Commuter Relationships (From the Hey Jane archives)

June 11, 2009 at 8:38 pm | Posted in Work/Life Balance | Leave a comment


“My partner and I have both been offered fantastic jobs in different states.  We are trying to decide whether or not to attempt a commuter relationship, what advice can you give us?”


Congratulations on your job offers. Should you decide to begin a commuter relationship, much of your experience will be unique to you and your partner and your individual personalities and relationship dynamics.

Let me begin by saying that some people report many positive aspects of commuter relationships. If the job opportunities that present themselves are as fantastic as you suggest, then your actual work lives might be much more satisfying than if you accepted less than fantastic jobs in the same location.  Also consider the joy of eating whatever you want for dinner, whenever you want to; having flexibility in your daily schedule; having
time to write without interruption, to develop friendships, or to attend an evening lecture without cutting in to “couple time.”  Some of this may not be possible if you have children and are the primary parent.  However, there are also some positive aspects of being the primary parent in your children’s lives. You can develop special routines and rituals and have more flexibility in those routines as well as be involved in the children’s school and other activities.  While being the primary parent can be exhausting, it also has some great

With that said, there are some challenges that you may want to consider as you make your decision. Continue Reading Commuter Relationships (From the Hey Jane archives)…


What kind of retirement plans do I need to make? (From the Hey Jane Archives)

June 5, 2009 at 8:27 pm | Posted in Retirement | Leave a comment


“I’m beginning to think about retiring from academia and I hear people talk about “planning” for retirement – what kinds of plans do I need to make?”


First let me say, congratulations on reaching this new chapter in your life. Often when people refer to “planning for retirement” they mean making sure their finances are in order.  That is certainly an important piece of the puzzle; however, there are a few other things that you might want to take into account as you transition into retirement.

When to retire:

  • You may (or may not) want to consider the timing of your retirement. On a political level, the interests of your department (or specialty area) might be a factor. Will your line be renewed or terminated?  Will it remain in your department?  Will it remain in your area of specialization?
  • Another issue to consider is that you may need to start planning well in advance in order to take advantage of your final paid sabbatical.  The rules at most universities require a person to return for a full year after a sabbatical (see Hey Jane column 13). This means that one has to determine when she is eligible for a sabbatical and plan at least three years in advance to coordinate sabbatical and retirement: a year to apply for sabbatical, a year to go on sabbatical, and a year to come back to campus before retirement.
  • The progress of your graduate students may influence the timing of your retirement.  Would you want to be able to continue directing theses and dissertations? Would you be allowed to do so after retirement? Some universities require emerita status in order to continue serving on graduate student committees (more about emerita status below).
  • Grants and grant funds might be an issue as well. Once again, emerita status may allow you to apply for grants to be administered by the university and to use grant funds you have already been awarded.  If you are receiving (or expecting) grant money, you should check with your research office and/or the funding agency to clarify the details. You may find yourself in a situation where a grant is postponed until after you are scheduled to retire.  You may not be allowed to receive salary from the grant after retirement, but may be able to continue to receive expenses.  There is likely to be a great deal of variety depending on the grant.
  • Service on key committees may influence the timing of your retirement. No one is indispensable, but sometimes the right senior person can make a difference on a project or an important committee. Once again, emerita status may allow you to continue to serve on department or university committees after retirement.

Emerita status: Continue Reading What kind of retirement plans do I need to make? (From the Hey Jane Archives)…

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