The *advantages* the married life

Ellen Klann emklann at bio.unmass.edu
Wed Dec 17 20:10:16 EST 1997


Dear Linnea,

Thanks for pointing out that there are advantages to married life. 
While there are disadvantages to being married while pursuing a
scientific career, particularly if it is not a supportive marriage,
there are certainly advantages also.  There are definately times when a
second income would not only be handy but essential to weathering those
thin patches in a career.  It also gives the opportunity to change
directions and explore some new options without risking ending up on the
street.  There is also the emotional support, and even having a life
ourside of a career.  For the single person, developing a network of
friends is often very difficult, particularly if you work unpredictable
hours and have to move and start again.  People do not live by work
alone, at least not this one.

I appreciate my single state and make the most of what it offers- 
mobility and lack of "distractions", but I would trade it for a good
marriage and all the trade-offs that come with it in a heartbeat.

Ellen

Linnea Ista wrote:
> 
> >
> > As an oddly demanding semester concludes for me, I've had reason to
> > reflect upon this issue because of my experiences. I agree with Susan
> > completely, that there is only so much any person can take, but women
> > have to take much more.  It gets worse if you are also a spouse and a
> > parent, because of balancing the demands of the academic career with the
> > family life.
> Wait a minute here. I will admit that this has touched off one of my "hot
> button issues", but I get really tired of hearing how much worse it is for
> women who have a family. As far as the spouse part, I think there is a
> trade off. Once I was married, I could no longer stay at work
> indefinitely, it is true. I have a few more, let's not call them
> obligations, but rather distractions for my time. Because my husband's
> schedule is a little less flexible than mine, and he starts work really
> early in the morning, I get stuck running a lot of the family errands. On
> the other hand, if I need to work late on a project, there is someone who
> will bring me dinner. If I have been working late on a project for several
> days, there is someone whom I can call and ask to throw a load of laundry
> in the wash, so I don't have to do it when I get home. There is a second
> income, so my little tiny academic science salary is not crippling
> financially. These are the practical things that were unavailable to me
> when I was single.
> 
> I also have someone there who will be indignant on my behalf when the boys
> in the lab are being poopy. There is also someone who will get excited and
> say "good job" when something great happens.
> 
> The kids issue is another topic altogether. I cannot speak to that because
> I have chosen not to have kids. Part of the reason is that I simply don't
> want that obligation on my time. I figure that since reproducing is not a
> priority for me, I should leave it to those for whom it is. This does not
> mean that I do not have a life outside of work, however. One of my pet
> peeves about the whole science culture is that it seems sometimes like
> having kids is the only "life" that is acceptable outside of the lab. I am
> the person in the lab who watches other people's experiments when they
> have to go pick their kids up from daycare or stop a reaction for them
> when they have to stay home with a sick child. However, I find that some
> of these same people are less than understanding when I ask them to return
> the favor because I have a noon meeting scheduled that doesn't have to do
> with science. Evidently in their minds because my obligations are not
> "child related" they are less valid. Let us just say that we choose the
> obligations we each feel are most important, and we cannot really judge
> what is more important for each other.
> 
> I don't want to turn this into a debate about who "has it harder". I think
> we could suffice it to say that the pressures of academic science make it
> hard for one to have any life outside of one's career.
> 
> >
> > One thing that I think is absent in academic science is validation.  An
> > earlier thread touched on this in terms of looking for the negative in
> > journal clubs as well as other areas of academic science.  I think women
> > leave science because we don't get enough praise.  We take and take the
> > crap and finally when something good happens, nobody notices.  I'm not
> > talking about getting all warm and fuzzy here, and putting on my rose
> > colored glasses.  I mean real, day to day stuff, like "I heard your
> > grant got funded" or "I like your creative approach in general biology."
> > A little of this can go a long way for both women and men.  Rather, we
> > get the negative,"You haven't published that yet!" or "we can't consider
> > your recently awarded grant because it wasn't in your tenure file
> > beforehand."
> Part of the way I deal with this is being part of the solution. If I hear
> that someone got a grant or published a paper, I make sure that I at least
> say congratulations. In some cases that attitude rubs off. I think though,
> that my department is a little better than others. Our chair is very
> supportive. Having come from a graduate department in which the chair did
> not deign to speak to anyone below the rank of associate professor, it was
> a bit refreshing to come here where the chair actually knows my name and I
> am just a research scientist! He goes out of his way to say things like
> "Hey, I hear your paper got accepted! Good job!". It kind of filters down
> if we let it. Even my boss, who is really "guilt driven" and assumes
> everyone else is too, gets into the act every so often. Since I am the
> person most in contact with the grad students on a day to day basis, I
> pass it on to them. And I bring it to the boss's attention when they have
> done a good job. I am not saying this will work everywhere, but it helps
> keep my little corner of the world a little more palatable!
> 
> Just my two neuron's worth!
> Linnea

-- 
*******************************************************
Ellen Klann
Send mail to emklann at bio.umass.edu, not the above address


Linnea Ista wrote:
> 
> >
> > As an oddly demanding semester concludes for me, I've had reason to
> > reflect upon this issue because of my experiences. I agree with Susan
> > completely, that there is only so much any person can take, but women
> > have to take much more.  It gets worse if you are also a spouse and a
> > parent, because of balancing the demands of the academic career with the
> > family life.
> Wait a minute here. I will admit that this has touched off one of my "hot
> button issues", but I get really tired of hearing how much worse it is for
> women who have a family. As far as the spouse part, I think there is a
> trade off. Once I was married, I could no longer stay at work
> indefinitely, it is true. I have a few more, let's not call them
> obligations, but rather distractions for my time. Because my husband's
> schedule is a little less flexible than mine, and he starts work really
> early in the morning, I get stuck running a lot of the family errands. On
> the other hand, if I need to work late on a project, there is someone who
> will bring me dinner. If I have been working late on a project for several
> days, there is someone whom I can call and ask to throw a load of laundry
> in the wash, so I don't have to do it when I get home. There is a second
> income, so my little tiny academic science salary is not crippling
> financially. These are the practical things that were unavailable to me
> when I was single.
> 
> I also have someone there who will be indignant on my behalf when the boys
> in the lab are being poopy. There is also someone who will get excited and
> say "good job" when something great happens.
> 
> The kids issue is another topic altogether. I cannot speak to that because
> I have chosen not to have kids. Part of the reason is that I simply don't
> want that obligation on my time. I figure that since reproducing is not a
> priority for me, I should leave it to those for whom it is. This does not
> mean that I do not have a life outside of work, however. One of my pet
> peeves about the whole science culture is that it seems sometimes like
> having kids is the only "life" that is acceptable outside of the lab. I am
> the person in the lab who watches other people's experiments when they
> have to go pick their kids up from daycare or stop a reaction for them
> when they have to stay home with a sick child. However, I find that some
> of these same people are less than understanding when I ask them to return
> the favor because I have a noon meeting scheduled that doesn't have to do
> with science. Evidently in their minds because my obligations are not
> "child related" they are less valid. Let us just say that we choose the
> obligations we each feel are most important, and we cannot really judge
> what is more important for each other.
> 
> I don't want to turn this into a debate about who "has it harder". I think
> we could suffice it to say that the pressures of academic science make it
> hard for one to have any life outside of one's career.
> 

> Just my two neuron's worth!
> Linnea

-- 
*******************************************************
Ellen Klann
Send mail to emklann at bio.umass.edu, not the above address




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