Just thought I'd post in here and get some advice from you guys. My wife wants to persue her PhD in English. After years and years of school (and a hefty amount of debt) she wants to go forward and get her doctorate. She assures me she can get a grant so we wouldn't have to take out any more loans. Thank God! But the big issue will be moving.
For some reason, "they" don't like you to get your Bachelors, Masters, and PhD from the same school. Therefore, we'd have to move so she could attend a new University. And once she DID get her degree, we'd have to move again so she could find a professorship job with a tenure track.
I'm a bit hesitant to move at this point. You see, I have a nice, secure civil service job as an engineer. The pay is not spectacular but it's guaranteed. Plus, if I work at my job for 30 years and retire, they will pay me my salary until both me AND my wife die. So if I go before her, she never has to worry about money. She'll keep getting my pension check. And to top everything off, I've been here long enough that my position is secure for as long as I want it. Basically...they can't fire me or let me go. It's safe, secure, and provides a better than average lifestyle for me and my wife. She doesn't even have to work if she doesn't want to.
But if we move, I have to give all that security up. (In addition to selling our house and moving away from my family.) I guess I'm not convinced her doctorate is worth it. Sure I can find another job but will it be as secure? There's no way we can make it if she is in school and I get laid off. And then...what about my retirement? I go from guaranteed for life to possibly working into my 70's just to make ends meet.
I just feel like I'm throwing my life (and career) away so she can stay in school for another couple of years. I know it sounds selfish but I think keeping my job makes sense for us a couple. I know she wants this degree so she can feel fulfilled and so she can feel as if she contributes...but why risk it?? Especially considering that I'm practically 1/3 of the way to retirement already.
I just don't know what to do. If I disagree with her she'll claim that I'm robbing her of her "dream". Well what about OUR "dream" of a happy life together? She's never really had to worry about money before because she's always been in school and has had all of her expenses taken care of by family or student loans. I don't think she realizes how important (and rare) my having this job is in today's world.
I can't give you any advice but I know it's almost impossible to find secure jobs these days. I've been laid off 7 times in my life and it's not fun. Sometimes it seems that when somebody leaves their secure job it's takes years to find another one and you have get laid off a few times before you do, if you do. I also know people who get their phd and don't make much money anyway. Can't she get a degree on-line???
Not a doctorate. Plus, she is kind of hung up on moving away just for the sake of moving. She claims she "can't stand it here". The people are stupid and there's nothing to do.
I say it could be worse if she gets into a smaller university in the middle of nowhere. At least here we are in a fairly big city / town and are only an hours drive away from New Orleans (such as it is lately)
Seems like your wife wants to be a perennial student, which is fine, but probably not at the cost you are describing. You like your job and it's been a source of support for both you and your wife. If losing it would make your life really difficult, I don't see why you should always be the one to compromise and adjust your life around her life. It seems like the best solution would be for her to get her PhD from a University that's close to where you live. A PhD is a Phd. Who cares if it's from the same school as one's masters? I doubt it would hurt her chances of getting a job as a professor. And you're right, nowadays it takes YEARS for someone to become tenured faculty, no matter where their PhD is from. I think your wife is being very unreasonable.
So in other words...there isn't a school within commuting distance?? Even an hour - 2 hour commute?? Perhaps even moving to where you both would have an equal commute to work/school would be something to entertain??
It's all about compromise....I am afraid that if you stiffle her need for intellectual growth it will only affect your relationship in the end....we should always support our spouses need for growth but not at the expenxe of total sacrifice of both party's well being. And if you move and give up what you see as important to you (your career & future security) the relationship will suffer as well. You MUST come to some type of compromise....that is key to mutual happiness and growth in relationships.
Why can't she move and attend school while you stay where you are? My husband is in the Navy and we have had to do this several times. I have a great, secure and well paying job where we live, and he, after he gets done with his current assignment will have to go back to sea. We have no plans for me to move with him. He will be living about 4 hours away and will be busy preparing for deployment.
