Archive for: September, 2018
In assessing my mental state over the 8 months that I have been in this new postdoc position, I have observed a trend. It’s not good.
I spend a great deal of mental energy — from the time I drop off my kid at daycare to the time I pick him up — thinking about whether my time is being well spent. Primarily, imagining how frequently my boss entertains the idea that I am not worth the 15% of my salary that she pays for.
The goals of a postdoc position are not well defined. How you spend your time is pretty open ended. We are categorized as “exempt” under the Federal Standards of Labor Act. The singular unifying benchmark we have to assess our efforts is publication. So… there is a lot of wiggle room as to how work hours are spent, and what kind of work is done “after hours”.
I spend about 60% of my time in lab (over 8 months of failed or delayed experiments), 40% time in the fellowship training that pays my salary, and only work 40-45 hours a week. I find it challenging to justify how I juggle my time to a boss who expects people to be in the lab 110% of the work day and use extracurricular hours to fulfill professional development training.
Maybe it’s a desire to have a more professional framework to my work life, maybe it’s having started a family a year ago, or impostor syndrome, or maybe I’m just not cut out for this work environment anymore. But either my perspective or my work needs to change, because I now have enough data for an evidence-based conclusion: this trend is unhealthy.
How much energy do you use justifying how you spend your working hours? Do you ever even feel like your work hours are being wasted? Is this just me?
I am tapped out. I know most people have a lot going on, from weddings and divorces to illnesses and multiple jobs, and I don’t feel like I’m coping the way you all are.
My little family has been sick on-and-off for the last 2 months. First; hand foot and mouth (baby was home from daycare 10 days and by day 5 I also had it) then he had a cold (out for 3 days) then he had another virus (out for 2), then he got hand foot and mouth again (out for 3) and finally, another cold (out for 2 but also got both my husband and I sick – my husband ended up in the ER and I am on Day 10 of and ear infection so I can’t hear out of my left ear). We don’t have family near enough to help out and we haven’t ever used a sitter (something we know we need to correct) so each time the baby is home, hubby and I have to figure out how to juggle our work plans to either split the day or take the day off. Also, our son’s daycare is 3minutes from my work, and 45 minutes from my husbands work, so every time he gets sent home I have to drop everything.
I know how lucky I am. I have a great life/hubby/son, but I’m spent. My boss has been phenomenal about all my emergencies, weird hours and time off, but I can’t help feeling shitty about it all. My work is probably suffering from being up all night with a sick baby and having to compromise schedules so that hubby and I can try to make it all work. How are you guys juggling everything and making it look so easy?