Post Sabbatical Blues
dfinegoo at gpu.srv.ualberta.ca
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
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
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