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Help! Grant vs. Amazing Job


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I'm about to apply for a grant that would enable me to study abroad for two months in the summer to learn a foreign language. While going over my application for the grant, my fellowship advisor mentioned a possible summer opportunity that would 1) pay well and (more importantly) 2) give me amazing experience that helps for my future goals. It could also be a job I keep for the next few years while I finish up school. While it is not guaranteed, she showed great interest in me applying.


The Problem:

Initially, I was planning on going to a specific city for June and July if I got the grant. I chose this city because it is a cultural center and a friend lives nearby, who I never get to see because we live in different countries. However, if I got the summer position, I would have to start work in July. 


My debate is to change my current plan on dates and location for the grant (shifting from June/July to May/June and going further south). Only one of the possible cities would work in terms of start time. Though it would put added stress on me because I'd literally have JUST finished final papers/and or have to submit them early, it would enable me to accept the job if given it. It would also require me to essentially pay for two months of rent/utilities because I doubt I'd find a subletter for two months. 


My other option is to just stick to my start dates and, if I get the job, either choose for see if the grant will let me only go for one month or move my dates/location, which obviously may not be guaranteed. However, my friend got the grant and was able to switch universities and programs, though her grant was for a year, not a summer.


I know it seems silly to plan for a job and grant I might not get, but I can't imagine passing up either opportunity, and I have a good shot at both. Does it make sense to put my first choice as the city that works best for the job and endure potential stress if I get the grant but not the job? Or should I just apply without the job in mind?



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Honestly, I would plan for each of them as if you won't get the other. These things are never guaranteed. Suppose you just got one, you'd want it to be the best that it could be. You might also find that once you win a nice grant or fellowship, people become much more flexible and accommodating than when you are just applying; you might be able to find a way to fit the grant with the job's start date, or it might be possible to postpone the start date itself. Of course it's possible that you won't be able to make it work and you'll have to give up one opportunity or the other, but I think that's a good position to be in. If you are awarded a grant, you can put it on your CV even if you decline it. And being offered a nice job opportunity that you had to turn down for something even better will normally be accepted with sympathy by any academic.

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Thanks for the advice! I ended up applying without the job in mind. The grant may not cover all costs and thus it may not even be an option. We shall see!

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