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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Better late than never

I missed allll the fun posts about how many hours people work in a week vs how many hours academics should work in a week.

It is late, but here are my 2 cents. First off, I am tired of the stories of how all professors that have ever gotten jobs anywhere spend from 7 am till 7 pm in the lab and took only 5 days off throughout their entire graduate school experiance. Alright, and you had to walk uphill both ways to your lab and back too right? Barefoot and in the snow, I bet!

Compared to other students in my department, I work a lot. Not the most, and definitly not the least. Lately, 6-8 hour days are normal, followed by 1-2 hours at home after dinner, possibly in front of the tv. I do some work every weekend day. Not always a lot but at least an hour or 2 of grading. The schedule fluctuates with seasons, deadlines and experiments. When it is nice out, we will leave early to go running. When I am running experiments in the field, they are 13 hour days every third day with 10 hour days in between. That schedule repeats as long as I can stand it. Or until I run out of food and have to take a day off to grocery shop.

It seems like as long as you get your work done, it shouldn't matter how many hours you work. The kicker, of course, is that there is always more work to be done. More data, grants, papers to write. So, when does it stop? When you get so burnt out that you never want to see a journal article again? The link above has a lot of good suggestions for how to balance work with a non-work life. I think (as pointed out by many others) being efficiant helps. The days that are really focused on work, I feel less guilty for not working at home. Overall, I just try to take breaks when I need them and do enjoyable non-work things every day. Which reminds me- I have the ugliest purple dress to show you!

Honestly, I don't mind working so much. It is an investment in getting a job I will love someday (hopefully). My husband is still in classes so is doing schoolwork most of the time. We hang out together in our office, surrounded with pets, books, papers and computers. Since we are homebodies, it isn't too bad. As poor grad students, we can't afford to do much else and at least in the winter, can't spend time doing fun stuff outside anyway. I am sure my attitudes about time spent working will change with the stages of my career and as our home life changes. However, I doubt that the number of hours I work will ever decrease...



Blogger ScienceGirl said...

I wanna see the purple dress!

And thanks for your 2 cents :)

2:02 AM  
Blogger Mad Hatter said...

"The kicker, of course, is that there is always more work to be done. More data, grants, papers to write. So, when does it stop?"

This is so true, and it's something I'm still trying to work out for myself. Great post and thanks for the link!

8:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I graduated college, I worked for 6years, I had children, I worked for 18 is the first day I had no responsabilities..........I was almost afraid to get out of bed. I need to find a job just so I can save my sanity!


3:09 PM  

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