Take the 2-minute tour ×
MathOverflow is a question and answer site for professional mathematicians. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Let's say you happen to be a mathematician, and your spouse is also an academic and in a humanities field in which there are very few jobs advertised. Assuming that you can convince universities to hire you on a tenure-track level, what are the chances that they will be able (or willing) to create a position for your spouse? If you already have a job that you are reasonably happy with, is it at all reasonable to apply to positions where there is nothing advertised for your spouse in the area in hopes that you can arrange something for them if you get a job offer?

I'm mostly interested in the US and research I-esque jobs, though I would be happy to hear about the situation in other countries.

EDIT: Since Yemon asks, here are some examples of answers I would like to see:

  • specific anecdotes about this happening or failing to happen. I don't want to violate anyone's privacy, but presumably some of these can be anonymized or are a matter of public record.
  • comments from people who've been in administrative capacities in departments/on hiring committees about whether this is something they would even attempt to arrange, and whether they've had any success with it in the past.
  • obviously, actual data on how often this happens would be great, but I have trouble imagining it exists, at least specifically for mathematics.

I'm failing to see why Andrew thinks that no one will be able to surmise anything from a long list of anecdotes. Obviously, it would be better to have data, but when trying to figure out what one could even hope to ask from a hiring committee, knowing what has happened in the past is very valuable information.

share|improve this question
8  
I would say it's certainly a question of interest to research mathematicians (both those who want to get jobs, and those who want to make hires). I would also argue that it's worth asking in a mathematics specific forum, since the ability to push these things through administration may vary quite a bit from department to department. The point about Chronicle of Higher Ed fora is a good one, and I may try there as well. I'll address what sort of answers would be good in an edit. –  anonymous Sep 15 '10 at 7:27
3  
meta discussion <tea.mathoverflow.net/discussion/671/…; –  Andrew Stacey Sep 15 '10 at 8:02
2  
It might help if you could say more about why you are asking this question (presumably you will have no trouble maintaining the spirit of your MO name). Specifically, I wonder if your spouse either has no academic job or is in an unpleasant one rather than, say, is about to graduate from a good school with a strong thesis. Also, are there few jobs advertised only for temporary reasons (e.g., the economy) or is it always that way (e.g., Tuvan studies)? Unless the spouse's work can stand on its own merits, the result is unlikely to be satisfactory if the spouse is seeking a tenure-track job. –  KConrad Sep 15 '10 at 10:56
3  
@Gerald: this is swiftly wandering off-topic, but: the word "ploy" makes it sound like you think the couple did something unethical. From what you have said, that's not clear: as long as they seriously considered your department's offer, I think what they did is fine. Among colleagues that I've spoken to about this, it is essentially unanimously agreed that nowadays, the only way to maintain something like your "market rate" salary at a job you have held for several years is to acquire outside job offers. –  Pete L. Clark Sep 15 '10 at 15:10
5  
@Emerton: I just thought I'd remark that my spouse is definitely sufficiently attractive. –  Kevin Buzzard Sep 16 '10 at 10:03
show 14 more comments

Know someone who can answer? Share a link to this question via email, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook.

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.