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Hi friends! I’m happy to announce that I’ve officially signed the deal and will have a full time job starting July 13th!


Holding my signed contract

Yikes, that’s sneaking up quick! I’ve signed a short-term 1 month contract to work on course preparation from mid-July through mid-August. Then my full-time contract (where the benefits kick in) begins mid-August. Not a lot of time between now and then to tend to things such as: moving girls to full time preschool, buying some work-appropriate attire (I’ll sure miss lounging in my yoga pants all day!), and any other household odds and ends that need to be wrapped up before beginning full-time employment.

I had a handful of commenters ask me to expand on what, exactly, this job is. I’ve mentioned a couple different jobs and I think people were getting confused so I’ll take a moment to give some additional details.

  1. The job I have accepted is for a large public university in Tucson (betcha can’t guess where – wink, wink, nudge, nudge) in a department I’ll call Department A. This job is for a non-tenure track position. It’s part lecturer and part online program coordinator. As time moves on and the online bachelors program really gets going, it will turn into more coordinating and less instructing. Although my dream used to be the traditional tenure-track position, in recent years as I’ve gained experience with online teaching I really see this as the future of academia and I’m excited to have a portion of my salary be administrative (the coordination) while still having the ability to do what I love in the classroom (the lecturing). Plus, there tends to be more money in administration than in the traditional tenure-track career path (at least in my field, may not be true in all fields).
  1. Back in January I had applied for a job at the same university, but in a different department that I’ll call Department B. I did not get that job. BUT, they are the ones that called me a couple weeks ago. I spoke with the department head and she wanted me to teach a couple classes this Fall. She also said that they were trying to get approval (from the college level) to hire a full-time lecturer/undergraduate coordinator but wasn’t sure if it would be approved in time for the fall semester. I got an email on Monday from the dean stating that the position was approved, would be posted soon, and to please apply because they wanted to do a quick (7-10 day) turnaround. This is academic lingo for “we legally have to post the job, but the position is yours.” This is similar to job #1, above, in that it is also non-tenure-track; one part lecturer and one part administrative. The main reason why I prefer job #1 over job #2 is that job #1 pays better. My starting salary (in Department A) is more than many of the assistant professors are making in Department B.
  1. The last potential job lead was/is the most up-in-the-air. It’s for the position that I flew out of state for this past March where I did the whole “not-an-interview” thing. At the time I was told that funding for the position they’d advertised was no longer available, but I was encouraged to apply for next year (starting in the 2016-2017 academic year). I recently received an email from them notifying me that the position has been posted. Applications are not due until September, and interviewing/hiring will likely take place in the November-February time frame for the August 2016 start date. This is the only job of the three that is a traditional tenure-track position.

So where are we at?

I’ve officially accepted job #1. Taking job #1 meant that job #2 was out. There is still a possibility I could apply for (and eventually be offered) job #3 for next year, but I’m pretty unsure about it at this point. With all the family turmoil going on, I don’t like the idea of having to move my family cross-country, have my hubs find a new job (or re-start his business in a new state), and basically start all over again. I like the stability of staying where we currently live and starting to really put down roots. I’m also having a hard time with the actual job descriptions. In my mind, I’d always really wanted a tenure-track position. But now that I’m facing a different option, I’m realizing how excited I am about it. I’ve always loved project management (I have some experience with that in the past), and that’s basically what the online coordination is, but on a larger level. Instead of “project” management its “program” management. Also, research is stressful. I still like it and I often incorporate it into my lectures (and I love teaching!), but do I really love research? I don’t know. If given the option, I think I’d select the administrative side (i.e., online program coordination) over the research side. In terms of long-term growth, I also see additional opportunities for the administrative side. Online programs:  it’s the way of the future! Getting this experience early on could help me have a competitive edge over others in the future and maybe, just maybe, land me an awesome position back by family at some point. The big downside is the lack of tenure, itself. Tenure is the best job security in the world! But I don’t worry about it too much. I think my work will speak for itself and I’ll make myself an indispensable asset of the program. So hopefully I’ll have job-security that way.

