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Posting Problems/taking time

S L Forsburg forsburg at nospamsalk.edu
Fri Jun 26 11:33:04 EST 1998

Bharathi Jagadeesh (bjag at ln.nimh.nih.gov)

> First, something to note. There are posts that are 
> visible in the bionet web site archive of the posts 
> (http://www.bio.net/hypermail/WOMENINBIOLOGY/) that are 
> not available in my newreader at NIH. My own posts 
> (is anyone else getting them?) fall in this category 
> for me, as well as Rae Nishi's posts. I don't know how 
> to fix this, but wish that something would get fixed.

There are also recurrent problems posting directly to bionet. I 
believe that it may be something your newshost manager has to
adjust--contact the Bionet folks for details. All this apparently
results from the despamming effort.  Meanwhile, if your browser
supports mailto forms, try posting to the website. 

> In my previous post, which got sent accidentally before I was finished,
> I wanted to add ... that the system definitely rewards single minded
> trajectories.
> It also doesn't look very kindly on breaks, detours.
> Though I admire people who do many things, and believe strongly that it
> builds perspective, I do not believe that the system, as it is currently
> constituted recognizes that there's any value to not having been a
> dedicated scientist every working minute your entire life, if your end
> goal is an academic career at a major research university. This is not a
> uplifiting comment to make, but is definitely my perception.

IMHO this is one of the major problems with this profession.  The
people who are in positions of power, mostly men, came up 
through this system.  It was good to them and they have a strong
vested interest in maintaining the status quo.  PhDs and postdocs 
were shorter then, and they mostly had wives at home raising the kids,
making dinner, waiting for the plumber....  Times 
have changed;  PhDs take well over 5 years, postdocs can be long 
(even if you do only one) and it is not uncommon for people to 
be approaching the assistant/associate professor promotion when 
they are over 40, rather than under 35, even if you do everything
"straight through" with no time off.  And, if you are
at some places (my own institution amongst them), the assistant/
associate professor boundary *isn't even for tenure*;  that comes
6 years later with full professor!  Throwing someone away at
nearly 50 looks a whole lot different than suggesting they move on
at 32.

As we have discussed on this board, the current structure of this
profession, especially in academics, does not support anything but
the tradtional lifestyle and attitude, has not modernized and
is functionally anti-family.  This affects men and women equally. 
All is built upon the false premise that success is tied to intrinsic
merit, rather than politics, trends, and who you know.  We  have here
a system ripe for reform.  I am coming to believe that this 
deeply entrenched status quo  is a huge problem simply in 
human terms.  Other professions have changed.  It is time that 
academic science changes too.  Although it will take us
infiltrating the upper echelons to do it! 

(There is an irony in this:  I am one of those single-minded, geeky
people who spends all her time in the lab and thus may even be 
contributing to the problem.  On the other hand, think of me as a
revolutionary infiltrating the ranks....Or maybe I'll just be one 
of the corpses abandoned on the barricades.... ;-) 

DON'T REPLY to the email address in header.
It's an anti-spam.  Use the one below.
S L Forsburg, PhD  forsburg at salk.edu
Molecular Biology and Virology Lab          
The Salk Institute, La Jolla CA 

Women in Biology Internet Launch Page
"These are my opinions.  I don't have  
time to speak for anyone else."

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