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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just need a little advice.

I'm defending my dissertation for my Ph.D. in English next month. I've also been on the academic job market--with no luck!--since last Fall. I will graduate this May, so, of course, employment has been on my mind constantly. Right about the time I started falling into a deep depression and believing that I was not good enough, had wasted years/money on a "worthless degree," and started trying to find alternate routes for employment, I got pregnant. This happened just days after a local competitive prepatory school contacted me for a job interview/campus visit, though they don't "technically have any openings right now." I suppose this is one instance where my Ph.D. helped me get a foot in the door, as it is a highly sought after place for employment. They do have other Ph.D.s on staff, so I take this as a good sign that I will be happy there.

I kept telling myself that I would just visit and see, but I didn't want to get my hopes up. That feeling passed quickly. The campus, the faculty, the students--everything was simply idyllic. Now that I am pregnant, too, I don't want to relocate and leave my family/friends behind while I'm trying to raise my first child. Having a local job would be perfect, at least for now, and they offer tons of funding for travel, research, etc. The campus looks like some quaint New England LA campus. After being disillusioned by poor students at my other college teaching gigs, it was a real draw to see serious young scholars at this high school. Honestly, I could't find a negative, and I'm not married to being a professor.

Here is my question: I think that I could be happy with a career here. In fact, I KNOW that I could be happy. The visit went so well that I just have a feeling they will be contacting me come Spring when contracts are renewed. They even gave me "souvenirs" so that I would not "forget them." Anyone that has been on the academic job market knows how good it feels to finally have someone court you! If they do try to hire me for this year, I am due October 2, which is right in the middle of their Fall 2010 semester. I know it seems early to ask now before I even have an offer, but I'm so worried about this situation. I don't want to lose an opportunity for a job.

I'll be optimistic and say WHEN they call, what do I do? Do I ask for a delayed start for the Spring 2010 semester? Is that feasible? Do I tell them I am pregnant, go ahead and start, work for a few weeks, and then leave for maternity? This just seems wrong, but I am lost here. Please! Any advice would be wonderful!

My husband and I are thrilled about this baby, but we are also worried, as I was going to be the primary bread-winner. I don't want to wait until the 2011-2012 schoolyear to start a FT job if I can help it. I am already looking for online teaching gigs to supplement our income, but I just get so sad when I think about losing the opportunity for this local ideal teaching gig.
 

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If they offer and you want it, then accept it. They cannot NOT offer a job because you are pregnant -- that is discrimination and they know that.

I once was offered a job, but I could not line up the child care necessary to work the requested hours. I was going to turn it down, but then a friend said -- call them, tell them on what terms you can do the job, and see what they say.

Darned if they didn't scoop me up on *my* terms! Similar story with my current job -- I wanted it, but had already made plans to be traveling when school started up -- they said "no problem; we will just put a different date on your contract."

Hopefully someone here with more experience in this area (hiring practices) can give you more advice.

M
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Outlier: I sent you a private message as well! Thank you for the link and for the luck!

Meandmine: This is very encouraging. I am glad I didn't mention a pregnancy at interview time, but I will certainly attempt a negotiation if they do call. I live in a conservative "good ol' boy" state, so let's hope I can play by the same rules here. (Though I don't know where you live!) Thanks again!
 

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Well, the thorn is that they don't necessarily owe you a maternity leave if you haven't worked there for a certain amount of weeks. I'm not a expert here, but I know that even with FMLA (12 weeks unpaid leave) you need to have worked for 12 months previously. Unless TN has some special laws, then you're just relying on what their company policy is regarding leaves.

How long did you want to stay home?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Altair: Ideally, I would like to just delay my start until the Spring 2011 semester--January 2011. That way, I could start work with the pregnancy/maternity leave behind me. I checked the Chronicle boards that Outlier mentioned, and there were several people there discussing a semester delay. I just wondered if anyone here had ever tried that before, and if it was appropriate for me to even ask for it? I do have a friend in the field that said this is quite common for secondary education, as it is primarily a field comprised of women, though it is maybe not as liberal as post-secondary work. Further, I am perfectly willing to start in the Fall at the end of August, but I'll be nearly 8 months then, so that seems like even more of a mess. If only I weren't in this field, I could start a job now, and then I could go on leave at the end of September. I wouldn't feel nearly as bad if I had been working for a while already, but, as it stands, my due date coincides nearly to the dot with the beginning stages of my semester.

I suppose there really is no "right time" for a baby, but I should clarify that I wouldn't change this pregnancy for anything--no matter what happens in the end with work.

Thanks for the input. I wondered as much about maternity leave laws.
 

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I have heard of delays - at least in acadmeia - I know of a professor who got a 1 yr delay to do a postdoc and I have heard of another that got a semester delay to do field work. Honestly - I think you should ask. don't be afraid to negotiate. or at least to try. what is the worst they will say? once they've already extended you the offer, go ahead and negotiate the leave time or the delayed start. ITA that you won't automatically get FMLA, so at the very least you will need to negotiate that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I think that you are right, Carita. Really, what will I have to lose at this point? The news about how bad it is for Ph.D.s in my field just keeps getting worse each day. I hate to ask for any exceptions, but, then again, it is a secondary school, and I won't be able to teach at the beginning of Fall anyway.

By the way, I love your Ph.D. emoticons. So true! Thankfully, I wrote my dissertation in bulk before I found out I was pregnant. That last chapter was written without coffee, and it nearly killed me!
 

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Thanks! that is seriously how I feel pretty much all the time these days.

i tell you, i was being courted by a nice private high school and was very early ABD. I wasn't ready to leave academic life (both in terms of the attraction to research and publishing, and because I wasn't far enough into the diss). As soon as I had my son, I totally was kicking myself. They give just as much financial support for professional development as a small college, and no tenure issues and no publish or perish, small class size, and pay at least 1.5x as much LOL.

Depnding how early your semester starts (if in the south, could be as early as August), you may have a couple working months before you'd have to take a maternity leave. If their classes are done on a yearly basis instead of semester basis, you may want to consider that if you start work in mid-Aug, and work until mid - late Sept, then that is 4-6 extra weeks. So you may be able to present a variety of scenarios to them (or at least have a couple back-up ones).
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
True, true, and true to all of the above. Honestly, none of this will matter if they never contact me, but I just don't see that happening. They actually asked me leading questions that just made me feel like it was a courtship and not really an interview, so we'll see...

I did enjoy the dissertation process, but I'm okay leaving behind publish or perish forever. I just don't know if I have the fight in me to keep doing it for decades.
 
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