15-Min Improv Blogging, the Halloween Edition

  • Clocks go back 1 hour tomorrow, supposedly we can all get 1 more hour of sleep. Yeah, right; tell that to my kids. Clocks, schmocks.
  • I will be blogging daily in November, as I did the last two years, starting new stuff November 2nd, after a grant deadline. A repost tomorrow.
  • The latest repost brought thoughts on work habits, collaborators, etc.  This is the reality, though: if you are a professor in a STEM field at an R1 university, you need to work more than the ~ 45 hours a week that kids can typically stay in daycare/schools+afterschool care. Many people (me included) work a split shift: some work gets done during normal business hours, but some gets done during the evening or weekends. My spouse and kids would not take kindly to me working till 9-10 pm (like I have been doing over the past few weeks on account of proposal writing, with an occasional past-midnight stint, like yesterday) for a prolonged period of time. Yet, the work has to get done, and there is only so much you can say ‘no’ to or delegate before you become the self-centered douche on account of whom somebody else now has an insurmountable work load. Anyway, my kids and spouse definitely and strongly prefer me at home in the evenings and on the weekends, but occasionally disappearing into the home office to do a few things, over me not being around. I am far from alone in this type of organization of my time, as I think it’s fairly typical for dual-career couples with kids, not just in academia (except that academics have more flexibility than most; people in corporate America often have much less control over what hours they work or whether they can disconnect during weekends or evenings).
  • Burnout and all that jazz. When you have a job and a family, both of which you love, there’s definitely burning the candle from both ends. In a way,  or perhaps in every way, and on more days than not, especially after I’ve had a nap like today, I prefer being stretched too thin to not being stretched enough. It’s good to have a busy life, that’s what being young(ish) and healthy is for. Being comfortable or relaxed, except intermittently, is overrated. Your (gas) mileage may vary.
  • Speaking of being busy… There have been so, so many of my kids’ friends at my house this weekend. The fact that they feel comfortable at our place makes me feel like I have done something right, that even though DH and I will always be “Other”, our kids belong here.
  • Happy Halloween! May all your witches come true.

One comment

  1. I’ve been reading your blog for a long time and what you say often resonates with my thoughts. I’m a (female) PostDoc in a STEM field, I have two children and, of course, often read about work/life balance in academia and such. And I find it so refreshing to see your take on this, to see someone say that split hours are fairly normal and not leading me into an early grave, that combining awesome work and family can be fun, even when exhausting. I might change my mind on this further down the road, but thanks for writing it now.

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