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Child care in the scientific workpalce

giner at unspaminteraccess.com giner at unspaminteraccess.com
Sat Mar 11 17:48:28 EST 2000

On 8 Mar 2000 18:30:18 -0000, "Paula J. Schlax" <pschlax at bates.edu>
>My final statement: When I decided to have children, I knew that I would have to
>miss work some of the time when my children were sick, and that I might not work
>as many hours at the bench anymore- and that these factors could influence my
>promotability, or my
>ability to receive tenure in an academic position- but I do not thik that my
>male friends  who have children (or my spouse) felt any differnetly than I did
>(in general). I am becoming more confident, as my children get older, that the
>effects on my career may have been less than I expected, although perhaps things
>were slowed down some... Noone really knows how different their own life will be
>once they have a child- and the changes are all greater than expected- but I
>strongly believe that life is a series of choices, and requires us to balance
>our priorities- I think it is naive to believe one can work 70-80 hours a week,
>every week,  and be an excellent parent, but that is because I know I couldn't
>do it.

I also find it disturbing that the assumption is that a scientific
career requires a 70-80 hour work week. While science doesn't always
fit neatly into a 40 hour week, the thought that we have to spend
every waking minute on our career is unhealthy. For one, most people
have spouses, if not children, and family, and they are certainly
important. And secondly, I just don't think people can really do good
work and be effective with those hours. Mistakes get made when people
are tired. It's these thoughts that drove me out of academia, and I
think many other women feel the same way. I'm not sure industry will
be much better, but I'll see. I just know I do excellent work in a 40
- 50 hour week, and I'm happy with that. More than that on a regular
basis and I start missing the rest of my life, the stuff that makes me
a well-rounded, happy person. I love science, but not to the exclusion
of all other things. 

And I'm not implying that people who do work those long hours are
horribly unhappy, unproductive people, it just that it doesn't work
for me.


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