There was an article in Inside Higher Ed about how women, especially in academics, settle far too frequently for less money and perks than they really have coming to them. They don't negotiate and jump at whatever crumbs are offered. I was wondering if I did that today. Of course, the position doesn't have any wiggle room, so perhaps I didn't settle. But if I were offered the next level in rank (is this ever going to actually happen????) I'm not sure I even know what I would ask for. More money? Breaks for research? And if they said no, I'm sure I would just slink away.
All this leads me think about what I'm worth. Since I finished my doctorate, I keep complaining that I don't get paid what I'm worth. I remind my husband as frequently as possible that I have more education than he does. But the reality is that my job searches are severely limited because even if I'm offered my dream job, I could never command a salary that would make it worth moving. His salary is easily double--okay, triple--what I made at my last job. (Just typing that sentence makes me want to cry). Obviously, piling more and more education on your resume doesn't exactly translate into dollars.
I'm not writing this to complain . . . much, but I'm finding it really difficult to wrap my mind around how I should be defining "worth." If I had stopped at the BA and worked throughout my twenties, I would have paid off a big chunk of my undergraduate loans and still be making more money than I do now. But I really do love the wiggle room in my schedule, and working with students (whose parents I'm not even allowed to talk to), the ability to do research on topics I'm truly excited about, and summers that I can use in whatever ways I see fit.
In my upcoming position, I'm thrilled at the salary, which is higher than my very low expectations. But what does it mean that my expectations are so low? When I told my husband the salary offer, he asked if they got confused and thought that I was starting in one of the science departments. Ha, ha. It's an interesting phenomenon.
8 months ago