Friday, February 8, 2013

In case you got the wrong idea

I realized from my last post, you might make the assumption that just because I love my family time on the weekends that I don't do work on the weekends. You would be incorrect.

Generally we have family time from the time I get to daycare, until bedtime for the Bear. We try to take turns putting her to bed, then maybe a little cleaning up (if it isn't my turn to put her to bed), then working for a few hours, then bedtime for the adults.

Why so much work after work? My first inclination is to say, if you are asking that, you're probably not an academic. But, then I realize that many, many people are able to leave their work responsibilities at work, and so I'll try to figure out a better answer.

Well, yes, part of it is pressure to produce. I know that, given my schedule and priorities, I simply do not have the same number of hours to devote to work during the daytime as many of my peers. So, I make up for part of this by working in the evenings (even Friday and Saturday!) But, pressure to produce wouldn't be enough to keep me going. I wouldn't be doing this. I wouldn't be doing science, if it didn't drive me to keep questioning at all hours. I wouldn't be able to stay up late doing work, night after night, if I weren't doing something I truly thought was worth the effort. And I do. I think that the work I do is important, and worth getting right. I think that I owe my collaborators and my peers my time devoted to each project. Sometimes I'm working because I can't wait to see what I've found. Sometimes I'm working because I just like what I'm doing, and making progress can be very motivating. Sometimes, I'm working because I know there is a bug, and if I just take five more minutes, I'm sure I'll figure out where it is. Sometimes I'm working because I know a collaborator is waiting on me before they can proceed. And, sometimes, I'm working because I feel the pressure of keeping up with my childfree peers.

What I wanted to emphasize in my previous post is that, I'm not afraid of hard work, or long hours. What I dislike is the continuous time away from family. So, if you see me at a conference, you'd better believe I'm making the most of that time.

Now, back to work. Tonight I am mapping heterozygous human genotypes to every gene, then merging these with expression values from RNAseq studies, for a collaborator, and, running some test regressions for a project with my new undergrad, because it's fun, and I can't wait to see what we find.

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