Would part-time science help?

Beth Shuster eoshuster at UCDAVIS.EDU
Thu Nov 30 20:06:32 EST 1995

On 30 Nov 1995, NNFQ99A at prodigy.com (Janet Rosen) wrote:
>I have found that as they get older it becomes even
>more important for a parent to be there to get them off in the morning
>and welcome them home after school.  I do miss research terribly however
>and would love a 25 hour a week job (9:30 to 2:30).

  This whole discussion has really struck a chord with me.

  I recently stepped down from a (more-than) full time job as a faculty
member (after the birth of my daughter rather radically re-arranged my
priorities) and am now working part-time in a "hybrid" job.  The original
intention was to work a mere 40 hours a week (rather than 60-80) in the lab
of a colleague & friend (she's actually the one who recruited me to campus
in the first place).  However, funding constraints mean that only a 50%
position, split between lab managing & undergrad advising, is currently
possible (although we have grants pending). I started in Sept. & am
actually enjoying having the extra time.  In fact, I'm not sure that I want
to go up to full time in the near future, although I wouldn't mind
increasing a bit.

  I usually work more than half-time, but now feel good about working 30
hours, instead of stressed that I "only" put in 50 & still didn't finish
everything.  Not that everything gets finished now, but I don't feel
compelled to work continuously any more.  This has meant more time to spend
with my family (mornings are not as hectic and errands run during the week
mean more time to play on the weekends) and more time for me (I started
piano lessons for the first time since the 5th grade - something I never
would have been able to rationalize before).  The extra time is certainly
making it easier to find the patience to deal with 2-yr old behavior ("Do
it MYSELF mommy", tantrums and "more story please" can eat up LOTS of

  The job mix is also working out well for the moment - I enjoy both the
advising (student contact is why I stayed in academia in the first place) &
my work in the lab (although I'm almost exclusively "managing" the lab and
training new students, rather than doing bench research).  The job (&
funding) is still evolving, but so far at least, it's working out.

  I feel very lucky.  I know that positions such as this are very hard to
find.  Even though my job switch meant taking a pay decrease & a decrease
in official "status", I'm still doing things I enjoy and I'm working with
people who respect me, irrespective of my "title".


Beth Shuster
Univ. of California, Davis
eoshuster at ucdavis.edu

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