I have so much more I want to say and some advice I’d like to gather from readers regarding retirement options, but I’m out of time now so that will have to wait until Monday.

Thanks for your encouragement and support along the way. I’m still a little nervous about the transition back into full-time employment (this will be my first full-time position in the past 3 years since my kids were born), but I’m also very excited for this next chapter of our lives and the implications for our debt reduction!


  • Reply mary m |

    Congratulations! It sounds like you made the best choice for you now. 🙂

  • Reply TENN |

    Congratulations! Just wanted to ask what will become of the part time work that you had been doing? Will you continue that for the summer session and then be done with it?

    • Reply Ashley |

      I’m planning to keep it going as long as it’s feasible. It’s a big boost to our income and we could really use it. I know my new job doesn’t love the idea of me continuing to work for another place so I’m operating on the “don’t ask, don’t tell” method. I’ll have to continue doing my part-time job on nights/weekends because it cannot interfere with my full-time employment. As long as I’m able to make it work I want to keep it up. Realistically, though, I may have to drop the part-time job at some point (or reduce down to 1 class instead of 2, depending on how things go).

      • Reply Erin |

        Congratulations on the new job!

        I also work at a large University (in HR, not academia) and have to say that if you are going to continue your other teaching, you HAVE to tell your department. They may say that they don’t want you to do it, but you need to accept that risk. It is far better for you to be upfront and have to stop, then for them to find out later that you have been moonlighting and put your new job in jeopardy. We have had situations where people have been terminated and in the news because they were employed at multiple universities (without our knowledge) and it constituted a significant conflict of interest. If your new department “doesn’t love it”, but are okay with it, then you know you’ve acted with integrity by letting them know (and I imagine that that is what the situation will end up for you). Not telling just seems sketchy at the best, borderline ethically unsound at the worst. I know you don’t mean it that way, but academia is weird – I’m sure you know that!! – so proceed with caution on that front.

        • Reply Ashley |

          Yikes! I really thought that if I worked only on my own time (nights/weekends, never while at my job obviously) that it would be okay. Especially since my online job is teaching-only (none of the administrative/oversight component). It’s basically akin to working adjunct teaching at the community college on the side (which I’ve known professors to do in the past). You’re probably right that I need to disclose it though. Ugh! I cringe at the thought of that conversation!

          • Erin |

            I think that in your situation, it will end up being a non-issue. But, you should still have the conversation. The one time it really blew up at our University is when the researchers that were working for us were like big time department head type people.

            I assume this is on your CV, so they do already know you do this. I’d just be upfront and state that over the course of the last x years you have built a relationship with Random University teaching online courses in Whatever Discipline. You plan on continuing this, but do not believe that it will affect your work at Public University, since you can do this on nights and weekends. If they don’t bat an eye, then at least you were upfront and can continue with a clear conscience. If they ask you not to do it, then you know that it was the right thing to tell them since it could have put you at risk if they found out on their own.

            Also, my guess is that once you’re established and rocking it in your new job, you will have the opportunity to do ‘overload’ type work for other departments (including, perhaps, Department B), so you may eventually end up getting enough work/money at the Public University that you no longer need to moonlight with Random University. (I do work in HR, as I said, so I know how creative departments can be in salary and work assignments for lecturers/admin type people!)

          • Ashley |

            Thanks Erin! You are so awesome and I really appreciate the info! After reading your first comment I did actually call HR to ask if I needed to disclose the info to my department. I was told they didn’t “think so”, but they’d do further checking and call me back. If they say I don’t need to disclose the info, is there some way for me to document it – or would you still suggest having the conversation with my department head just to be 100%? It’s just an awkward conversation, especially since I’m just barely starting and I don’t want it to come across as me not being committed to the department, etc. But I definitely agree that I do NOT want anything to jeopardize the position in any way so if that’s the best route to go, I’m willing to do what needs to be done to play it safe.

