Friday, November 04, 2011

Should She Do It?

Today in Scientopia, I reluctantly sort of give some advice about intra-department relationships, in response to a reader's e-mail about her particular situation, but mostly I request comments from readers on this general topic and/or specific situation.


Phillip Helbig said...

There is only a problem if she gets tenure and it is rather obvious that she wouldn't have if the relationship had not existed (whether or not her boyfriend formally has a say). Sadly, I know many such cases (most with junior (at least scientifically) woman and senior man). I have no sympathy at all for this; permanent positions are few and far between and someone getting a position she shouldn't have otherwise is just wrong in so many ways, especially if the reason for it is that she just happens to have the right boyfriend (which is why I am so sceptical of many schemes designed to help dual-career couples).

On the other hand, I know many dual-career couples, some of whom met on the job, and it is obvious that both have earned it, to the extent that many people who have known them for years don't even realised they are married (in one case, they even have the same last name). In that case, if she deserves tenure, if there is a problem then it is not hers. I wouldn't hide the relationship, but neither would I flaunt it (at least not on campus).

Apparently some institutes do not allow relationships among the staff. I would not work at such an institute and would not live in a country in which such discrimination is legal. (I think it is OK to require the department head to be informed, though---which raises the question who should be informed if the department head is the one involved in the relationship (yes, I know about such a case as well).)

Anonymous said...

The reason she shouldn't push for the relationship is that the guy is telling her he's not interested in developing it further.

The problem is, it sounds as though they're already having an affair. If so, the real question may be, is it safe for her to break it off before tenure?