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To tell or not to tell?

Sarah Pallas pallas at cephalo.neusc.bcm.tmc.edu
Fri Oct 14 13:30:19 EST 1994

I have a colleague who has a pretty good faculty position but is
dissatisfied for several reasons and wants to start looking for a
different job.  He asked me for advice on whether or not to make his
job search public, since he didn't really know if he could do better,
and he didn't want to spoil working relations with his present
department in case he ended up staying there.

It occured to me that this must be a common problem for two career
couples, since one person is likely to be underemployed and therefore
in the market for a change, while the other person may not be
interested in moving, and thus doesn't want to jeopardize their
position by having it known that the spouse is on the market.

How common is it to keep an employment search under wraps?  What is
the typical reponse of chairperson/colleagues if it's found out?  Do
they feel betrayed, or is this standard operating procedure?  I know
when I was a postdoc I heard through the grapevine that my boss was
interviewing elsewhere, and I got quite worried about the potential
upheaval in my life.  But I was told that it's wise to always be "on
the market", to keep your present institution appreciative of you, or
to strengthen your negotiating position, etc.  In that case, it would
be in one's best interest to make a search public, or at least "leak
it" to the grapevine.  Does it operate differently for men or women?
Married or single?  Between fields?

Sarah Pallas
Division of Neuroscience
Baylor College of Medicine
Houston, TX

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