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Long Hours

Stacey L. Dworkin dworkin at fas.harvard.edu
Tue Apr 11 15:53:12 EST 2000

As a current college student, I can tell you that I have been discouraged
from both academia and medicine because I want to have a family.  I was
originally pre-med, but I want to be able to have kids before I'm 30, so
I had to decide which was more important to me.  So what's a non-premed
bio major to do?  Any suggestions on careers for a woman who loves
organismic biology but does not want to spend her whole life in school
only to graduate and spend the rest in a lab?

jmalberg wrote:

> >         I think we're forgetting that there are many male scientists
> > who aren't
> > prepared to kill for their career, and who *do* value their families
> > and the
> > rest of their lives. Those men aren't always as successful as the
> > barking,
> > bloodthirsty hounds that you have been using as examples, but perhaps
> > you're
> > biased about who you want to compare yourself to... As a contrast to
> > what the
> > rest of you have said, most women my age that *I* know, who are
> > heading for a
> > scientific career, are actually some real geeks and goofballs who
> > don't care
> > too much about getting a life (they're my friends and I think they
> > know that I
> > don't mean to hurt their feelings, and I'm a geek myself). All the
> > other
> > (smart) girls who got a Ph.D. didn't even consider a career in
> > academia.
> I can't decide if this discussion is coming down to, 'if you want a life
> you just can't get it in academia;  you have to give something up,
> either career or family OR you need to defend yourself constantly that
> you're not giving up either one'!!!
> (or, and no offense to you, Ann, you need to defend yourself against the
> perception that you are a complete geek for getting into science as a
> career!!!).
> I think that in *any* career, there will be a number of years where you
> have to really put in the hours/effort to succeed.  Unfortunately, in
> science, it seems to be that this type of life never comes to an end --
> its more grants, more work, more grants, more work.  That may be one
> reason why the career/family debate comes up with women in almost EVERY
> stage of their career -- grad student, post=doc, Assoc. Prof, Asst.
> Prof, Full Prof, Tenured Prof;  that is one of the reasons that , I
> feel, younger women feel so discouraged about going into academia.  At
> no point (that I can tell) does the system let you really, "take a
> breath and relax";  it is completely up to you to force yourself to slow
> down, take break, and enjoy life (which I personally fully advocate
> doing).  And then you need to go back to defending yourself and your
> work choices again.
> I think "equality" is when we won't have to completely make
> justifications for the choices we are making, or when men are
> continually thinking of the career/family issues.
> I know that similar issues come up in the business world;  what do these
> people do?  How does it differ from what we can do? (I just got married,
> and have no plans to have children, but the question of making time for
> a family without having to give something up or be looked upon as "not
> driven enough" is still an issue for me!)
> Just my $0.02,
> Jessica
> Jessica Malberg
> Yale University, Dept. of Psychiatry
> Post-doctoral Associate
> ---

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