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Cathy Quinones quinones at orchid.UCSC.EDU
Fri May 20 11:45:04 EST 1994

>Janet Ott writes:
>We have a two career couple in tropical biology here - Nalini Nadkarni
>and Jack Longino - who split one position.  This allows them time to go
>to Costa Rica and do research and also gives us two faculty for the price
>of one.  It has been working really well.  But there is no denying the
>two career couple is having difficulty in academia.
>Janet Ott, Ph. D.  Lab I The Evergreen State College
>My comment is: What do you mean it's working really well? Would YOU like to
>work for half pay? This reminds me of things I learned about sweatshops and
>life at the beginning of the industrial revolution. In fact, it is very much
>like that. "Society" has not developed a means of administering a new
>"labor" situation so, when in doubt, management tries to see how far it can
>push the worker. Two-career couples are new in academia, and universities
>have no idea about how to deal with them. So they exploit them if they can.
>May this remind many men that "equal rights for women" is good for us too.
>Ricardo Azpiroz
>Plant Sciences
>U. Arizona

Gee, I don't know, maybe "working really well" means the two people
like the arrangement?  If you think about it, two people working at 1/2
time roughly equals one person working full time, in terms of pay [probably
not in terms of amount of work done per person.... that's probably a good
deal from the university's perspective].  With 2 people working part-time
that means each gets 1/2 time to dedicate to other endeavors.  I can see 
how that would be really attractive if one was trying something crazy,
like having a career and children and a marriage, simultaneously, and still
have time to do silly stuff like sleep and eat.  From the original post, I
got that these people spend 1/2 year in Costa Rica, how many tropical ecolo-
gists can afford to do that every year?  I'm sure that these people who share
a position do end up working more than 1/2 time each, so perhaps the pay
for such a couple should be adjusted accordingly.  My point is that
couples sometimes decide to have one be the sole breadwinner while the other
stays home and cares for kids or pursues other options, and that works well
for them because it allows both parties to do the things that make them feel
satisfied personally.  It seems to me that, for a couple where both parters
have professional aspirations yet would enjoy not dedicating themselves full
time to those pursuits, a split position would be a godsend.  If nothing else,
should a time come when each or both people decide to go full-time, they
both will have valuable work experience (and possibly a publication record,
imagine that!) as opposed to having one have an established career and the
other be X number of years "behind" in terms of professional advancement.

I hope you notice I wrote this in a non-gender specific manner.  I don't
think splitting a position is sexist.  If anything, it looks to me like
such a couple may be in fact striving for real equality: both work, both
play, both care for children, both have personal interests that can be
pursued... They will have a lower income than a two full-time working
couple, but I think how satisfactory such arrangement is should be up to them
to decide!

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