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Long hours, families

Paula Jean Schlax pschlax at abacus.bates.edu
Fri Apr 21 10:59:22 EST 2000

I agree with a lot of what Paul is saying. You can do top notch work in
places other than Harvard/Yale, Wisconsin, etc, and you can get
published, get grants and have a life too.  Julia's comment that
sometimes more is expected at less prestigious schools also seems to be
true, but not universally. I agree- choosing where you work can make a
huge difference.

Another recent thread is that everyone should be allowed a life- I agree
with that- however, I think a family has special obligations- you don't
have to miss work to restring your violin- but you do when your child is
ill. When daycare ends at 5 or 5:30- you have to be done with your day
at work (and take it home if necessary). Family obligations are
different than "wanting a life". I think people need to choose their
priorities- this is a daily task- 10 minutes reading this newsgroup vs.
10 minutes pouring the next gel, 30 minutes for Lunch with colleagues or
a sandwich in the office with the door closed grading papers- every day
people need to prioritize time, and if you want to leave at 5 or 5:30
every day, you make some different decisions than if you can stay til 7
or 8. (Sometimes, you have to read the newsgroup, go to lunch with your
colleagues- but not every day...)


"Paul S. Brookes." wrote:

> 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
> http://peir.path.uab.edu/brookes
> The quality of e-mails can go down as well as up
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