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Long hours, families

Paul S. Brookes. brookes at uab.edu
Wed Apr 19 16:44:50 EST 2000

Have been following this thread for a while, and noticed a few place names 
and phrases coming up frequently.... Harvard, Pennsylvania, California, New 
York e.t.c.    It strikes me that the severity of the problems that are 
being described is correlated to the underlying degree of cempetition at 
these institutions.  From speaking with friends at "old" universities, it 
seems that competition is not just an issue for women, and exists at 
several levels.  For example, regional grant awarding bodies are 
oversubscribed in the Northeast and California compared to other areas of 
the country with fewer people fighting for the same pot of money - the 
Southeast affilliate of the AHA was funding fellowships last year at the 
50th percentile!   Tales also abound of lack of collaboration between labs 
working on the same projects, and even direct competition on hot topics 
within the same institution.

Compare this with the situation in the majority of universities less than 
50 years old, in the remainder of the US.  Funding is easier to 
secure.  New posts are always being created so promotion is more 
likely.  There are less "old farts" holding onto top jobs and preventing 
younger people from climbing the ladder.  There is far more collaboration 
between labs and with individuals at other local universities.

It would appear that the problems being described WRT families, long hours, 
and discrimination against women are symptomatic of greater problems, 
mainly caused by putting too many people with big egos in a small space and 
not providing them with enough money - is it any wonder they get 
paranoid.  Maybe not having a life is just the price to be paid for wanting 
to further oneself by subscribing to the perception that the name of the 
place you work is what matters.  If you want a better life, choose your 
institution more carefully.

Dr. Paul S. Brookes.            (brookes at uab.edu)
UAB Department of Pathology,   G004 Volker Hall
1670 University Blvd., Birmingham AL 35294 USA
Tel (001) 205 934 1915     Fax (001) 205 934 1775

The quality of e-mails can go down as well as up
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