          • Erin |

            I can’t reply to your newer comment, so have to respond to this one again. I think that if HR says you’re good, you will be okay. They will know the policies and procedures related to your employment! I do think it’ll be fine, and I really didn’t mean to alarm you – it’s just one of those grayish areas and I personally think that in those types of situations, it’s always best to be honest.

            And, yes, it would be a totally awkward conversation, even if you were trying to be all casual (I know I’d be super awkward in that situation!)! Hopefully HR will save the day for you and you won’t need to worry about it.

  • Reply T'Pol |

    Congratulations! I was wondering why you could not teach both classes at two separate departments at the same university. I remember instructors from Mathematics teaching Calculus to us at Business Administration and Statistics instructors teaching stats and decision theory etc. Would it be too much work?

    • Reply Ashley |

      My contract has too high of a teaching load to allow me to teach classes in another department right now. It’s definitely something thats possible (people have a dual-appointment in both departments), but not something I could do starting this Fall semester.

  • Reply Joe |

    Congratulations, really fantastic news!
    Really well-deserved with all the hard work you’ve put in!

  • Reply Brooke |

    A huge congratulations!!! I’m so excited what this will allow your family to do and can’t wait to see the progress that comes from it. I’m sure it will mean lots of changes for your family, but change can be good some times!

  • Reply debthaven |

    Congratulations, that’s fantastic! I’m so happy things have finally fallen into place for you professionally.

    You don’t want to take any chances with your new job but if you can manage to keep the online teaching as well, it would really help you accelerate the debt payoff.

    For the new job, are you free to work from home some of the time, or will you be at the university full-time? If it’s the latter, you may want to start thinking about meals so you’re not tempted to go out / order take in when you come home at the end of a long day. My kids are older now and mainly out of the house, but when there were 6 of us at home I’d cook HUGE meals and immediately freeze half for another day.

    • Reply Ashley |

      Yes! This is definitely something I’ll need to think about moving forward! I’m anticipating that there will be at least a little flexibility to work at home some of the time (that tends to be the norm for academia), but when I’d met with the department head she’d mentioned really wanting someone to be “present” in the position. So at least initially I’m planning to be there pretty much full-time. As time goes on I may be able to find alternative work arrangements (e.g., coming in late a couple days a week and/or leaving early a couple days a week. I know lots of people who work from home on Wednesdays, etc. etc. etc.)

  • Reply Jackie |

    Congrats I’m so happy for you!! You’ve worked so hard for this. Big changes for you and the family but awesome changes.

    It’s funny at the same time you were going through this I just got a job offer too. I ended up accepting because better pay, hours and also it was more of what I went to school for. Just waiting for the background check to come back then I get a start date.

  • Reply Juhli |

    Congratulations! I think you also have done a very good analysis of the trade offs of each type of position for your family and career. The fact that you are excited by this position and not sure if you are excited by research is very telling. Good luck arranging for your return to full time work. It will take a while for you and your family to adjust but the payoff is worth it including your daughters seeing their Mom as a successful professional role model.

  • Reply Angie |

    Congratulations! I really hope online courses are the future because I won’t be able to afford it for my kids otherwise! 🙂 Best of luck on this next adventure.

  • Reply Jen from Boston |

    Awesome!! Congratulations!!

    And I agree with you that online education is going to get bigger in the future. I’m currently working on a second bachelor’s myself. The degree is completely online from a local public university.

    Is this a contract with an endpoint, or was it just signing the hiring agreement? Is it normal in academia for non-tenured instructors to work on contracts with end dates?

    • Reply Ashley |

      The end date is because the contract I’m holding in the picture is the short-term contract. It’s a little different because it does NOT come with any benefits package. For the regular contract there is no specified end date, but employment is evaluated on an annual basis.

  • Reply Mary |

    Congratulations! I am so happy for you! Sounds like you made a great decision!

  • Reply Abe |

    Congrats!!! Full-time job at a university means now you get to submit paperwork to qualify for the 10-Year Public Service Forgiveness plan on your student loans ;p

So, what do you think ?