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Long hours

S L Forsburg notmyaddress at hotmail.com
Sun Mar 26 06:27:37 EST 2000

> From: giner at unspaminteraccess.com
> 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.
>  GMT

Does this explain the low numbers of women in academic science--is this
point of
view (which might be called the "get a life!" viewpoint :-) more typically
female?  IMHO, men often have a stronger sense that they fit in a hierarchy,
and they are worried about how they appear to the others in that structure,
so they are willing to sacrifice their own feelings for the appearance.
Thus, the competitive, macho science of 80 hour weeks, since that's how you
move up the hierarchy-- because everything is a competition.  

Unfortunately, to succeed in academic science, one must often particpate
in the hierarchical games.  Maybe women are more likely to get annoyed
with this and move out;  their sense of self worth not coming from what
macho guy down the hall says, but from themselves.  Maybe the macho men
are secretly more worried about what the rest of the hierarchy thinks, whereas
the women can leave it behind.

Well, its a thought. :-)

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S L Forsburg, PhD  forsburg at salk.edu
Molecular Biology and Virology Lab          
The Salk Institute, La Jolla CA 

Women in Biology Internet Launch Page
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