1. Seraphim Alvanides said:

    Dear Melissa Greven

    I admire your achievements in all spheres of life and enjoyed reading your posting, because it made me think hard. However, much as I agree with the statement that “life is a journey”, I find your article full of contradictions. I agree that work/life balance should not be about constantly micro-“managing life”, but I disagree that we should simply “acknowledge that there is no balance”.

    Have you considered that the balance is about not feeling constantly “overwhelmed or pulled in many different directions” as a result of our jobs/occupations/careers, at the expense of doing the other things we enjoy in life. Your answer to this conundrum is “choice” and it seems to have served you well in life. However, not everyone is always in a position to “choose” how to fill their lives wisely, and this makes work/life imbalance a very real issue for many people.

    So, it is not clear to me. What is so wrong with acknowledging that work/life balance is a real problem and addressing it through national and institutional policies? It is certainly more complicated than dismissing it as an artificial construct. It would also give more people the means to choose how they fill their lives more wisely, rather than constantly running the mile we are in, day-in day-out ad infinitum…

  2. John Tuttle said:

    The general expectation of graduate students and post-docs and even young faculty is to work extensive hours (usually 12-15 hours per day) 6 or 7 days a week. This is what is being preached as ‘required’ to succeed in the biomedical sciences (or you have to get lucky). If you spend time outside of the lab doing things you enjoy, your dedication and love for science are questioned. Taking time to have a family is discouraged and you will hear many tales of successful faculty who did have children but were ‘back at work the next day.’ If you have been able to find an environment where you are able to produce data at a rate which satisfies your PI and still have time to be an involved spouse and mother than I congratulate you. But the pressure only gets worse the higher up in science you go and at the end there is a good chance you still won’t get a job in science.

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