192

How infeasible is transitioning as an early-career faculty member? I transitioned as a postdoc back in 2013, so I did it. Whether or not it's a terrible idea depends on many factors, and just plain luck. I don't have experience in industry, so I can't comment much on that. But I'm sure it's the same situation: it depends on many factors, and plain luck. ...


124

The answer is no. There are a lot of factors in play. With my work, a lot of it is creative so it is hard to say when I am working or not. Do people expect students to work that many hours? Maybe, but it isn't healthy (and maybe not legal). Do people really work the entire time they are at work? Probably not. Your productivity certainly goes down the ...


111

Can I slack and get a PhD? Yes, definitely. I have known PhD students that graduated, which I can only describe as lazy. Now the more important question is Why the heck do you want to? If your goal is to stay in research, slacking off during your PhD time is career suicide. If you do not want to stay in research, and you are not particularly interested in ...


104

There are three basic approaches to handling this: Paul Erdos' approach. Pros: it worked for Erdos, after a fashion. Cons: you are not Erdos. Crack, maybe have a psychotic episode, and leave academia. Pros: it's the easiest course, and the one you're on now. Cons: everything else about it. Recognize that your career is not a sprint, but a marathon, and ...


101

Take a (short) vacation immediately. By working 15-16 hours a day you are making yourself too exhausted and tired to be effective. That is also probably why you make mistakes. You should take a break that is long enough to reset, and when you come back aim at reasonable working hours (depends on a person and circumstances but for most people this is 40-...


91

I'm sure some advisors do act this way. I don't think it's very common, but it does happen. It's more common for advisors to expect certain results than a particular hourly commitment, but all these things are a matter of extent. However, in trying to figure out whether to switch advisors, I think you're asking yourself the wrong question. The right ...


87

Can I slack and get a PhD? You seem to have started early in your laconic/lazy formulation of the question. Nevertheless, I know what you are asking at least in spirit: can you get a PhD without really trying, i.e., by doing the minimum necessary and having that minimum be significantly less than your peak activity. The answer is: while no one is ...


86

If you've found the right person to marry in graduate school, what's the alternative? Getting married as a postdoc or tenure-track faculty member is also difficult, since you still have a lot of career pressure and uncertainty. It won't go over well to say "I love you, but let's wait until I have tenure to get married," since that's way too far in the ...


83

Does anyone else experience this? Yes, I'm pretty sure we all do to some extent, and that it's one of the defining characteristics of being a researcher that you get so emotionally involved in your work and are so passionate about it that it has that effect. It can be both a curse and a blessing (see the fantastic question linked to by jakebeal in the ...


81

This is a bit opinion-based, but I'll offer my own personal take on an answer in the hopes that it might be useful; at least parts of what I wrote below seem pretty generally applicable to me. Is it possible to survive/remain in academia by working normal hours (8-9 hours per day) without working evenings, weekends, holidays, without feeling guilty about ...


74

In answer to the question of "Is this expectation usual," I offer the current state of the following completely unscientific survey from the Adventures in Ethics and Science blog. The question asked is, "My graduate advisor expects or requires me to work...", and as of right now, 68/650 respondents (about 10.5%) report that they believe their advisor ...


65

Oh man, where does one begin... I am half-way in to my second postdoc at what I consider to be the best research facility in Northern Europe in my field. So take my advice as such, although where you work does not say so much about you, as one might think. How do I gain back my faith in my PhD degree? Short answer: you don't, as long as you are in status ...


63

The extent to which academics lead deadline-driven lives varies tremendously. It differs between fields (even otherwise similar fields; for example, theoretical computer science tends to have far more paper submission deadlines than pure mathematics does), between types of institutions (such as research universities vs. liberal arts colleges), between ...


62

A disclaimer: I'm not an attorney. My opinion is my own but I'll give you my sources. Here in the US only, universities are probably not prohibited from considering otherwise protected status in admissions, c.f., Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, which upheld racial preferences in admissions. But under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as ...


62

First of all, I know many PhD students (also myself) who did exactly that and finished their phd: They worked 40 hours a week (or less), had a "normal life" , knew they would go to industry afterwards and wanted to learn/do research before (and stay connected to the system "university") because they loved uni/studying. It helps that in my ...


