PhD, etc outside the US

Janet Joy jjoy at nas.edu
Mon Feb 19 09:21:32 EST 1996


  After listening to the US-Brit-NZ comments, I thought I'd throw in the
  Canadian perspective.  I did my undergrad years in the U.S. at a
  research-intensive Big10 university, then went to Canada to do my PhD at
  a similar size research-intensive university.  When I got there I was
  astonished to find most graduate students working 9-to-6.  I then did two
  postdocs at similar universities in the US where the 9-9 routine was
  pretty common.  I also worked along side German postdocs who worked
  9-to-6.

  Overall, it would seem that Americans work their buts off compared to
  everyone else. . . although what about the Japanese?  Any comment?

  The weird part was that none of this seem to correlate to career success
  in the students' respective countries.   That is, those from countries
  where students worked at relatively leisure paces went on to get good
  jobs at the same rate (or better!) than their hard-driving American
  counterparts.

    It seems that American students have little choice but to work to
  extremes since they are compared to each other in the job market.   I
  wish I could believe that the American worker bees learned so much more
  and were so much more productive than their counterparts in other
  countries, but my experiences don't really support that idea. . . .
  although I admit anecdotal data should be taken with a grain of salt.
  Maybe my experiences are atypical.   My suspicion is that Americans are
  just busier, but neither more creative, wise, or good at science than
  scientists in other countries.




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