For people in academia..

vkartikv

Hall of Fame
Can anyone in academia tell me how they balance work 'life' and personal 'life'? Do you even have a 'personal life'??? Between research, teaching, mentoring and trying actively to become a bodybuilder, there is no time for anything else. Tennis has taken a back seat - I've played 4-5 times in the last year, but that also has to do with the fact that I'm in a small college town and there isn't anyone to play with.

I'm flattering myself here but I'm very lucky to be single (and thus, not occupied or distracted by 'other activities'). And I'm only a 2nd-yr post-doc (in engineering) !!! Will things get worse when you become a tenure-track prof (as I hope to do by Fall 2012)?
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
Are you kidding? Academicians, especially postdocs, are the most relaxed people on the planet. The postdocs I knew had time for whatever. Stroll to the department, start an experiment (they were mostly Chemistry guys), take off for some food and gossip, leave early, take Fridays off and make every weekend a long weekend. Once you become a regular faculty member, you need to work only 9 months a year. All holidays are yours. Life is relaxed. Fawning students fall over you. You are the king of the classroom. Your colleagues are as intellectually sophisticated as you.

Far better than the industry grind with its inhuman hours, pressure and unpleasantness, and stupid and hostile people trying to hold on to their pathetic jobs.
 
Are you kidding? Academicians, especially postdocs, are the most relaxed people on the planet. The postdocs I knew had time for whatever. Stroll to the department, start an experiment (they were mostly Chemistry guys), take off for some food and gossip, leave early, take Fridays off and make every weekend a long weekend. Once you become a regular faculty member, you need to work only 9 months a year. All holidays are yours. Life is relaxed. Fawning students fall over you. You are the king of the classroom. Your colleagues are as intellectually sophisticated as you.

Far better than the industry grind with its inhuman hours, pressure and unpleasantness, and stupid and hostile people trying to hold on to their pathetic jobs.
There's some truth in that. I'm a tech/ra in a lab and I'm switching my career. I realized I don't like research as much and I do not want to spend my time writing grants.

Most of the post-docs I know, especially the ones that work for happy-go-lucky professors are brilliant but seemingly-lazy people. I say that because after you factor in the morning routine, long lunches, roaming the campus for free food, pranks on other lab members, and "family visits", I think most post-docs only do about 3-4hours of experiments/science on any given day. And they still get good data. Most professors are happy-go-lucky, they can care less how you spend the day as long as there's result.

I also know some post-docs who work for professors from hell. These are the hardest working, most miserable people I know. Why? Because if you're a post-doc, you can get a job in the industry which pays double (if not triple!) a post-doc's salary. And you get all the perks of being a scientist in a company (take off early and unscheduled long weekends).

If you want to be a faculty, I think you'll have the most relaxing life ever if you're ok with having a small lab. So you're not writing grants and giving talks left and right just to keep the lights on. My current lab is a huge lab with 10+ post docs, I never see my boss, she's always home writing grants or giving talks in the north pole. Which is fine because she's swamped with deadlines, thus turning her into a non-pleasant person.

Maybe I'm still young, but I do not fancy the idea of taking work home with me. So I'm switching my career.
 
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vkartikv

Hall of Fame
I also know some post-docs who work for professors from hell. These are the hardest working, most miserable people I know. Why? Because if you're a post-doc, you can get a job in the industry which pays double (if not triple!) a post-doc's salary. And you get all the perks of being a scientist in a company (take off early and unscheduled long weekends).

.
I must be one of those! I'm not bothered about the pay but the hours have been ridiculous for over a year now. That said, there is a lot more security about these positions than the industry.

Suresh, you have absolutely no idea about post-doc life!
 

ollinger

G.O.A.T.
A number of academicians in my family (physics professor, linguistics professor, I was a psychiatry professor at Mt. Sinai in NYC), I think it's no different than any other profession in that people who want to be successful tend to put in lots of time, people less concerned about that don't. If you're working at bodybuilding, you're probably doing that most days of the week (the ones I know do it typically six days a week) and most serious careers don't generally give you time to do something like that almost every day AND do other physical activities, AND pursue your career and some social life.
 

