Amazing momma-scientist Janus Prof asked me to ask y’all how many hours you really work.
Janus Prof is just completing her first year on the tenure-track at a prestigious university, and in the course of that year, she also gave birth to her first child and was diagnosed with an uncurable, chronic illness that limits her work hours. Yet she’s also managed to get her lab up and running, recruit students, teach, and write a CAREER proposal. (I get out of breath just thinking about it.) So Janus Prof was understandably inspired to read a recent post from Dr. Mom, in which she admits that she rarely works more than 40 hours per week, yet has still managed to teach, run her lab, mentor students, get funded and get published.
Despite her success, Dr. Mom wonders why she is ashamed of her success at working reasonable workweeks that still allow her time to enjoy her two children.
All of that has prompted me, who often fills the pinch of hours, to contemplate my work weeks, the relationship between work weeks and success, and how I feel about people who work less, yet are more successful. Below the fold, I’ve got three polls for those on the tenure-track. One is to answer Janus Prof’s question about the number of hours you work, and the others are to satisfy my curiosity.
For the sake of consistency, please only take these polls if you are in a tenure-track or tenured academic position in a STEM field (science, technology, engineering, and math). There are surely grad students, postdocs, and people in other fields to be polled as well, but for the moment, let’s leave it at faculty. For we faculty are the ones setting the example for those on rungs below us.
For the next poll, define success as you will. You might think about how success is judged at your institution. Is it papers published, grants funded, or teaching evaluations? Or some combination?
Finally, what do you think about stories like those of Janus Prof and Dr. Mom, successful scientists who refuse to buy into the work-all-hours philosophy.
(Eek. I spelled achieve wrong. Maybe I was distracted by the sexist choices of background graphics. There was a similar thinking male, with gears on the brain. What exactly does the woman above have spinning in her head?)
Please discuss in the comments. I’m going home for the day. I probably won’t work again until tomorrow. So there.