Scott F. Jones, PhD Profile picture
Sep 8, 2018 13 tweets 3 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
Let's talk #academiclife relocation as a #postdoc #phdchat

I just moved across the country (Louisiana to California) for a great govt postdoc. Big pay raise, benefits, a real job, etc.

I don't know if I can pay my rent next month. Here's why.
I had to pay $3,000 to move my family and me. We shipped whatever we couldn't sell and drove. We stayed with family to avoid lodging, made our lunches, and had our spending on lock down.

I won't be reimbursed for a penny because my job isn't a permanent position.
Because we couldn't afford to visit first to find housing, we had to go in blind (I interviewed in person at a conference).

To get into a duplex, we had to front another $4,000. Just to sign the lease!!
That's $7,000 for those keeping track at home.
Then we have to transfer our LA car to CA which isn't cheap, plus get CA licenses.

Our car didn't pass the smog test so $500 later we hopefully will continue with that process.
There are of course other costs when moving (especially with littles!) so let's add another $500 for moving expenses like replacement garbage cans, restocking a pantry, etc.
So $8,000 to move for a new job upfront.

I made $20,000 last year as a TA.

I just spent almost half of what I made last year to move, and I'm definitely not alone in having to do this.
Needless to say, I've emptied the pathetic savings (emergency fund) we had to cover some of the costs, emptied checking accounts, and when that didn't cover it out the test on a credit card.
I probably will carry a balance on that card for the first time ever this month (which coincidentally costs more money).
Here's the kicker- I won't get paid until September 25 (I started this week).

That paycheck should cover rent, but not food, electricity, or paying off the move itself.
We ask why only rich white guys get advanced degrees or continue on to academia?

I come from a middle class family that couldn't help me with college- I am Just. Barely. Going to survive this move.

Could you? Could others?
Anyways I'm thankful for the opportunity and I love getting paid to science, but the transition from grad school through early career is such a financial burden.

That's beside the toll on families!
Food for thought.

Love y'all!

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