54

Whether or not this is prohibited depends on where you live. In the United States, almost certainly yes (+1 to Nicole Hamilton for her answer). My own personal belief is that what the professor proposed is wrong, whether or not it is illegal where you work. It also demonstrates an misunderstanding of how people's relationships affect their work ethic. It ...


53

Most people who brag about how many hours they work are inefficient. Because they are inefficient, they feel a need to point out how many hours they work - rather than pointing to the quality of work. Keep this in mind. Some PhD programs will allow you to be more isolated from non-PhD related work than others. If you have to teach, for example, that might ...


51

I feel for once I am somewhat qualified to give an answer here. A bit of background to know where I am coming from and hopefully give some insight to my situation. I am currently finishing my second year in a MA Mathematics program and beginning my first year of my Ph.D. in Mathematics in the fall. I am married with two children(a 3 year old and an 8 ...


50

The experience of working long hours, for little pay and little power is, unfortunately, an almost universal experience for science PhD students around the world. In the UK and many other countries PhD students are not considered employees at all, and so have no contract of any kind - they are not paid a salary, but a stipend (i.e. a grant to allow them to ...


48

I've taken two full-year overseas sabbaticals, each on my half-salary plus a small ad-hoc stipend from the host institution, the first with just my wife and the the second with my wife and our two small children. Fortunately my wife's job is flexible enough to allow for occasional leaves without pay. We rented out our house (at a slight discount, because ...


48

Superficial solution: Control your behavior with a time budget Sit down and set priorities for your current life. Your research is probably more important in the long run than the joy you get out of teaching. If you agree with this, set a time budget for each area. E.g. assign 70% of your time for your research and 30% for teaching. Plan your teaching ...


47

It sounds to me like you are allowing yourself to be emotionally manipulated by your students, particularly the one (who sounds super obnoxious) who told you about the promise for a luxury car from their parents. It’s indeed important to have empathy, and I find your conscious insistence on practicing empathy every day incredibly noble and admirable — if ...


46

I'm a postdoc and I work maybe 40-45 hours a week. Things that make this work: I don't check my work email at home. I did that in the past, now I don't. I never missed something (although once in a while a colleague will call with something really urgent). I don't do everything around the lab. I clean up my own stuff in the lab, and I will do my "chores"...


46

Rebecca Stones has already given a great answer that got my upvote. But allow me to offer some personal perspective based on my experience here in US. I transitioned about 20 years ago. The world is a much less hostile environment for trans people today than it was then. I think you will find academia, at least here in the US, to be an especially ...


45

For the actual question (“ what are the points to remember when one thinks of getting married in the middle of a PhD?”): If you are a woman, and live in a country where you are expected to take the surname of your husband, make sure that doesn't interfere with other people's ability to keep track of your publications. (Some women I know, though they use ...


45

Just invite the people you would like to have come. If there are other students, post-docs, faculty, or staff that you are close enough to that you would want to have them at your wedding, then just invite them. There is no established protocol for who you should invite, and no one is likely to be offended if you invite some of your lab-mates but not all ...


43

One of the nice things about working at a university is that the working hours tend to be very flexible. In my experience, this is the main reason why PhD students (and faculty) don't have a 9 to 5 workday. Some work late, but many of those start late. Some work in burst, working long hours for some weeks (before a deadline), and taking it easy in other ...


43

It is very important that work-life balance be available to people who need it. Most PhD students and most scientists need some form of balance but exact needs vary. You are not obligated to adopt someone else's idea of balance. There is no evidence that what works for other people will work for you. Healthy diet and exercise are strongly correlated with ...


42

To add to the existing answers: Can you be a (relatively) “lazy” professor and still hold a position? Yes. Once you have a (tenured) position, you can probably be rather lazy and still hold onto it. So do you think that it is possible to have a healthy work-life balance as a professor or is that approach to a professorship, at least early on, not ...


38

No. What really helps in building academic contacts is not beer, wine or any other alcohol, but the ability to generate informal discussions in relaxed settings. Fortunately, there are many ways to achieve that goal that do not require the intake of alcohol! Even without going very far from drinking, sharing a nice lunch or dinner in an appropriate setting ...


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