Kevin T

Hall of Fame
Can anyone in academia tell me how they balance work 'life' and personal 'life'? Do you even have a 'personal life'??? Between research, teaching, mentoring and trying actively to become a bodybuilder, there is no time for anything else. Tennis has taken a back seat - I've played 4-5 times in the last year, but that also has to do with the fact that I'm in a small college town and there isn't anyone to play with.

I'm flattering myself here but I'm very lucky to be single (and thus, not occupied or distracted by 'other activities'). And I'm only a 2nd-yr post-doc (in engineering) !!! Will things get worse when you become a tenure-track prof (as I hope to do by Fall 2012)?
Well, I have a wife and two kids < 4yo, so I have you beat with 'distractions'. :)

I'm tenured and primarily teach med/allied health students but typically have at least one intro course per semester. I also work ~ 20 hours/week with the U's affiliated health system, making research activities few and far between these days. At this point in my life (37 yo), I much prefer teaching and clinical work. I easily work 60 hours/week and love it. I never teach fewer than 3 courses/semester, work 20 hours in an outpatient clinic, 10 office hours/week and <5 hours/week devoted to faculty/department meetings, etc. My course schedule is always MW, TTH or once/week evening course. I typically have my summers free but do keep the 20 clinic hours year round. I love knowing that every day isn't a '9 to 5'. Sometimes it's 8am-8pm, sometimes it's 12pm-8pm, sometimes it's 8am to 12pm. No complaints. I live a blessed life.
 

The Bawss

Banned
I'm just strating my PhD now, I was hoping not to go into acadaemia for these reasons precisely! I much prefer the sound of slight job insecurity but rewarded with nice salaries and decent hours/holidays!
 

r2473

Talk Tennis Guru
And think of all the coeds you will get to sleep with once you become a professor.

Just ask Kevin......
 

Kevin T

Hall of Fame
And think of all the coeds you will get to sleep with once you become a professor.

Just ask Kevin......
How dare you question extra credit or the manner in which I provide it.

However, it wasn't until I started drinking protein shakes and 'got beast' that my luck finally changed. :)
 
A number of academicians in my family (physics professor, linguistics professor, I was a psychiatry professor at Mt. Sinai in NYC), I think it's no different than any other profession in that people who want to be successful tend to put in lots of time, people less concerned about that don't. If you're working at bodybuilding, you're probably doing that most days of the week (the ones I know do it typically six days a week) and most serious careers don't generally give you time to do something like that almost every day AND do other physical activities, AND pursue your career and some social life.
It also depends on the kind of professor you want to be. Research oriented or teaching/mentoring oriented.

If I were to continue onto the Ph.D path and the eventual post-doc route, I would want to be teaching/mentoring oriented professor. Why? Because I love teaching, and I think there's more to be learned if you're teaching somebody. I wouldn't want to weigh myself down with grant writing, all the while taking time away from mentoring my graduate students.

I'm currently in a big lab (10+ post docs), I think the professor is very lucky to have a few extremely hungry, motivated graduate students. In order to support such a big lab, she's always writing or giving talks. She pops in once or twice a week just to tell the graduate students to do this, and run this assay. I don't see very much mentoring from her. In the end, I don't think it's fair for the graduate students. If I was one, I would want to probe my professor's mind and learn as much as I can. Not just show up and help him/her push papers out.
 

snvplayer

Hall of Fame
Once you are in track for tenure professorship, you will be swamped and under a lot of pressure...No grant -> No research -> No tenure.

Well, even if you were to hold a "normal 9 to 5" job, it doesn't mean you will have time for many other things. You will have to prioritize and focus on the most important things and postpone other things until later..
 

OTMPut

Hall of Fame
oh, wait. i am thinking of going to academia from a corporate setting to get more time to play tennis and to get more flexible work schedule.
 

Bartelby

Bionic Poster
Since when and why are fifty or sixty hours plus work a week for fifty weeks a year considered normal while there is nearly twenty percent unemployment?



oh, wait. i am thinking of going to academia from a corporate setting to get more time to play tennis and to get more flexible work schedule.
 

