When I host parties, I like to mix up old invitations between old and new acquaintances. So whenever anyone new arrives at the door, I make them endure a round of introductions wherein I typically introduce my friends by their graduate school affiliations. Over time, I’ve come to realize that intro-ing my friends by their scholarly identities is pretty snobby of me, because it tends to marginalize those of my friends who aren’t in academia. So at my last party I attempted to make introductions in a new vein, and it was far harder for me to do.
The thing is, I don’t think my academically-inclined friends are any more brilliant or interesting than any of my other friends. But I think I’ve moved in academic circles for so long, that I’ve fallen into this habit–we tend to define ourselves by our field and our institutional affiliation. And perhaps most significantly, as someone who is a nontraditional student, I worked so hard to get me some academic credibility that I think I probably wear it too boldly on my sleeve. I don’t do so to raise myself above anyone else, but to acknowledge my own journey from housewife to scholar. It’s been a hard-earned path.
As I’ve considered the qualities I’d like to have in future romantic partners, I’m weighing the pros and cons of dating other academics. While it’s nice to be with someone who can understand the tensions and pleasures of my research, I wonder if it makes more sense to pursue a relationship with someone outside the ivory tower? Because it could allow for more balance in a life that’s already rather stress-filled with writing deadlines, grant applications, and teaching (not to mention the pressures of simply finding a job!). On a related note, I’ve found Kelly’s list about what she’s looking for to be rather helpful in my considerations, but it doesn’t mention career paths specifically.
What do you think, internets? Is it best to choose a partner who follows a similar career path, or one who is different (but complementary)?