Linnea Ista lkista at UNM.EDU
Tue Mar 11 12:39:00 EST 1997

On 11 Mar 1997, Sabine Dippel wrote:

> In article <199703111447.IAA11615 at>, linden at MAIL.UTEXAS.EDU 
> (linden higgins) writes:
> |> 
> |> Sigh.  This is not a spam, but just another point of view. It just seems
> |> that all this talk of long hours & intense work has lost sight of one of
> |> the (often) main complaints of women in the scientific community:
> |> family-unfriendly expectations.
> <snip>
> Yes, I think so too. And it's not only family-unfriendly - people like me
> who do not have a family (meaning spouse or children - we tend to forget that
> parents and siblings are also family in this discussion) still have some 
> "surrogate family", meaning friends - especially some friends with a 
> "normal" life. 
Exactly!!! I remember the attitude of my first advisor in grad school. 
One of my coworkers was a paragon because he was not only good at what he 
did, *but* he had a family. Somehow the expectation was there that I was 
to put in more hours because I did not. After all if I had time to go on 
a date or away for the weekend with friends, I had time to be in the lab.
Perhaps rather than family unfriendly, we should say "person unfriendly".

> Besides, I sometimes wonder - it seems as if the only acceptable reason to work
> less is family - are we all only interested in work and family? Sure, I like
> my work, but I also like many other things - and I don't like work that much 
> to want to put in more than 40 - 50 hour weeks too often. And I'm talking 
> 40 - 50 hours all in all - reading and writing at home included. Well, I guess
> everyone has to find his or her balance. So far, if measured by grades and 
> number of publications, I do not seem to have been less "successful" than 
> I think I could have been anyway - there's a point where working more gets
> counterproductive, at least for me. 
> Okay, so I want to have a life outside from work - is that so bad? My friends
> who aren't into science think I'm crazy anyway - they also have jobs they like,
> but they would never dream of spending 10 hours overtime every week on their 
> job for the pay I get. Actually, I think that's what drives so many women 
> away from science - the prefer being "whole" persons, beyond work. 
> Sure, I also know many people who are perfectly happy living a typical 
> "scientists life" - but why should these people be considered standard 
> or "normal" more than people outside science? 
Because enough of them get a lot accomplished. I know when things are 
going really well for me in the lab (or really badly), I tend to put 
more hours in because it is personally satisfying and then I get more 
done and more positive feedback and then work harder and get more 
done....Until I am exhausted. But the thing that most people say about 
me when describing my work habits is "She is a hard worker" with great 
approbation. I have been guilty of upholding this standard very recently 
when I made a comment to this group about how I put in more hours than 
many of the grad students. 

> And, to come back to my favourite topic - maybe the so-called "French paradoxon"
> (i.e. less people in France dying from heart-attacks than in Germany or the US,
> even though consuming more fat and cholesterol) is not due to the red wine 
> consumed with the fat, but simply to taking life a bit more easy and relaxed?
Good point. I was very impressed with a French post-doc we had in the lab 
where I was a grad student. She would come in, set something up, and if 
she had nothing else to do, go off to the mall or take her kids the park. Of 
course she also was very willing to come in at 4:00 in the morning if she 
had to. She managed to fit life around excellent science. I thought that 
was so cool. Of course I was afraid to try it myself! The time clock 
police were rampant in that department (I was a slacker because I was not 
in by 8:00 AM as it was. Never mind that I usually stayed until 11:00 
P.M, but that is another story).

Good thoughts, Sabine!

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