Such "humble opinions" fly in the face of, at the very least, a significant body of empirical evidence. One might peruse the work of, for example, Carmen Binnewies (e.g. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1348/096317909X418049/abstract) or the heavily cited works of Charlotte Fritz (various work found at http://pdx.edu/psy/charlotte-fritz-phd). Time away from work seems to be very important to actually doing good work while one is at work.
I will let better qualified posters (e.g., parents) consider whether 14 hours a week with their children is preferable for all involved (and at all ages?). Though research also consistently shows benefits of parents being able to help check on homework completion and provide other extra-curricular education to their kids at various ages; something academics would seem well equipped to do--and the children may be less happy about it, but that's mostly irrelevant in this case to whether it benefits them! There also appear to be benefits of eating together regularly as a family. As far as work being the most important activity making a difference, a cursory perusal of the governance literature (e.g. Nobel laureate Elinor Ostrom's decades of work) shows that there can be substantial need for individual and community involvement in governance (which takes time outside of work!), and Prugh, Costanza and Daly, 2000, (among others) posit that high engagement/involvement in the public (e.g. governance) sphere is a necessary but not sufficient condition for (ecologically) sound policies. The growing interest in deliberative and participatory democracy would also reflect such findings. (Prugh et al. point out that the Greek word "idiot" evolved in part from a derogatory term for someone who didn't take part in public life and democratic governance activities.) And indeed, for the trust and "social capital" of a functional society to be maintained, "networking" -- spending time at work and "at play" together -- is pretty essential. And certainly, history shows that overcoming systematic disadvantages requires plenty of time for communities and groups of people (or perhaps the U.S. "Founding Fathers", the abolitionists, the suffragists, and Civil Rights leaders should have simply worked harder and longer, rather than spending all that time and effort organizing and agitating). I also would find it far more embarrassing for "the public" to get the perception that academics think spending significant time with your family is a frivolous, marginal, or unnecessary pursuit, or that, sure, not only do we respect those who work two jobs, but further, we think that's the way they obviously would prefer it. There is really little reason to think, from the literature, that a life devoted singularly or primarily to work is a healthy, wise, or sustainable way to live for most people. It is, of course, perfectly fine for those who find their lives to be most enjoyable that way to do so--but to insist that what one finds most gratifying for oneself is also the best for all others or society in general, in the face of (or without being aware of) considerable counter-evidence is, at the least, insufficiently rigorous. On Wed, 2 May 2012 09:11:00 -0400, Robert Hamilton <roberthamil...@alc.edu> wrote: >I don't think people are nasty because they work hard. In fact, it could >well be that people who don't get as much done get nasty/envious and >backstab more productive people...but I could be wrong about that! I see >"work" as a much higher level social interaction that say "networking". >Working with other people to actually get things done is a lot tougher >than being friendly and fun at parties. I see "the best steel goes >through the fire" as representing that ability, which comes from >motivation. If the issue is productivity then the harder working person, >who is so because they want to do the work, will be the more productive. >Academics very generally have a lot of free time, and can do a lot of >the things we do at our convenience at a place of our choosing. FWIW I >would not take a child into the field because it is too dangerous; you >are focused on something other than being the caregiver of the child in >a situation that has a lot of aspect unfamiliar to the child, but that's >JMHO. > >People who spend a lot of time seeking recognition do get some very >transient "success" with their work, but it quickly dissipates and what >stand over time is the well done science that is almost (but not >exclusively) done be people who seek the joy of doing the work over the >gratification of recognition and social status. If the doing of the work >isn't enough for someone, they have unrealistic expectations of life, >IMHO. What someone else thinks is only relevant if and when they are >involved in the work itself. Gossips are losers. > >IMHO "work" is the real social activity we do that makes a difference. >It's