"Don't give up". Three little words, but ones that for some reason had been lacking from my current boss and my old thesis advisor. Funny thing is I hadn't even noticed that until the advice came from a totally unexpected source. Sure my boss and old advisor seem to assume I'll stay in astronomy and work out my current problems - but haven't offered much in the way of practical advice or encouragement for me to do so. Perhaps they think it's so obvious that it doesn't need to be said. I don't think it's that obvious. Especially in my situation - I know many women give up their careers once they have babies, so I would think it doubly important for people to tell me not to (well unless I want to)...
Anyway several potentially positive things have happened since my last post:
1. I discovered that only 30 minutes away from the location of my husband's new job is a new Institute of Cosmology, which looks like a pretty interesting place to work.
2. On getting in touch with people at that Institute I have had a very welcoming response - for sure I can have a desk, maybe a few months salary, and we are working on some grants together. This is much more positive than I expected considering I was basically throwing myself on their mercy....
3. On the phone with one of these people at the cosmology institute I had a long conversation about the poor funding situation in astronomy at present. We talked about how tough of a hiring year this has been, and how people are giving up and leaving the field. This person thinks that if I can "hang in there" things will be better in a few years, so I shouldn't "give up". This might be seen as empty advice, except that they seem willing to try quite hard to help me do this - even though I have never met this person..! Amazing!
4. I have another interview for a "cool outreach" position. One I thought I would never be considered for as it's way too exciting! It's "almost" within commuting distance of my husband's new job.... so it would add some complications if I was offered it, but it's very exciting!
5. I had a career counselling appointment, specifically for postdocs (it's a pilot at my current university run by a career counseller who used to be a biology postdoc). The conclusion - I should stay in Astronomy, maybe do more education and public outreach. Duh! Not really news to me, but encouraging that an impartial advisor sees the same things as me. Now I just have to figure out how to do this!