I signed a tenure track offer! I’m going to stay at Bellarmine. I withdrew from the selection process at other places. In the course of four weeks, I had official visits at seven schools, starting in Kentucky and travelling 13,000 miles to Indiana, Connecticut, Florida, Texas, California, and Washington. I’m not going to discuss the job part of the process, as much of that information is private. Bellarmine met my minimum criteria in all categories, and exceeded them in some areas. Here, I’m going to talk about location, which was as important a factor as the mechanics of work.
There are advantages to staying in Louisville. Bellarmine is fairly well known, as the second university of the town. Professor at the school gives me high status. Louisville is also fairly inexpensive, so my salary has a higher cost-adjusted value. The metro area has a relatively large number of Catholics, for historical reasons – Bardstown/Louisville was the first diocese west of the Alleghany mountains. Finally, Kentucky has relatively high rates of heart disease and obesity, which means the physical competition is a little less tough. First impression desirability is very important in the marriage market. My Louisville rank is higher than what it would be in more physically oriented southern California or the richer Jersey shore.
On the other hand, the pool of similar women is smaller. I don’t mean just in terms of city size, though that is a factor. Southern states tend towards earlier marriages, and the percentage of college graduates is fairly low. I’m not southern or local, and there’s a cultural difference. It’s not as bad as Charlotte or Baton Rouge would be, though non-zero. As someone said, I’m a bigger fish in a smaller pond. Will the social circles of the pool be too dammed? (A non-baudy double entendre takes some delicacy.) I have a job, a potentially wonderful job, but now I need to find the rest of my so-called life.