If your relationship is strong, this can be easily done. This way, both of you are happy.
Believe me, if she really wants this and she feels like YOU are the only reason she didn't get to pursue it, she will more than likely resent you for it in the future.
Goody is exactly right! Because each side will hold resentment whichever way you decide.
3 years ago my husband and I had a big decision too. We had to decide what town to live in, the one near his parents or stay in the one near my family. He was adamant that we live where HE wanted!! I finally told him if he loved me then he would compromise and live in between, if not, then hit the road. He chose the latter, but only because he thought I was giving him an empty threat, but I stood my ground. Then one day he said ok call the realitor and lets look at houses IN BETWEEN! We bought a beautiful home and love it here! Now we live 20 minutes from his parents, whom he checks on a lot as they are mid 70's and 15 from mine.
I truly think that you walking away from such a secure job would be the mistake of a lifetime in todays economy! For your wife to just expect you to do so shows she is pretty selfish. On the other hand, I can see where her needing a degree would also secure a better future for the both of you.
If this is only going to take a couple of years, then I think she should choose a school close by and maybe get a small apartment or rent a room if commuting isn't feesible. That way she can answer her calling and you can keep your job.
Now about moving, she has to grow up about that. She can't just wake up one morning and decide life is boring so "hey lets move". What if you give up your job and move, only to get settled in another job, but she decides she is bored in that area too?
You might want to consider taking this to marriage counceling, where you can have someone help you mediate the issues and work it all out.
That's just it...we're not talking about moving an hour or 2 away. So there really is no "in between" option. For her to persue her new degree...we'd have to move from Louisiana to Virginia, or possibly Texas. From what I gather, you have to attend a school that caters to your particular field.
I'm personally favoring the option of her living away for a few years, doing her thing, and then coming back here. I also get the feeling that she wants the degree more than the job afterwards. So maybe that's the answer. She won't like it though because I KNOW she'll want me to come with her...which as most of you have pointed out, doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
But RealGuy, this is what your wife needs to understand, what you have is a MARRIAGE!! That means TWO PEOPLE, TWO OPINIONS!, TWO LIVES! You are not her property, nor are you her minor child who has to obey, you are a grown man! The mere fact that she disregards your wants and needs for her own, speaks volumnes.
I'm not saying that you should divorce her or anything like that. But I am saying that if she wishes to continue her education, then she needs to compromise as Goody suggested. If she won't, then you really would have to rethink who you have married.
That is why I suggested counceling, because marriage counceling helps on so many levels. You don't have to be "near divorce" to go. Having an unbiased person to just help mediate does wonders. Also a councelor might really help to make each of you see where the other one is coming from.
This is a tough one. I'm getting my ph.d. right now in the humanities (different field). I've never heard that I shouldn't get all my degrees from the same place, though my bachelors is from a different place so maybe nobody mentioned it. It does matter if she wants to be a professor that she gets her ph.d. from a good, highly rated school. Those jobs are really hard to get, especially in the humanities.
If I were you, I would not give up your job right away. Ph.D. programs are *very* different from bachelors and masters programs. Not so much harder, just different. Classes don't really matter any more and you're on your own a lot. People who love school and love their subject, don't always love doctoral programs. A lot of people drop out in the first year or two when they realize how long it'll take and how unclear the path is and how uncertain the job prospects are. Many people love it and finish, too, but I'd wait a year or two to make sure your wife likes what she's doing before giving up your job. Maybe you two could live apart for a year while she figures out if she's really going to do this and then reassess. Also, she doesn't even really need to be there when she finishes classes, which she could probably knock out of the way in 2 years if she works really hard.
There has to be some way to talk about your legitimate concerns without being accused of squashing her dream. That's not really fair.
Just a thought - I live in Northern VA/Washington DC area, and there are a TON of civil service jobs in this area. The traffic is awful, but there may be something here for you if your wife needs to attend a school in this area.
