Working hard

Thu Mar 13 10:51:04 EST 1997

 "\"Marcia Elliott\"."<grimalkn at>wrote: 

Being a workaholic (which some sociolgists define as working more than
55 hours a week) does not usually have its greatest rewards in
productivity, but rather in power; live at work and you will know
where all the bodies are buried.  Because science is such a
competitive field and is traditionally male, workaholicism has been
raised to a high virtue.  In a sane world, it would be merely an
annoying vice.

Constantly being sleep deprived courts depression, because denying
yourself such a basic need is such a strong dismotivator.  As my major
professor once told me, "Different people have different energy
levels."  I thought that was wise of her.



I have to agree.  I have found that when nothing is working and I'm at a 
loss and can't imagine ever finishing-all it takes is a weekend-yes 
Saturday AND Sunday-when I clean the house, putter in the garden, spend 
time with the kids, or even (gasp!) read a popular magazine on the deck 
with a glass of wine, and I'm ready to do science again, often with a 
new insight.  Some of my best work is done the week after a meeting, or 
the week after a "vacation", when I've been away from the bench and had 
a chance to distance myself from the work.

  In the last year I've begun to take 2 weekends a month, and sometimes 
even more.  Yet my PI would say (I know, because we've talked about it) 
that I'm turning out more results now than I did when I was in the lab 
every single day.  Some of it might be related to approaching thesis 
time (all my friends insist the majority of there thesis work came 
together in the last 18 months to two years) but I think part of it is 
allowing myself to be myself.  It's a risk-there will be people, 
important to your career and not so important to your career, who think 
it's a sign of lack of commitment on your part for you not to be in the 
lab every availible second.  I accept that, and that there may be 
consequences for me reference-wise, but I choose to follow the path I've 
laid out and let my publications and grants tell the story.  

Personally, I think that this is the way to "change the world".  I may 
not reach the top by playing the game by my rules, but if I play the 
game by the rules as presently accepted, I don't think I want to reach 
the top.  I look at it as a personal decision, but that personal 
decision made hundreds of times by talented people could change the way 
science is done.  Or maybe not-I could just be being optimistic because 
my science is going well this week!

Julia Frugoli
Dartmouth College

visiting grad student at
Texas A&M University
Department of Biological Sciences
College Station, TX 77843
FAX 409-847-8805

"Evil is best defined as militant ignorance."
																										Dr. M. Scott Peck

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