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Posts Tagged ‘life-work balance’

Have read a few interesting articles lately that were passed on by my science buddies.

First is how to be a productive procrastinator, via Lisa. I think i have a lot of potential for using this technique, as i find myself being incredibly productive while i avoid working on my thesis.

Second, via Melanie, is about surviving the rat race that is tenure track… by not racing. Some very good advice in there. I have been pretty good in grad school about not subscribing to the whole “good graduate students work 80 hours a week” insanity or the list of things i must accomplish to succeed, like networking (i hate networking) or attending as many conferences as possible, or publishing x number of papers. It may all come back to bite me in the butt later if i ever try to get a tenure track position, but whatevs, i’m having fun now.

And a third linked to by the above article about life-work balance in academia. Now, this one is interesting too, and brings up good points about how weird it is to expect ourselves and our colleagues to work so goddamn hard that we have to give up most other aspects of our lives. The emphasis here, as it is in many articles written about life-work balance, is on splitting oneself between career and family and how we women can’t have it all if these crazy career expectations continue.

All fine and good, but i am bothered that in the discussion of life-work balance, life = children. Life does not equal children. It’s unfair that, in our consciousness, life = children for women and thus women have to choose between a career or raising children (or be mediocre at both), yet not many people feel that men have a similar choice to make. For men, life = life apparently, and more work means fewer adventures with friends, wooden canoe building, and brewing beer. In fact, life = life for everyone, and anyone can choose to make their life revolve around kids. Parents bemoan that they can’t possibly work the same hours that their childless colleagues work if they are to be good parents. Why the hell aren’t people without kids complaining that they have to work insane hours and they don’t have time to play city league softball or volunteer at the animal shelter or write a novel? It’s all crazy- the hours and hours of work for shit-tastic pay (shouldn’t forget here that science grad students get paid to go to school; not all disciplines are so fortunate), the stress of trying to be known by lead scientists in your field, the race to publish papers to beef up your CV… Forget the damn kids, our whole lives are suffering because we’re trying so hard! My dog is bored, my garden is neglected, I barely see my friends, and I’m getting skinny-fat for chrissake!

Ahem. So. Life-work balance. What i aim for is to do what i want. Maybe what you want is to spend time with your kids. What i want is to spend time with my husband (yeah, we got married, whut!), make sure my dog is happy, grow beautiful veggies, pickle and jam everything in sight, get off my ass, chat with my buddies, see my family, go on adventures. That’s what i’m going to try my best to do.

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