Shaolin

G.O.A.T.
Can anyone in academia tell me how they balance work 'life' and personal 'life'? Do you even have a 'personal life'??? Between research, teaching, mentoring and trying actively to become a bodybuilder, there is no time for anything else. Tennis has taken a back seat - I've played 4-5 times in the last year, but that also has to do with the fact that I'm in a small college town and there isn't anyone to play with.

I'm flattering myself here but I'm very lucky to be single (and thus, not occupied or distracted by 'other activities'). And I'm only a 2nd-yr post-doc (in engineering) !!! Will things get worse when you become a tenure-track prof (as I hope to do by Fall 2012)?

First of all, ditch the bodybuilder plan.

Tennis takes priority over getting a big neck.
 

autumn_leaf

Hall of Fame
Since when and why are fifty or sixty hours plus work a week for fifty weeks a year considered normal while there is nearly twenty percent unemployment?
Because it's an employers' market. They demand more work and pay less because they know there are at least 30 people waiting in line for your job, if it becomes available.

This blog is more relating to liberal art instead of the STEM field, but I think the OP will find it funny and also informative:

http://100rsns.blogspot.com/

I decided not to go to grad yet cause of several reasons, major ones being 2 years of my life, $100k+ debt, no available internship in the field (I/O psych), and with no experience in the field I wasn't sure if I wanted to stay in it.

One of thing about the blog is that it clearly states the amount of grads the US is producing far out-paces the available slots for professor, never mind tenure track positions. It is most likely better in the STEM field, but I do not know by how much.
 

Bartelby

Bionic Poster
... because the employers' have used state power to destroy the labour market and crush labour rights.



Because it's an employers' market. They demand more work and pay less because they know there are at least 30 people waiting in line for your job, if it becomes available.

This blog is more relating to liberal art instead of the STEM field, but I think the OP will find it funny and also informative:

http://100rsns.blogspot.com/

I decided not to go to grad yet cause of several reasons, major ones being 2 years of my life, $100k+ debt, no available internship in the field (I/O psych), and with no experience in the field I wasn't sure if I wanted to stay in it.

One of thing about the blog is that it clearly states the amount of grads the US is producing far out-paces the available slots for professor, never mind tenure track positions. It is most likely better in the STEM field, but I do not know by how much.
 

Kevin T

Hall of Fame
oh, wait. i am thinking of going to academia from a corporate setting to get more time to play tennis and to get more flexible work schedule.
The nice thing is the courts are right there waiting for you. Teach a class, go hit for an hour. Teach a class, go play squash for an hour. Nice.
 

LuckyR

Legend
There are many different styles of work product for those in academics. Hard to compare tenured profs with an every other year, single quarter intro course teaching responsibility, to a post-doc who is still assistant teaching intro courses ie not enough grant money from research to get off of the teaching treadmill.

In addition, tenured profs with a lab full of postdocs and grad students doing all of the benchtop work while they write proposals and dream up future areas of research to pursue, may have a lot of internal pressure, but I wouldn't describe their amount of "work" as very high.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
I must be one of those! I'm not bothered about the pay but the hours have been ridiculous for over a year now. That said, there is a lot more security about these positions than the industry.

Suresh, you have absolutely no idea about post-doc life!
Dude I was close to many Chem postdocs though I myself am not a chemist. Then myself was one (though it was called Research Scientist or something) for 2 years in Florida - but the same deal, year to year funding based on proposals. Very very low pay but full health benefits. Best time of my life. Everybody would join industry for the higher pay and those left behind like me became the backbone of the place. My son was born at that time. Did a lot of traveling and enjoying. Then funding started to run out and I also quit for industry. Those who are still there are well, still there, with no promotions - but living in huge homes overlooking lakes and enjoying the good life, so I wonder who won at the end.