the doing of it that counts. I don't see the point of spending too >much time seeking amusement. Doing something is far more fulfilling than >watching something; and you can take that wherever you want to go with >it! ;^) Children will be happy interacting with other children, and >don't need Mom and Dad in their face 24/7; maybe 2/7 would work better, >and in our jobs, there is really no problem finding that 2. > >Family is no excuse for non-productivity. In fact, not opinion, using >family as such an excuse is somewhat despicable! > >Robert Hamilton, PhD >Professor of Biology >Alice Lloyd College >Pippa Passes, KY 41844 > > >-----Original Message----- >From: Ecological Society of America: grants, jobs, news >[mailto:ECOLOG-L@LISTSERV.UMD.EDU] On Behalf Of Martin Meiss >Sent: Tuesday, May 01, 2012 11:53 AM >To: ECOLOG-L@LISTSERV.UMD.EDU >Subject: Re: [ECOLOG-L] Families in Science - Balancing your personal >and professional life > > Interesting observations, Robert H., perhaps summed up by the >metaphor "The best steel goes through the fire." But what does it imply >for implementing social policy, or academic policy? Deliberately harsh >or downright brutal conditions might be appropriate for training Navy >Seals, and tough ghetto conditions might produce the best boxers, but >should this apply in academia? Aren't high academic standards and >intellectual rigor better tools for training productive scientists? > > And if these high standards are not accompanied by things like >support for family and other "work/life balance" issues, what are we >selecting for? The most ruthless, cutthroat competitors? Such people >might be very poor at the cooperative aspects of science, and so science >would suffer. > > Would we be selecting for people with "iron constitutions" that >makes them resistant to ulcers and mental breakdown? Perhaps, but >people who might be "weak" by this criterion could have brilliant minds >that would make great contributions. > > Are we really in danger of making life so cushy for students and >scientists that they will grow complacent, slack off on their work, and >merely warm their academic chairs? And even if scientific productivity >were to fall off a bit, is that the end of the world? > > I think that harsh conditions, such as those imposed by >totalitarian regimes, can boost performance in the short term, but in >the long run it is unstable. People hate it and they rebel against it >by passive/aggressive non-cooperations,, voting with their feet, >sabotage, etc. The history of the twentieth century shows this. And >smart, qualified people leaving academia shows it, even if less >dramatically. > > I think these are factors we should bear in mind when considering >how the academic life should be structured. > > >Martin M. Meiss > > >2012/4/30 Robert Hamilton <roberthamil...@alc.edu> > >> I have had both young men and young women (much more often young >> women) in my classes who are/were single parents, working and going to > >> school full time and raising children. IMHO they have a much better >> sense of the urgency of life, and while they are not the top students, > >> the ones that get through do very well, much better (in general) than >> those who simply live in a dorm or some rental housing of some sort >> and do nothing they are obliged to do but go to school. JMHO again, >> but it seems that those who are given a tough row to hoe early in >> life, and hoe it, find the challenges of the rest of life a lot easier > >> and get a lot more done than those who have it really easy, and this >> is as true of Ecologists as any other sorts of professionals. Having >> to both raise a family, including finding the resources needed to >> raise that family, represent a very common challenge in any society >> and it just seems to me that we academics, who are obliged to teach >> 7-15 hours of classes a week for 32 weeks, mentor some grad students >> and maintain a research program at the most, have it pretty soft, with > >> plenty of time for family and other obligations. >> >> Robert Hamilton, PhD >> Professor of Biology >> Alice Lloyd College >> Pippa Passes, KY 41844 >> >> >> -----Original Message----- >> From: Ecological Society of America: grants, jobs, news >> [mailto:ECOLOG-L@LISTSERV.UMD.EDU] On Behalf Of Clara B. Jones >> Sent: Monday, April 30, 2012 1:11 AM >> To: ECOLOG-L@LISTSERV.UMD.EDU >> Subject: Re: [ECOLOG-L] Families in Science - Balancing your personal >> and professional life >> >> ...just out of curiosity...are some suggesting that people, in >> particular, women, should not be surgeons or pediatricians or >> line-persons for an electric or cable company or members of First >> Response Teams in, say, Ecology, or soldiers or on-call nurses, say, >> members of anesthetic support teams, or firefighters or crisis >> negotiators or specialized rescue workers, say, EMTs or fieldworkers >> studying crepuscular taxa or safari guides or owners of high-traffic >> motels or restaurants, say, a 24-h diner on Rt. 22 in NJ, or deep-sea >> "fishermen" or CDC epidemiological specialists or priests or mountain >> climbers or nannies or sanitation workers or medical examiners or Red >> Cross pilots or members of the US Senate from, say, CA or Oregon, or >> any number of additional tasks and, dare I say, passions...and * >> life*-skills... >> >> On Sun, Apr 29, 2012 at 6:02 PM, karen golinski >> <golinski.li...