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Positive comments?

linden higgins linden at MAIL.UTEXAS.EDU
Mon Aug 18 08:50:47 EST 1997

>Does anyone have anything positive to say about being a woman in the
>biological sciences?  Lots of honest, negative things about being a grad
>student, a postdoc, and faculty.  Can someone say some honest, positive
>things?  I am not naive, but there must be a resaon we all are here.
>Debbie Moore

Positive comments - from one who, it appears, should have "seen the light
and given up" (it will be 10 yrs next year since I defended my
dissertation,and, BTW, I have followed the "rules" - 2 pubs per year
average, always self funded,  - but never in a VIP lab, and I don't work
with a very sexy animal (spiders)).

So - why do I keep struggling?
(1) I love research - even the bench work (and, as a field ecologist by
temperment and training, it has taken me some time to enjoy chemistry)
(2) I really enjoy teaching (which is what I do to support my "habit" right now)
(3) I really enjoy writing

When push came to shove, this last year, and I realized that a major
experiment (both intellectually and in time investment) had to be repeated
- my first thought was how to manage to repeat it.  Not how to get out.  So
I guess I'm stuck!  Of course, I do have the "luxury" of a spouse in a
full-time position, so that I don't have to try to live on the temp.
faculty salary (not enough to pay rent, much less rent + daycare).

As someone long ago in this discussion said, we have to remember the

Also, there are good things about academia -
Where else could I arrange schedules with my husband to make sure that our
daughter spends no more than 6-8 hrs/day in day care?  Where else could we
work, and just decide to take a half day and go hiking with her?

On the down side, of course, is - where else could I work and not be able
to call in sick when the baby is sick?  All secretaries and staff people
can do that, but I have to teach come fever or diarrhea!  And one does get
tired of sending off 25-30 applications, year after year - and forget about
the top 1% getting the jobs.  I know that people no better, and sometimes
worse, than I have gotten jobs I've applied for.  Serendipity and who you
know make a BIG difference n this world.

Anyway, my $.02


Linden Higgins
Department of Zoology
University of Texas
Austin, TX  78712

telephone:  (512) 471-6905  FAX (512) 471-9651

linden at mail.utexas.edu

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