Comments

  1. Gabriela Novak said:

    I can personally attest that it is impossible to compete as a woman with children. Not because family life is incompatible with a career, but because the very basic needs of a family are not being met. I did not have this issue in Canada, but in the US I found very few if any resources available and far too many additional obstacles to tackle. To secure even the basics, such as education for children, was often a struggle. I had to homeschool for an entire semester while waiting for a school placement for my daughter. The rent was far too high for us to afford, yet we were asked to move out of residence, only 6 months before the end of my contract. It just appears that families in general are struggling and women are often the default parent to stay home.

  2. Vena Ray said:

    The problem with this idea (in the US) is medical benefits. Part-time positions don’t qualify for employer-supplied healthcare insurance, which means you would have two shared people missing out on an essential component of employment.

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  3. Irene Adrian-Kalchhauser said:

    “Be organized and fit family life around 10 hours of work” is the best advice for anyone who wants to ruin their marriage and earn a burn out. Lots of this pressure we put on ourselves pre-emptively rather than other people putting that pressure on us. It is happening in our very own heads. When I started a family, I tried to keep my well-trained science routines, too. But I quickly realized that work after 20:00 was non-productive yet very painful (of course – I was up since 6 am and I was tired). I also realized that accepting the 9-to-5 frame given by childcare and delegating everything that could be delegated made me – to my utter surprise – more successful. My grant applications went through, I focused on the few experiments that mattered, I thought three times before starting something instead of just once – and it paid off. My conclusion: Don’t embrace pressure from other people. Don’t make it your own. Instead, think what is reasonable. Think about what a human being can possibly achieve in a day and stay mentally and physically healthy at the same time. And if other people want you to cross those borders, realize that it is your responsibility to stand up against it. Gently, but firmly and clearly.

  4. Jose Romario Fernandes de Melo said:

    What it is funny to me is the fact that most young scientists nowadays are deluded by the idea of being a (fancy) world-class scientist, highly cited, highly followed in Twitter, highly invited for talks, and a lot more “highlies”. That is not and has never been the goal of science, but the goal of being famous (at any profession; especially arts and media-related ones). Look back to people who changed the world with their research such as Einstein, Mendel, Darwin, Stephen Hawking, Kary Mullis, Tesla, Marie-Curie, etc, etc. and you gonna find all sorts of life-work-family (im)balance. Did they change the world because they had (or didn’t have) a balanced life-work-family or because their ideas were brilliant? Science is a job as any other! In a capitalist world, you’re paid = you work. Be efficient. Do not waste your time with futility. Do not procrastinate. If you wanna be an workaholic, have kids, hike in the mountains, have summer in the beach, visit parents twice a year in another continent and so on, I am sorry to tell that you won’t be very good at any of these. As a result, you’ve got disappointment and pressure upon yourself. If your ideas are fantastic, you gonna get all your grants, prizes, citations, fame, and whatever comes with it. If they are not, you gonna be just an average very good scientist as most of us. Just be happy with that. While I agree 100% with Irene Adrian-Kalchhauser’s comment, I disagree with the shared working thing. Unless you know very well and has high synergy with the lab mate, things will very likely tend to caos rather than a great deal. But this is just my opinion.