On a beautiful spring, Fathers’ Day Sunday, is it appropriate to talk about work/life balance?
It’s something we all grapple with on a constant basis. A recent study showed that research scientists in particular find it hard to delineate the work and leisure times in their lives – scientists in America, Germany and China were all found to regularly work late into weekday nights, and on weekends. The authors concluded that in order to meet the intense pressure and competitive demands put on them, scientists are,
“Deprioritizing their hobbies, leisure activities, and regular exercises, which negatively influenced their mental and physical health.”
Presumably family time also suffers.
Blogger and scientist Samuel Arbesman at Wired thinks we need to create new structures that can allow for a more balanced life for scientists, including the creation of careers that are not attached to a specific institute, or which allow scholars to contribute less than a full working week to a research dilemma.
Kind of like freelancing, but in research science.
The thing I like about freelancing is that I control how I prioritise my time. Some weeks, when there’s a big deadline, work steals the majority of my daylight (and sometimes night time) hours. Other periods I focus on family and household chores.
It doesn’t make the chores any less tedious. But at least everyone has clean underwear.
[photo credit to pussinboots on flickr]