@gmail.com>wrote: >> >> > I wonder how a person who is regularly away from home from 6 AM >> > until after >> > 10 PM really raises a family? Most kids are sleeping during the "at >> home" >> > time of 10 PM-6 AM. >> > >> > It saddens me to think that people want to silence the discussion of > >> > positive models of work-life balance. Just because people have to >> > work >> >> > the long hours described below does not mean it is a good (or >> > productive) way to live our lives. >> > >> > On Sun, Apr 29, 2012 at 1:20 PM, Robert Hamilton >> > <roberthamil...@alc.edu >> > >wrote: >> > >> > > I must say that I find this conversation somewhat embarrassing, >> > > and hope it never gets out into the public domain. I have and have > >> > > always had friends and neighbours who work 2 or 3 jobs to keep >> things going. >> > > Literally going to work at 6AM and not coming home till after 10PM > >> > > working jobs at places like Walmart and McDonalds. Lots of people >> > > work >> > > 8+ hours per say 50 weeks a year, like say my Dad, and had no >> > > 8+ problem >> > > raising a family and contributing to the community. This whole >> > > thing >> >> > > is a study in extreme narcissism. How's that for a wet blanket! >> > > >> > > Robert Hamilton, PhD >> > > Professor of Biology >> > > Alice Lloyd College >> > > Pippa Passes, KY 41844 >> > > >> > > >> > > -----Original Message----- >> > > From: Ecological Society of America: grants, jobs, news >> > > [mailto:ECOLOG-L@LISTSERV.UMD.EDU] On Behalf Of Jahi Chappell >> > > Sent: Saturday, April 28, 2012 10:07 PM >> > > To: ECOLOG-L@LISTSERV.UMD.EDU >> > > Subject: Re: [ECOLOG-L] Families in Science - Balancing your >> > > personal and professional life >> > > >> > > While putting resources into science, including ecology, is of >> > > course a wonderful, necessary, and valuable thing, assuredly >> > > supporting our own families with our presence, time, and energy >> > > (and >> >> > > societal resources) is at least as wonderful, necessary, and >> > > valuable. Indeed, as many benefits as flow from science and >> > > science funding, we know that having strong families and >> > > communities makes everyone better off, ceteris parabus, and having > >> > > strong families and >> >> > > communities requires time and resource investment from everyone. >> > > >> > > Even granting the proposition that we in the US produce the "best >> > > and most successful scientists in the world", all accounts >> > > indicate that we certainly don't produce the highest average of >> > > "happy and most secure and successful families in the world." We >> > > have a *lot* of those, but alas, our median is likely much lower >> > > than our mean, and both are likely behind countries like those >> > > Andres analyzed. So much of what so many are lacking are basic >> > > needs, connections, support networks, and resources, something >> > > depending as much or more >> >> > > on good and participatory governance than new scientific >> > > discovery--we need more time for more participation outside our >> > > work >> and research, not less. >> > > >> > > On 4/27/12 10:22 AM, "David L. McNeely" <mcnee...@cox.net> wrote: >> > > >> > > This is not meant as a wet blanket, as I encourage family friendly > >> > > employment practices for all countries and for all occupations. >> > > But, I wonder how those figures would look if all areas of science > >> > > were considered? It may be that smaller economies, and the >> > > Scandinavian countries in particular, put a greater fraction of >> > > their available resources for scientific research into ecology >> > > than do larger economies and non-Scandinavian countries. Is U.S. >> > > science >> >> > > more diversified than Finnish or Icelandic science? >> > > >> > > >> > > David McNeely >> > > >> > > ---- Andres Lopez-Sepulcre <lopezsepul...@gmail.com> wrote: >> > > Since we're at it, it did the same calculation for all four >> > > countries ranked first in gender equality by the Global Gender Gap > >> > > Report. All four, as far as I remember, provide generous paternity > >> > > leaves that guarantee job security and can be shared between >> > > mother >> and father. >> > > ISI indexed publications in Ecology per capita (countries ranked >> > > in order of 'gender equality index') >> > > Iceland: 1167 >> > > Norway: 1794 >> > > Finland: 1500 >> > > Sweden: 1361 >> > > