers are structurally best suited to people with no relationships or dependents, who travel light and have their passports at the ready.