Though I see what you mean - post docs/research scientist positions in non-hard-science fields can be very different from hard science fields. There are many many Physics postdocs who work very hard for practically no money, and they can get very frustrated. When you are a postdoc, you dream of big money in industry - when you quit, you realize how good it was.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
Kartik, while you are still a postdoc, please do one very important experiment for me. Take an inflatable rubber ball and fill it with oil. Then drop if from a window high up in an apartment building and see if it breaks. If it doesn't, take this idea to Kramerica Corporation and ask for funding.
 

autumn_leaf

Hall of Fame
... because the employers' have used state power to destroy the labour market and crush labour rights.
that's called capitalism. something based on greed. they want more money and do pretty much anything to get it. just saying employer's did it is only the surface of the problem, we have to ask why they do it, and that's because of money.
 

r2473

Talk Tennis Guru
Since when and why are fifty or sixty hours plus work a week for fifty weeks a year considered normal while there is nearly twenty percent unemployment?
This is the mistake the French make. Assuming that just because people work fewer hours it will have an effect on unemployment. It really doesn't.

This is a subset of what is commonly called the "lump of labor fallacy". I'll let you look that up (ya, like you ever would).

Here's some cheery news from the French:

http://www.npr.org/2012/01/18/145363019/french-dilemma-how-to-burn-off-all-that-overtime

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/68504e74-2fea-11e1-8ad0-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1m0JYISxn

The thing I love about Bartleby is that, if there is an economic fallacy, he will eventually hit on it. But don't let the facts get in the way of your prejudices Bartelby. That's your "right".

If you've been contemplatin' just what you're doin' wrong
Then you will be a witness to the rumble goin' on
You fight it hard to tell apart the truth from the jive
They've got a right to say it wrong if freedom's to survive
 
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Kevin T

Hall of Fame
There are many different styles of work product for those in academics. Hard to compare tenured profs with an every other year, single quarter intro course teaching responsibility, to a post-doc who is still assistant teaching intro courses ie not enough grant money from research to get off of the teaching treadmill.

In addition, tenured profs with a lab full of postdocs and grad students doing all of the benchtop work while they write proposals and dream up future areas of research to pursue, may have a lot of internal pressure, but I wouldn't describe their amount of "work" as very high.
This. I think those (like me) that are PhD and have a medical skill/license (MD,RN,RD,PT,Pharmacists) and really love to teach are in a good spot. The money is typically better (often much better) in clinics/hospitals/private practice, so most go that direction and the need for profs is always there. If you love to teach and love the academic lifestyle, don't mind trading a little $$ for quality of life, it's a great career choice. Because I also love working with patients, this allows me to take a break from research and provide my uni another avenue to educate students/residents/interns in the clinical setting.
 

LuckyR

Legend
This. I think those (like me) that are PhD and have a medical skill/license (MD,RN,RD,PT,Pharmacists) and really love to teach are in a good spot. The money is typically better (often much better) in clinics/hospitals/private practice, so most go that direction and the need for profs is always there. If you love to teach and love the academic lifestyle, don't mind trading a little $$ for quality of life, it's a great career choice. Because I also love working with patients, this allows me to take a break from research and provide my uni another avenue to educate students/residents/interns in the clinical setting.
Those who are Clinical Instructors for the University but are in private practice get to dabble in teaching to satisfy that itch, but have the compensation of a regular practice. We can put our University position on our CV, but really we aren't in academics.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
This is the mistake the French make. Assuming that just because people work fewer hours it will have an effect on unemployment. It really doesn't.

This is a subset of what is commonly called the "lump of labor fallacy". I'll let you look that up (ya, like you ever would).

Here's some cheery news from the French:

http://www.npr.org/2012/01/18/145363019/french-dilemma-how-to-burn-off-all-that-overtime

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/68504e74-2fea-11e1-8ad0-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1m0JYISxn

The thing I love about Bartleby is that, if there is an economic fallacy, he will eventually hit on it. But don't let the facts get in the way of your prejudices Bartelby. That's your "right".

If you've been contemplatin' just what you're doin' wrong
Then you will be a witness to the rumble goin' on
You fight it hard to tell apart the truth from the jive
They've got a right to say it wrong if freedom's to survive
Once computers make accountants totally obsolete, you will be saying what he is saying. When your neighbor loses a job, it is because he is a bum. When you lose a job, it is because of recession.
 

r2473

Talk Tennis Guru
Once computers make accountants totally obsolete, you will be saying what he is saying. When your neighbor loses a job, it is because he is a bum. When you lose a job, it is because of recession.
"Creative destruction"

But this really has nothing at all to do with "lump of labor".
 