Thanks, Ibee for the compliments Regularguy (not to get mixed up with Realguy ), Ibee speaks from experience as does Susie....however, LDR's are not for everyone (sorry Susie but you have to be of a certain makeup to be a military wife ) I would not advocate her going away to pursue her degree....I mean you could suggest it but would YOU be okay with that....because if you are not then I say do not even suggest it.
Aren't there other Universities/Colleges in Lousiana that offer the degree she is seeking??? Even if you moved closer to the border of another state.....would that be feesible to your getting to your job??? There just has to be some sort of compromise here!!! How about a lateral transfer to another engineering position in Virginia or elsewhere??? Is that a possibility???
I am sure that you thought about all of this but it really comes down to really thinking it all out....if you hold your wife back she will be resentful and you would have to be willing to give without ever feeling regrets or being resentful for whatever sacrifice you make. Sometimes when we love somebody enough we are willing to make that sacrifice but with the way jobs are today it's not so easy to find the financial security that you have with your current job and as you already shared with us, your wife doesn't even want the job......she's in it for the degree.
You really have alot to think about and I do not envy you....the thing is that if you are the sole supporter it is really important that your career & security in terms of employment be set....your wife must know this, right??
Ok I feel the need to post in this thread for a number of reasons.
1. You do realize that having a civil service job that you can transfer anywhere you want? ANd keep the civil service position? Why have you not mentioned this detail? My DH has a civil service job and we have transfered several times due to a few reasons. It seems to me that you want people to be on your side on this board by letting this major detail out of the picture.
2. You seem to feel you are the only one capable of EVER getting a job. I agree jobs are hard to get, but if the positions were reversed, I bet you would be crying to get more "training" in order to makemore money.
3. I have my masters, and I would love to become a professor. For this reason I want to get my doctorate. They suggest you go to a different school because a. different schools have different classes....if you went for you masters at one college, somtimes they combine classes, and you would have taken all of the classes already...in otehr words, it would be hard. Going to different schools ensures you get the best education, the most diverse classes, and that the teachers are not biased towards you and give you a fair judgement. I am an adult educator, and the degree I recieved is not offered at every school. I had to move to get this degree and I may move again, child and hubby in tow, in order to get my next degree.
4. Getting this degree is not about gettng a good job...it's about being happy, about finding a purpose in life. Family is great, but you have to have a fullfillment in your life besides. I mean I took off a few years to have a family, btu I intend on gettng my doctorate because I love to teach. I want to teach my son that education is important and you should not rely on ANYONE to make you happy or decide your life. Yes a marriage is a two person thing.....but come on. A part of loving someone is wanting them to be happy. Money is not everything....paying the bills is important, but being fullfilled as a person is more important. Ten years from now you aren't going to remember how you struggled to make your dreams come through....you are going to remember the support and love you recieved and the memories you made achieving what you wanted to achieve.
My DH supports me in everything I do and what I want because he knows I am a strong woman who knows what she wants, and that a marriage is about loving the otehr person.....not the retirememnt plan you have or how you are going to buy this and that. I mean, who says you are going to live to retirement????? God forbid if you both don't make it to thirty years, is that pension plan going to matter? Or is it going to matter that she was HAPPY in persuing her dream????
I totally sympathize with your wife. Poor woman. It sucks she has a husband who is trying to be the only provider because he thinks he is the only one who can get a secure job. My husband would never do that to me. I guess I am lucky. She is not being selfish because she wants a good degree....she is being smart.
btw, you can't get a good doctorate online. They actually question the credibility of online degrees. I know because I taught onine classes, but certain ones cannot be taught online. You almost need student and prof interaction face to face.
He is richest who is content with the least, for content is the wealth of nature.
How about a lateral transfer to another engineering position in Virginia or elsewhere??? Is that a possibility???
This is what I thought of too. I live in Northern VA which is right outside Washington DC. And I will tell you that it's an employees dream here. There are more jobs available than there are people! Now the cost of living is high and the traffic sucks, but because this is the national capital, there are a TON of civil service jobs here.