The two body problem reconsidered (or what I learned while being a #fifoacademic)
On reading this I wondered what what value we place on academic identities that compels us to live such lives.
Australia is a big country. You can fit almost the whole of the UK into Victoria, one of our smallest states. Maybe that’s why the folks at ANU didn’t blink when I told them I wanted to commute the 512km between Canberra and Melbourne for a year while Thesiswhisperer Jnr finished primary school. They provided me with a bach pad on campus during the week and worked with me to establish a routine.
In Australia the ‘Fly-in Fly-out (FIFO) worker is surprisingly common. Most of them, like my step brother, work in the mining industry, but a surprising number of people in academia are forced to commute. The most common reason is the notorious ‘two body problem’ which The Slate describes as:
… an inelegant term for the difficulty that couples have in finding good jobs for both people that are geographically close enough that they can continue…
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