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05/03/2016

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Brad

Everyone's career path in this series has been so different. That is very valuable to see. I think it may help people avoid "stereotyped" thinking about how an academic career should go. My own story would just be one more very different account of how a career path can go.

For Marcus: I am surprised that you were so trusting when your employer told you 7 or so years ago, that they were offering you a one year position that could be renewed for numerous years. I have heard tales of people being "had" by such "promises." Your story is a happy one, but others should be forewarned. Things do not always turn out so well.

Marcus Arvan

Hi Brad: Thanks for your comment. I think you are right to caution people against being trusting when it comes to promises or mere suggestions, as I too have heard horror stories of people being "had" by promises. In my book, if it's not in writing (in the form of a contract), it doesn't count.

At the same time, I want to be clear that the decision I made was not based on trust (though I should say that I have always been very impressed with how well--and in good faith--our administration here appears to treat its faculty). In point of fact, I was never given any promises (or even a suggestion) that the position would be renewed past the first year. Rather, I was merely told that it *could* be renewed for up to seven years--and I took a calculated gamble on that possibility for several reasons.

First, I only had one more year at UBC, and that is the very same year I would have in my first year at UT. So, taking the job was not a gamble in terms of "years" (it was at most a gamble in terms of institutional prestige, as UBC was an R1). So, I figured, I had at least one more year in a full time job either way I went, but I *could* have seven years at UT. So, that side of the gamble seemed to me to favor UT.

Second, I had a fiance at the time, and cared very much both about our relationship and her career prospects--both of which UT was better for.

Finally, I made the call based on my own evaluation of the situation of the department at UT. Like I said, it is a small department, the smallest at the university. It also had clear teaching needs in ethics and political philosophy. So, I figured it might well be in their interest to keep me on if I did a good job--and that is more or less what happened.

In short, while I think accepting a one-year job here (with the possibility of seven years) was a good bet to make (again, for a number of reasons), it was very much that: a bet. I am indeed lucky it turned out well.

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