Sunday, December 31
Maybe it's the time of year that brought this analogy to my mind, but how might the Christmas story be different if Joseph had been a hot-shot academic? Would Jesus still have been born in a manger, or would Mary have somehow managed to land a spousal accommodation at the inn?

I hate that word - accommodation. More than that, I hate feeling like someone accommodated me (or my partner) so that I could have the job that I do. It's one of those things that you can't complain about, though, because there are people out there who would kill to be in my shoes, who would give anything to be "accommodated."

The hardest part about my own accommodation is that no one will call it that - the party line is that I was hired on merit, because I "deserved" my position. Maybe it's just the "fraud" in me that can't accept that, or maybe I'm more perceptive than people take me for.

What does it mean to be accommodated? Does it mean that I'm less important than my partner, or just less worthy? Should I be happy that I was accommodated? Would I feel better if people were just honest about it? Is it selfish of me to think that I'm worth every ounce of my position, or is it just delusional? Most importantly, will I ever be able to hear the word accommodation without feeling my spirit weaken?

5 comments:

Turquoise Stuff said...

These things are complicated, I'm sorry they're a source of anxiety for you.

I think you could see the word accomodate in a fairly harmless manner. After all, these are accomodations to the various parties involved (the institution, you, your partner). Can you see the term without the baggage? What term would you prefer?

The reality is that such issues come up and they likely will get more common as more and more couples exist where both parties want to pursue academic careers.

You know, plenty of places won't just hire a partner simply because they need the other person. It's still a line, it's still a salary, it's still a new colleague and a new member of the community. If you were hired it's because they felt that you would contribute in ways that matter.

That's certainly how it happens where I am.

If you're continued to feel badly then I recommend looking for another "accomodation" a few years down the line.

Ms.PhD said...

I agree with turquoise stuff. They wouldn't hire you if you weren't good enough to make good on a precious slot. Perhaps you don't realize all the negotiating that goes on within and between departments to make something like a couples hire happen? A LOT of people have to get together and either agree or exchange bribes. Either way, it means they really want you, or they wouldn't go to the trouble.

And besides, I would take a job right now if someone handed it to me, and I would say "Thank you, sir!" and feel like I won the lottery, even if I found the winning ticket lying on the ground in the middle of nowhere. Just be glad they're giving you something you can work with, and run with it!

fraud, in denim said...

Thanks, you two. I think I was just having a particularly stressful day, and the reminder that I'm an accommodation, or someone who's best as a package deal, weighed heavily on me.

I know I have it good, though, and that I am worthy of the position and I'm lucky I've got some time to show them that. If I continue to feel sort of second rate, I'll definitely look to move on in the future.

Thanks for letting me vent!

Scarlet said...

Sometimes with so-called spousal accommodations at the junior level, the department ends up getting two candidates who each would have done better on the market by themselves. Don't sell yourself short: it's possible the prevailing opinion among your field's cognoscenti could be that your department is not just lucky to have your partner, but you as well.

fraud, in denim said...

Scarlet! I'm so glad that you resurrected yourself.

I know the that's the prevailing opinion in the department that I came from, now I've just got to make sure the department I came to knows it as well.