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02/15/2022

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Boring M&E Person

I am in a *sort of* similar situation. ABD at a well-ranked institution in the same city my family lives in, just a few hours away from my wife's family. Having purchased (and renovated!) a home and started a family, I have come to prioritize proximity to family. 5 years ago I would have moved anywhere for a TT job. Now, I would pick a non-academic job close to family over almost any good academic job far away. That's just what I value now. I know that neither my wife nor I would be happy living 1,000 miles from our families just so that I could make $45K teaching philosophy. So, I am only applying to jobs that are reasonably close to either of our families. I have an extra year of funding and my old non-academic job to fall back on, so that makes it easier. But, again, I think regular old things like being close to family (or your partner/loved ones) is, for the most part, more important than some philosophy teaching gig.

Rory

Tough decision! Some things to consider:

1) work will not love you back. It is, at the end of the day, a job. This is an important point that some us learn the hard way.

2) no matter how stable the NTT is, TT is likely more stable, especially if hiring now when lots of schools are cutting lines. . If you are ready to get on with your life—have a home, be with your beloved—this is important. If you’re willing to keep trying to get something better, it might not matter as much. Getting out of a CC is not likely. But neither is landing a TT these days, so congrats to you on that!

Good luck to you!

Tenured now

My partner (also a philosopher) and I weren't willing to do long-distance in the first place, and we deliberately never went on the market at the same time so that we wouldn't face the temptation to go in two directions. (He was in year 1 of a 3 year post-doc when I went on the market the first time and got a TT job where he was hired TT the next year, so this wasn't a huge cost in the end - but we both knew it could have been.)

One thing to think about is whether you two want kids long-term. I think that long-term long distance we can be fine or even great depending on the people involved, but that long-distance with kids is pretty horrible no matter how much you both love your jobs.

Sam Duncan

To me I think taking the CC job is clearly the right move. Now I'll admit I'm not unbiased. I was in a similar situation and chose the CC so I probably do have an interest in my decision being right but there are a few reasons I'd say this:
1. It's not just current pay but pay progression. You will get raises much faster getting promoted up the ranks of professor than you will as a lecturer, even if your school has a promotion model. 2. You will have more autonomy. You will almost certainly get a role in setting your own schedule and making other decisions that bear on your life as TT faculty at a CC than you do as non-TT faculty. The fact that you have more job security will also make it much harder for other faculty members or admin to coerce or just generally bully you. If you're a lecturer and can be let go at any time for any reason it's very easy for either group to push you around to make you violate your personal or professional standards or just subject you to petty bullying if they're so inclined. (Maybe the folks in your department are above the latter behavior. The ones in the dept I worked in sure as heck weren't above either. Even they are keep in mind staff won't stay the same). 3. I'm not sure what sort of classes you will have but online classes aren't really that bad. Once you get them up and running they're honestly a lot less work than in person. This is especially true if like me and so many other philosophers you aren't naturally outgoing or gregarious and being so in lecture requires a good bit of emotional labor on your part. I will say that online classes are also less rewarding to teach though. You don't make the personal connections with your students you do in in person classes nearly as often. If you mean Zoom classes... well they're kind of the worst of both worlds as much work, emotional and otherwise, as in person and less reward. In my opinion they also aren't as effective as in person classes. But they're not that bad. If you work on the format they can be fun to teach and, more importantly, effective. You will have to rethink teaching though if you have those. A lot of people try to just lecture as normal with Zoom classes and that's a disaster. 4. You might worry that community college students are bad students. This is not at all true. I actually find them much more pleasant to work with than the students at the big state school I used to work at, who, to be blunt, tended to be lazy and entitled. Don't get me wrong I had some truly awesome students at the big state school but the average student there was not awesome. S/he expected to do no real work outside class and still earn an A. I had massive issues with grade grubbing there and even not so subtle pressure from the head to change my grading standards. I also had no support whatsoever in the grade disputes I did have. (And I'm not even a hard grader mind you! The average in my classes there was probably a mid to high B.) I've had much less of that at a CC and no pressure at all from my deans to lower my standards. It helps that many more of your students at CC's are older and have experience in the working world, so they're much more willing to take responsibility than your average college student anywhere. They will be less academically prepared and they will have distractions and obstacles in their lives students at big state schools and other four years don't and you will have to learn to deal with that. But they are not bad students. Anyway, I'm not sure this is part of your worry. I'd like to hear you elaborate a bit on your worries abut non traditional teaching. But I thought I'd say something in case it was. 5. If you plan on having kids then the greater job security and more predictable pay raises of the CC job will be huge. 6. I don't want to speak for you and I don't know your age but as I get deeper and deeper into middle age I find that interpersonal relationships and other non-work things matter a lot more to me than work. I think this is common. And having done it a few times I'll say that long distance relationships are both personally hard and very corrosive to relationships long term.

anon

This obviously just depends on the individual, but in the OP's situation, I'd take the CC opportunity in a heartbeat. The NTT job might have more normal/prestigious vibes because it has more in person teaching and because of the name of the school. But the CC has more stability (TT), more money, AND better proximity to the partner.

So really the only downside here is that snobby people might think less of your affiliation.

Or maybe the downside is that you really, really, really dislike online in comparison to in-person, like I said, depends on the person. But if I were faced with these specifics, there would be zero internal struggle going on.

CC Prof

I faced something similar recently, and I chose the CC job. I will echo something said above: teaching online is less rewarding than teaching in person. It can also free up more time for writing, though. Even with a higher teaching load, if there are fewer preps and most or all are online, you might find that you can write and publish as much or more than you could in other situations. If that is important to you, it still can happen at a CC. Besides losing the rewards of face to face teaching, I think the biggest issue is whether you will be satisfied thinking of yourself as a CC professor. This was tough for me at first, but I got over it. You might find snobby people at conferences and such who look down on CC profs. That is a bummer. Of course, people in your department now might be snobby about NTT people. Both of these can be tough, but it might end up being a wash?? Given the benefits you note, I would take the CC job. Of course, the decision can only be made by you, but you shouldn't feel that choosing the CC position is obviously a mistake.

stability lover

I don't have much to add to others' good points above, but chime in that I too would take the CC job in a heartbeat.

Non-TT jobs at good institutions can be very unstable. I've been lucky to have two multi-year jobs at ranked and respected schools in desirable places to live, but have watched havoc be wrought over others in my position. In one year, teaching faculty took a 20% pay cut--i.e., doing the exact same work for significantly less money--due to university-wide pay cuts. This was hard but doable for me with no kids and a partner making similar money, but I watched my colleagues face serious difficulties. In another institution, I've seen people struggle with raising a family on ~$30k/yr and facing the perpetual anxiety of annual contract renewals, dependent on things like the attitude of the changing department chair, etc. These kinds of struggles seem never to end in non-TT jobs.

I echo that CC teaching can be rewarding and that job stability in a good place is very, very hard to come by. Unless there are other offers on the immediate horizon, I'd snap that CC job right up, myself.

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