Post Sabbatical Blues

Diane Finegood dfinegoo at
Sat Sep 3 15:14:49 EST 1994

I have some thoughts for a new thread(s) (at least I think they are
 new, but my judgement of new is only based on the postings currently in 
the newsgroup)....

I "think" of myself as a real scientist ;-)
and I have the qualifications suggested by others (Associate Professor,
tenure, funded grants, publications, invited lectures, etc.).  I just 
returned from my 1st 6 month sabbatical and it was fantastic!  For the 
first time in a long time I had only one thing to think about, my 
research project.  I was able to read, write, stand at the bench, learn 
new techniques and even do my own scut work!

Now I'm back in my usual saddle and I have a zillion things to think 
about, the majority of which are not really science.  I didn't realize 
the level of stress associated with all the politics, administrative 
duties, and management tasks until I returned to my usual job.  As a 
result I entered a period of Post Sabbatical Blues and I find myself 
thinking about chucking it all and looking for a technician or postdoc 
position (I know this is a bit silly, but its a nice dream).

So the questions are: how do we make academic science a job with more 
science and less other stuff?  How can I do the job I was trained for and 
really love?  How can we avoid the "token woman on the committee" 
routine?  I had a senior scientist (male) in my field tell me "you should 
never do a good job on a University committee".  I'm sorry, but I just 
can't operate that way.  If I have a task to do, I prefer to do it well 
(besides wouldn't that make our systems more efficient?)  But of course 
this just sets me up for more work.  I have come to believe that I am 
asked to do more administration than some of my colleagues because (I do 
a good job) and as a woman and as an integrative physiologist 
(not a molecular biologist, no offense intended to molecular biologists) 
my science is taken less seriously at my institution (despite the fact that 
I have always raised my salary through external awards and was recently 
awarded an MRC Scientist position).

This may sound like "whining" to some, but really I am just looking for 
some novel suggestions as to how to make my job as a scientist mostly 

I look forward to seeing some of your suggestions.

Diane Finegood, PhD
University of Alberta
Edmonton  Canada

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