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Long Hours

Caroline Szymeczek-Seay css at med.unc.edu
Wed Apr 12 09:29:17 EST 2000

Hi Stacey,
I'm in academic science currently, but I teach medical students, and
there are many medical students who have children or are currently
having children while in medical school.  I have talked to several women
who actually advise having children while in graduate school or while
postdocing or while in medical school...Your schedule at these times,
while hectic, will probably be more flexible than when you are working,
if you choose to work full-time outside of the home.

This is all anecdotal, but perhaps others on this list, or the WISEnet
listserv, might like to take up this discussion.

As to careers that pertain to biology....what about veterinary school,
or work in clinical research trials, or medical/technical writing?  I
have a scientist friend who went into information science after doing a
pharmacology postdoc.  Of course this required more school.  I know
others who are editing, or who have gone into intellectual property law
(also more school involved). (In fact, i don't know too many young,
un-tenured academicians who are trying to *stay* in academia :), but
that's another story!)  

You're definitely doing the right, smart, and proactive thing by seeking
out some alternatives.  Keep on asking questions, and you'll probably
come to some answers on your own.

Good luck,
Caroline Seay

Caroline Szymeczek-Seay, Ph.D.
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, NC  27599-7220
"Stacey L. Dworkin" wrote:
> 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?
> Stacey
> 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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