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Kevin T

Hall of Fame
Those who are Clinical Instructors for the University but are in private practice get to dabble in teaching to satisfy that itch, but have the compensation of a regular practice. We can put our University position on our CV, but really we aren't in academics.
I knew you were cool. :)
 

Bartelby

Bionic Poster
I'm sorry but I wasn't making any theoretical connection between fewer hours and less unemployment.

I was merely stating the incontrevertible fact that high unemployment and overwork is the hallmark of the dominance of capital over crushing state power.

Right wing people always turn facts into economic theories in order to hide from a reality that speaks too loudly.

And theories are a dime a dozen in economics and none so far have surpassed the Keynesian transformation.




This is the mistake the French make. Assuming that just because people work fewer hours it will have an effect on unemployment. It really doesn't.

This is a subset of what is commonly called the "lump of labor fallacy". I'll let you look that up (ya, like you ever would).

Here's some cheery news from the French:

http://www.npr.org/2012/01/18/145363019/french-dilemma-how-to-burn-off-all-that-overtime

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/68504e74-2fea-11e1-8ad0-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1m0JYISxn

The thing I love about Bartleby is that, if there is an economic fallacy, he will eventually hit on it. But don't let the facts get in the way of your prejudices Bartelby. That's your "right".

If you've been contemplatin' just what you're doin' wrong
Then you will be a witness to the rumble goin' on
You fight it hard to tell apart the truth from the jive
They've got a right to say it wrong if freedom's to survive
 

Bartelby

Bionic Poster
Sure enough, the lump-of-labor fallacy has resurfaced in the United States -- but with a twist. Traditionally, it is a fallacy of the economically naïve left -- for example, four years ago France's Socialist government tried to create more jobs by reducing the length of the workweek. But in America today you're more likely to hear lump-of-labor arguments from the right, as an excuse for the Bush administration's policy failures.

- Krugman

The president fully embraced the "lump of labor" fallacy, in which one imagines a fixed number of jobs in the world that are simply slung back and forth across oceans.

"Let's remember how we got here. Long before the recession, jobs and manufacturing began leaving our shores…we have a huge opportunity, at this moment, to bring manufacturing back. But we have to seize it. Tonight, my message to business leaders is simple: Ask yourselves what you can do to bring jobs back to your country, and your country will do everything we can to help you succeed."

- Foreign Policy author's right wing attempt to turn a folksy speech into an economic theory



This is the mistake the French make. Assuming that just because people work fewer hours it will have an effect on unemployment. It really doesn't.

This is a subset of what is commonly called the "lump of labor fallacy". I'll let you look that up (ya, like you ever would).

Here's some cheery news from the French:

http://www.npr.org/2012/01/18/145363019/french-dilemma-how-to-burn-off-all-that-overtime

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/68504e74-2fea-11e1-8ad0-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1m0JYISxn

The thing I love about Bartleby is that, if there is an economic fallacy, he will eventually hit on it. But don't let the facts get in the way of your prejudices Bartelby. That's your "right".

If you've been contemplatin' just what you're doin' wrong
Then you will be a witness to the rumble goin' on
You fight it hard to tell apart the truth from the jive
They've got a right to say it wrong if freedom's to survive
 
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Why is it that every thread end up hijack by the same people to make the same argument?

Can you stop being so selfish, and stick to the topic.
 

Kobble

Hall of Fame
How do you balance anything? There are only so many hours in a day. You either can get it in, or you can't.

Many people I know seemingly have a personal life while working through a PhD. However, the one in particular had a husband making decent money, so she didn't have to worry about finances during her pursuit. However, it did prolong her having a child.

I have known cases of exceptional PhD students who ended up quitting certain post doc programs. They said they just couldn't work that hard. Some people don't really have anything else in the world they would rather do than work on a scholarly problem.
 

Bartelby

Bionic Poster
Given that you trail around with a political slogan in your signature line, and that the thread is about work and life balance in the academic workplace, it could be you that's the problem.

Your poitical slogan/wit:

I'm a Welfare King- 100 Social Security cards, all collecting disability, cruise for hotties on my 911 Turbo



Why is it that every thread end up hijack by the same people to make the same argument?

Can you stop being so selfish, and stick to the topic.
 
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