Monday night we talked a LOT about my concerns.  My husband basically made it clear that one of us was going to be unhappy one way or the other; either me because I was working or him because our income was unstable. 

I reject that outcome; I don’t believe that there are no alternatives.  So I went out and found one.  It’s imperfect, but better.

I’m going to accept a full time job for 6 months with the place I am currently.  They know from day 1 that it will only be for 6 months, and that at the end of June I will be leaving to work full time on my dissertation.  So does hubby.

This has a number of effects. 
On the positive side:

  • We can get more money in the bank as a cushion
  • We can pay off debt, lowering our monthly expenses somewhat
  • I can do this being fully open about my intentions, so no guilt about leaving anyone in a lurch
  • When I’m done, I am done.  I can work on my dissertation and pick up some adjunct hours without guilt.
  • This job, unlike my other option (30 hours per week instead of 40, but proportionately less money as well) is always at a single place and doing work I know well/can do in my sleep.  No driving all over town, no learning new stuff.  That makes it moderately less mentally taxing.

On the negative side:

  • I am unlikely to make any progress on my dissertation at all
  • I will be spending all my non-work time keeping on top of my research projects and dealing with comps. 
  • In other words I will be crazy busy and stressed for the next 6 months.

However I think the trade-off is worth while.  The sigh of relief from my husband at the idea was audible across the 10 miles separating us when I told him.  And like most married couples, the mood of one has a massive impact on the mood of other.  He would have LET me stop working, but it would have made him miserable, worried and grumpy, which would make ME miserable, worried, grumpy and guilty to boot. 

Plus this helps the place I am now.  Out of a 12 person team the manager was faced with losing 3 key players at the end of the month.  Now he loses 2 at the end of the month and has 6 months to worry about replacing me.  That’s a substantial favor to him.  In exchange I get 6 months of a 6 figure salary (just barely) with benefits and holidays during which we can get our financial act together.

Now the remaining question is comps, which were on the docket for this spring.  I see 2 possibilities:

  1. try to do comps while working full time.  That really will depend on the format and getting my advisers approval for my program of study.
  2. take 2 more courses.  technically i don’t need them but it will make the program of study a slam-dunk and they are the kind of thing that adviser thinks i don’t have enough of.

Thoughts/Advice?  Should I take a couple of classes (so that my loans stay deferred and adviser is happier) and put off comps?  or should I just charge ahead and negotiate something doable while working?