• GradHacker

    A Blog from GradHacker and MATRIX: The Center for Humane Arts, Letters and Social Sciences Online


Baby Daddy

One GradHacker contemplates the potential responses to her combination of advanced degrees.

September 22, 2015

Regina Sierra Carter is doctoral candidate in the Department of Education Policy, Organization and Leadership at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Read more about Regina here.



Intellectual promiscuity comes at a price.

I confess:  I did it.  I mean... them.  My husband (i.e. the PhD in education) and his little brother (i.e. the M.S. in library and information science).  I stepped out on my primary program and had an academic affair with another department.  

There.  I said it.    

Now that it’s out in the open, I can move on.  But not really… you see I have multiple baby daddies and all of my kids look different: B.A. in English, Ed.M. in Education, and an M.S. in Library and Information Science (LIS).  Soon I will have a Ph.D. in Education Policy.  

As I revealed in my earlier post (Dissertation of a Mad Black Woman), I am pregnant… again. I am looking forward to giving birth to hubby’s and my first son, Phillip Harris Dunbar (PhD), this spring.  All the while, I have been hypothesizing how I will fare on the job market.  I can picture the interview going down right now… like this.    


Interviewer: Who’s your baby’s daddy? (Translation: Where do you go to school?  What is your area of specialization?  What will your degree be in? Etc., etc.)

Baby Mama (Me): Hold up… I beg your pardon?

Interviewer: Who is your baby’s daddy?    

The interviewer stares at me unflinchingly.

Baby Mama: Which baby daddy are you referring to?  (Internal Dialogue: I had to bust my butt for each of these degrees so I hope you are not solely referring to the Ph.D.  I am a complete package and each of my children (degrees) are equally valuable.  So, please… be… specific. Which baby and which daddy?)  


I got myself into this predicament… I was looking for a quick cognitive thrill and got sidetracked. That’s how I ended up with baby LIS.      

Now don’t get me wrong, my hubby (the doctoral program in education) and I were the perfect match.  We lived, breathed, and dreamt equity, social justice, and educational opportunities for all.  Our ideologies were practically identical.  Plus his father was a sweetheart.  His daddy (my current graduate institution) made the prospect of marrying his son impressively pleasing.  My father-in-law tenderly drew my attention to his jaw-dropping dowry—a multi-year fellowship complete with benefits.  I didn't skip a beat before saying “yes to the dress” and signed the dotted line on my acceptance letter… I mean marriage certificate.  The rest is history.  

Hubby and I stayed in the honeymoon phase for a hot minute.  It’s true that I couldn’t get enough of him.  I took multiple classes, attended innumerable conferences, and cranked out papers like crazy. Yet in the midst of the business of being the perfect PhD program wifey, I got bored.  Perhaps that is too harsh a word… it is more fitting to say that I wanted (yet certainly did not need) more.  Hubby was still performing at the same level, but I began craving something different.      

It didn’t help that his fine brother—the Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS)—was right down the road.  Hubby trusted him and me… him with me.  When I was not with hubby, I was kicking it with his little brother.  Hubby gave me the go-ahead to take classes in GSLIS.   After only one class in storytelling, I was hooked.  I began having an extraintellectual affair with GSLIS and wound up pregnant.  Hubby’s brother is the baby’s daddy.  

Thankfully, my hubby was very understanding.  He took little LIS lovingly in his arms and incorporated her into our growing family.  Now I am plugging away tirelessly at my dissertation, which incorporates elements from both the fields of LIS and education.  

Don’t get me wrong… I am too ready to have baby (P)hillips (H)arris (D)unbar.  Yet I feel as though I am in a rock and a hard place.  As a mother on the job market with multiple baby daddies (i.e. degrees different graduate programs), I am bound to raise some eyebrows.  Some employers may be downright suspicious and question my commitment or worse… they may wonder: Is she indecisive, wayward, or simply a low down dirty gold digger in intellectual garb?

None of the above.  I hooked up with myriad graduate programs and wound up with multiple degrees--with another on the way--because I simply cannot say "NO" to knowledge.  

That and I need a JOB after obtaining my PhD because there are no employment guarantees for anyone...




How about you?  What qualms do you have about the impending job market and how you (e.g. your qualifications, background, training, etc.) will be perceived by prospective employers? Please share your story in the comments section!

[Image by Flickr user eudæmon and used under used under Creative Commons Licensing.]


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