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Is marriage a career advantage?

Thu Aug 12 15:08:21 EST 1993

  As I've mentioned before, my wife is currently the one on the carreer-
development path, and, being a graduate student, I am the one with a flexible
schedule to handle day-care, the plumber, etc.  My turn will come sooner than
I would probably hope for. ;-)  As an MD/PhD student, I often get stuff in my
mailbox from the JMA (Junior Medical Auxilliary) for my wife, announcing the
date and time of the next meeting and what activity they'll be engaged in for
this month.  The activities I can recall from the past year were: "organizing
the spring banquet", "how to make a Valentine's heart wreath", and "tips on
preparing for your next party".  etc., ad nauseum.
  There are two things that really irk me about this group.  The first is that
they assume that all future physicians are male and the second is that they
assume that all spouses of medical students are ditzy blond housewives with
nothing better to do than sit around crocheting doilies and entertaining
friends from the yacht club.

  This post is not just to show that, in contrast to

> even if no children are involved.  The men who are still able to swing
> this arrangement seem to be somewhat critical of those men who ended up
> with wives working outside the home.

those of us who did end up with wives who work outside the home can be just
as critical about how seemingly intelligent, motivated men can end up with
such air-headed, useless-to-society wives.  ;-)

  Rather, since there have been complaints that this forum is all gripes and
no problem solving, I'll offer the following some-what-subversive suggestion:
let the men who have "real" wives do the work for you.  Find out which men in
your department, who are coming up for tenure or promotion, have done
excellent and efficient work, though coming in slightly short of the "maximum
possible productivity" mark, despite not having the "help" from their wives
that other men had.  Point out their circumstances and their success to the
powers-that-be, and with any luck, the committees will already be familiar
with these situations when the women come up to bat.  Fighting the battle as
women *and* as individuals with "special circumstances" is a double-whammy for
old-line bureaucrats to deal with.  Let them handle *men* with "special
circumstances" first, and then the only issue left is gender, which they
can't touch.  :-))

Dean Lee
Microbiology Dept
mbidle at lluvm.bitnet

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