Things we want (or want to think about) after tenure

So we have a lot of things we want, but we can’t really think about now so we say, hey, maybe after tenure.   Some stuff, like buying a house or renovating the kitchen aren’t going to be worthwhile if we find out we’ll have to move (which we would have to do without tenure).  Some stuff we’d like a little more academic freedom to not stress over (like not inflating grades, or telling obnoxious students to buzz off…).   Some things are just going to take more time than the tenure clock allows, like top journal pubs (not that we haven’t tried!  but we’re getting too close to really take those risks on new things that might not pan out right now).

Anyway, here’s our list:

  • an entirely new kitchen
  • a raise
  • developing an online course
  • a vacation that doesn’t correspond with a conference
  • a top tier journal publication
  • lower tier journal publications that are just fun even if not actually important from a theoretical or practical standpoint
  • a raise
  • a sabbatical
  • another cat
  • a house
  • boots
  • freedom to tell students to step off
  • fair grading
  • more time with partner
  • publishing fiction?  at least writing more of it
  • hair dyed a cool color
  • a different research culture
  • a wider driveway
  • a raise
  • the ability to wear something other than suits to teach in
  • figure out whether to do laser or electrolysis and do it

Are we foolish or savvy for waiting on these things?  Do you think we’ll get to them after tenure?

Academics and former academics:  What are your tenure goals if you’re one of us and if you have tenure, did anything come to fruition?

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29 Responses to “Things we want (or want to think about) after tenure”

  1. Everyday Tips Says:

    I am not an academic, and I really don’t know what all tenure brings (besides job security). I am assuming that tenure will bring you a certain amount of financial and psychological freedom.

    How far off do you think you are? Is there a set amount of time or is it variable based on how many times you are published, hours taught, etc?

    One thing you need to add is changing the name of your blog…

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      One of us is coming up this year, the other one is coming up later. It’s based on time spent in the department, and varies by departments. After years of no raises, they tell me that tenure will bring a 10% raise (more if I go on the market and get a counter-offer).

      Tenure brings: Job security, often a raise, and more service work. The job security is the most important.

      Grumpy Rumblings of the Partly Tenured!

  2. First Gen American Says:

    I’m not an academic either, but the most appealing thing on this list (perhaps because I can’t have one) is a sabbatical. I would love to take a break for a while and hop in my car with the family and make my way cross country again.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Haha, if only sabbatical worked that way. In academia it basically means no teaching and you don’t have to do service although they usually try to trap you into doing some anyway if you stick around. You still have to do the research part of your job, often in a different location. (But alas, not usually exotic locations… usually just places that have professors in your field of specific interest.)

      • First Gen American Says:

        You just shattered my illusion. Actually, I have a friend who works in the pharmaceutical industry and after every 5 years of service, the employees get a 6 week PAID sabbatical and there is no work involved. They work their employees pretty hard, so it’s just the company’s method to prevent burnout.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        I think that’s actually a “vacation”!

  3. Liz @ LiveWithAbundance Says:

    I think your tenure goals are like my “grown-up” goals: things I want to have or do “when I grow up.” Like owning a house, fostering dogs, traveling all over the world…. that sort of thing. A sabbatical is so tempting – I’d love to take a while to “clear the mechanism” and refresh myself. (See: Stefan Sagmeister @ TED talks… awesome clip.)

  4. El Picador Says:

    There is always another horizon.

  5. Jacq Says:

    So telling students to step off… Like a bridge? Or is that academic speak for F-off?

  6. Debbie M Says:

    Savvy. And I expect you’ll do some of them but not all of them.

    I’m not an academician, but I’ve definitely had similar turning points. So far, I’ve gotten the main things on my list:

    When I graduated from college – I got a guitar.

    When I graduated from grad school – I got a four-man tent.

    When I paid off my student loans, I started saving for a car.

    When I got a car, started saving for a house.

    Now I’m holding off on a few things until I retire (in 4 years):
    * learning Spanish
    * exercising daily
    * making the bed daily
    * losing weight
    * volunteer math tutoring

    Actually, I’ve been working on most of those things on and off, but I don’t expect to make real progress until I’m out of the rat race.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      When I graduated from college: Got married, moved across the country, started graduate school.
      When we graduated from graduate school: Got a new job, moved across the country, bought a house, had a baby, bought a car.

      I think that means at tenure I have to have another baby?

      I refuse to make beds unless company is coming over. I’ve decided there’s no point. I do want to go back to volunteer math tutoring at some point. . . maybe after tenure.

  7. Spanish Prof Says:

    I’m not tenured, so here are my dreams for when I get tenure:
    – Job security above all
    – Being able to send an article to a top tier journal without fearing that if it gets rejected, I won’t have time to publish enough to fulfill the research requirements that my institution demands for tenure.
    – Being able to widen my research
    – Fair grading
    One thing you mention I would never want to do:
    -developing an online course. I still feel there is no way to control cheating.

  8. frugalscholar Says:

    I think you can get the boots now.

  9. Julie Says:

    I assume you are joking about the suits? In 22 years teaching in a College of Business and Economics, I have never once worn a suit. This year I’ve starting wearing jeans, and no one seems to care. Tenure is great; best of luck to both of you.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Different places have different cultures. I’ve definitely noticed I get more respect from the students if I wear a suit at the beginning of the semester. There’s also the fact that we’re both still pretty young (younger than some/many of our students) and short and cute… we need a bit more razzle dazzle (or in my case, besuited frumpiness) to be taken seriously… at least on teaching days. When I’m out of uniform, I get mistaken for an undergrad.

  10. Comrade PhysioProf Says:

    hair dyed a cool color

    As soon as you earn tenure, you will no longer want to dye your hair a cool color. I promise.

  11. Rumpus Says:

    I want that feeling I had after I defended: a deep sense of accomplishment, the promise of new vistas, and a bit of external validation, all topped by glorious and seemingly-limitless freedom.

    As TMBG said in their ode to the tenure clock, “Time…is marching on!”

  12. Link Round Up: 3 Teens Edition | Everyday Tips and Thoughts... Says:

    [...] Grumpy Rumblings of the Untenured think about life AFTER they get tenure, and what they want to do.   This is an exercise everyone should do when coming upon a new phase in life. [...]

  13. Favorites, the Landlord edition First Gen American First Gen American.com Says:

    [...] and Maggie talk about things they’d like to do if they get tenure.  I always like posts about people dreams and aspirations. It really gives you something to work [...]


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