Author Topic: What's it worth to have summers off?  (Read 2702 times)

takemewest

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What's it worth to have summers off?
« on: November 11, 2017, 12:22:40 PM »
My spouse and I are both in education (I'm in higher ed, he's in k-12), so we have the luxury of summers off. However, due to our low salaries in a relatively rural area, I often teach online summer classes or have to work on research, which means we aren't as free as many would imagine, and we don't have the money to spend it traveling as much as we'd like while still meeting our retirement goals. Still, we're free from the 8-5 schedule for those couple months and get to do lots of fun free stuff like hike, camp, and work in our garden.

I have an interview for a 12-month administrative position at a university in a higher cost of living location (probably 1/3 more than COL here), but the salary is almost double what I make. It's also much more of a dream job, and while we're happy in our location, I'm not happy in my current position and would very much like to leave the tenure track for this type of job offer. With the salary potential for my spouse, we could easily be in a position to double our annual salaries while only increasing our COL by 1/3 or so, but it would mean giving up our summers together.

This is among our top deliberations (and perhaps it shouldn't even be, and I'd welcome that reality check). We'd also be leaving almost all of our immediate family, so we'd spend more money/time off coming back here to see them. But, we'd be moving to a place that is much more aligned with our values and politics, which would be a welcome change.

I know it's probably too early to think about this at just the interview stage, but I'd be curious how folks around here would view that balanceó mediocre professional reality (for me anyway) but matched vacation time with my husband, or much better salaries and professional scenario but a more typical daily/yearly "grind."

It might be worth knowing that part of my current issues with my job is that some significant political blackballing is happening (years ago, I essentially called out an unethical practice, and that's now coming back to bite me). I can't imagine continuing to invest in this job after those issues.


rubybeth

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Re: What's it worth to have summers off?
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2017, 12:27:18 PM »
For me, the key would be better job that makes you happier and more money, in an area which could also increase happiness. If you were happier in general, then the issue of time off is kind of irrelevant.

Cranky

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Re: What's it worth to have summers off?
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2017, 03:19:52 PM »
Do you have kids? What will you do with the extra money? Do you have a time frame for how long you want to do this?

Iím trying to get my dh to give up the summer part of his university job in advance of retiring a few years from now, and heís not keen. Control issues, I think.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2017, 05:12:52 PM by Cranky »

takemewest

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Re: What's it worth to have summers off?
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2017, 05:11:05 PM »
Thanks for the input, everyone. We don't have kids, although we haven't ruled it out. Our families wouldn't be much help if we did, so that isn't a "pro" in terms of staying locally. In fact, in some ways, moving away and not being here to be their crutch (they act as if we're sort of their sole source of happiness) might be a nice psychological burden lifted!

What would we do with the money? We'd definitely save a lot more money, and we'd also travel some more than we've been able to the last three years. Luckily we have no debt except our mortgage. Our salaries have been too low to do much more than the free recreational stuff (or they go to home repairs). We're still saving for retirement, but only through 401ks. Haven't been able to max the IRAs in a couple years due to spouse going back to school to teach, life stuff, etc., home repairs.

lbmustache

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Re: What's it worth to have summers off?
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2017, 05:34:01 PM »

It might be worth knowing that part of my current issues with my job is that some significant political blackballing is happening (years ago, I essentially called out an unethical practice, and that's now coming back to bite me). I can't imagine continuing to invest in this job after those issues.

Sounds like another day in higher ed... lol.

With that said, if you do not see advancement potential at your current job (are you adjuncting?) I would definitely pursue the newer job. Sounds like a win-win all-around, minus the time with your husband. But there may be ways to still create that time together. Also, some admin jobs at universities still have a pretty cushy vacation schedule (e.g. a week off between Christmas and New Years, the usual benefit of extra holidays off most people don't get like President's day, etc.). So it may even out a tad bit.

Freedomin5

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Re: What's it worth to have summers off?
« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2017, 06:31:05 PM »
It is totally worth it to get summers off to me. I don't know how flexible/adventurous you are, but just wanted to throw out the idea of teaching at international schools. In China, average starting salary is $60-$80k for a K-12 teacher in a tier one city, with free housing and free flights, and decent vacation time. It's a good way to powercharge your savings for a few years.

Higher Ed typically makes less than K-12, but there are a few joint ventures between American/British universities here now (e.g., NYU), and they pay pretty decently for adjunct professors.

takemewest

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Re: What's it worth to have summers off?
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2017, 10:58:46 AM »

It might be worth knowing that part of my current issues with my job is that some significant political blackballing is happening (years ago, I essentially called out an unethical practice, and that's now coming back to bite me). I can't imagine continuing to invest in this job after those issues.

Sounds like another day in higher ed... lol.

With that said, if you do not see advancement potential at your current job (are you adjuncting?) I would definitely pursue the newer job. Sounds like a win-win all-around, minus the time with your husband. But there may be ways to still create that time together. Also, some admin jobs at universities still have a pretty cushy vacation schedule (e.g. a week off between Christmas and New Years, the usual benefit of extra holidays off most people don't get like President's day, etc.). So it may even out a tad bit.

I'm on the tenure track, so there's of course the idea of built-in advancement, but I feel pretty nervous about that with the current politics going on. I don't love the tenure track enough to look for a lateral move, but I do like higher ed, so this admin position is a good fit. You make a good point about the extra time off--I should look at the academic calendar!

takemewest

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Re: What's it worth to have summers off?
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2017, 11:00:33 AM »
It is totally worth it to get summers off to me. I don't know how flexible/adventurous you are, but just wanted to throw out the idea of teaching at international schools. In China, average starting salary is $60-$80k for a K-12 teacher in a tier one city, with free housing and free flights, and decent vacation time. It's a good way to powercharge your savings for a few years.

Higher Ed typically makes less than K-12, but there are a few joint ventures between American/British universities here now (e.g., NYU), and they pay pretty decently for adjunct professors.

We've actually lived overseas before and done that gig. We loved it, but the expense of coming back to see family got old after a little while, especially as siblings have had children that we want to see more frequently. I

Freedomin5

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Re: What's it worth to have summers off?
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2017, 08:35:40 PM »
It is totally worth it to get summers off to me. I don't know how flexible/adventurous you are, but just wanted to throw out the idea of teaching at international schools. In China, average starting salary is $60-$80k for a K-12 teacher in a tier one city, with free housing and free flights, and decent vacation time. It's a good way to powercharge your savings for a few years.

Higher Ed typically makes less than K-12, but there are a few joint ventures between American/British universities here now (e.g., NYU), and they pay pretty decently for adjunct professors.

We've actually lived overseas before and done that gig. We loved it, but the expense of coming back to see family got old after a little while, especially as siblings have had children that we want to see more frequently. I

Yup, the burnout rate is quite high. Teachers seem to fall into two camps. The ones who LOVE it and stay here for 10+ years, or the ones who leave after their 2-year contract is up. Most seem to move after 2-3 years.

GoConfidently

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Re: What's it worth to have summers off?
« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2017, 09:11:59 PM »
I gave up an average paying teaching position to take a full year admin position that pays more. I wonít lie - I miss my summers off. It was nice while it lasted. But the pay difference more than makes up for it. I wasnít optimizing that time to do anything worthwhile that I havenít made time for in my current schedule. Iím not married so that wasnít part of my deliberations, but maybe your husband can find a part time job or side hustle during the summer to help make FI or RE come sooner. You may both find out youíre more productive apart than together during the summers.