Macho Science,

Beth Shuster eoshuster at UCDAVIS.EDU
Fri Mar 24 16:25:09 EST 1995

On 3/24, Karine Hertzberg <karine.hertzberg at> wrote: 

>Just a comment: along with this, I have problems understanding the choice
>of having children when you plan to continue working 50-60 hours a week
>(has been stated in several postings). Apart from weekends, you will see
>your child something like 2 hours a day. Is it worth it, for both men and
>women? Are there anybody who changes this when they get children, and work
>less? (the choice a lot of people would like to have, according to Ellen). 


  Yes, some people do change after they've had children, but the choices
are not easy.  Faculty positions in the U.S. are very competitive and
extremely demanding.  Those who pass the tenure hurdle are still faced with
the pressure of highly competitive grant renewals, which require time to
prepare along with evidence (publications) of productivity.  Additionally,
there is increasing pressure to increase the teaching load.  The
expectation is that you will spend less time on each course (I was advised
to cut down the amount of time I spent on advising & office hours) and/or
that you will spend more of your "free" time on work.  In other words,
science can, and often does, become all consuming! 

  If you choose to spend MORE time with your children (a very legitimate &
rewarding choice!), you are making the choice to spend LESS time somewhere
else.  For those accustomed to working 60+ hour weeks, there usually isn't
much slack outside of sleep and work from which to take the time.  Although
it is possible that increased efficiency can offset some of the time taken
from work, it is also possible that sleep deprivation will you less
efficient, at least at first. Ultimately, less time at work is likely to
translate into less visible evidence of productivity (in terms of
publications and/or in hastily prepared lectures...).  This may or may not
make a critical difference in your career, but I think (my humble opinion)
that people who claim that it will make NO difference are probably kidding

  My own choice was to re-evaluate my career expectations.  I am in the
process of making the transition from faculty member to staff so that I can
work a mere 40 or so hours a week without feeling guilty about it.  This
decision was not easy, but every time I look at my daughter, I know it was
the right one for me.


Beth Shuster
Univ. of California, Davis
e-mail: eoshuster at

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