27 April 2012

Job offer...accepted!

dave sent off his verbal acceptance of the job today. and now begins the contract negotiation phase. so i guess youd say we are 95% on our way to finland. though most other details remain fuzzy at this point.

i am impressed by daves level-headed contemplation of this job post. after we got home from finland, he contacted all his trusted advisors and set up chats with them. he had told the university of helsinki people that he would get back to them in a week or so, but he told me that if he didnt get a chance to touch base with all his advisor people then he would simply ask them for more time. he wanted and needed to make sure. i wont say im surprised by this behavior, but i will say that i was very proud to know that he was taking this so seriously and was being methodical about the decision-making process (this makes it sound like i had no say in the decision...not true. however, there is a personal side of taking a job post and a professional side. i cant answer or decide the professional side for him).

so, in the end we had daves professional pro/con list and our personal pro/con list (basically that which i posted pre-finland, with a few additional notes). we decided that, honestly, very few places in the u.s. would make us truly happy and those places havent been exactly exploding with job postings. daves type of geology (non-field based, mostly modeling) is currently less common in the u.s. (though this is changing) so his kind of job positions come up even less often than normal. plus, the treatment of junior faculty in the u.s. is pretty poor. they get a huge teaching load dumped on them, are expected to work themselves to the bone, and the attitude toward them is generally "sink or swim". not exactly a nurturing environment. we also felt that most places in canada were not to our liking. and, thinking about europe, there are just a handful of countries that have the right mix of job opportunity, serious science going on, decent grant funding likelihood, a desirable culture and government, and high likelihood for me to get a job as well. with the opportunity given to dave to ease in to a (hopefully) successful career via this job, the "pros" we listed of finland, and our general desire to want to be settled somewhere and start the next phase of our lives, we decided that this really was a top-notch offering. nothing is ever going to be ideal, but aside from the darker winters, there really shouldnt (we hope) be anything we cant at least hazard a guess at what it will be like to tackle. i hope this is enough to give us a good shot at success and happiness, you just can never be 100% sure.

things of note about the job:
the official position is "assistant professor" and its tenure-track. accepting the offer is the first piece of the pie. now begins contract negotiations. this part can last for various amounts of time, though there is always the possibility of the "deal" falling through (from either end). but, the university people seem reasonable and open-minded so far and dave does not come with tons of rigid demands, so perhaps i (and my future ulcers) will be spared a long contract negotiation phase.

hierarchy on his campus of the university:
*dean of science (a physics guy who was itching to speak to dave at the interview and excited about him being able to help bridge the geophysics gap for students) 
**department of geosciences and geography
***three divisions of the geosciences and geography department (each with their own head): geology, geography, and the institute of seismology (pekka [from the interview trip] is head of this division)
****dave will be an assistant professor in the institute of seismology

what we know right now the job comes with:
-30 days (6 weeks) paid vacation
-7 weeks a year of no teaching
-teaching in english only (or least a very high likelihood)
-an opportunity to teach in the field, though its not a requirement
-eased in to the teaching circuit (no teaching the first semester (probably) and up to 2 classes per year [pre-tenure], 3-4 classes per year potentially in the future)

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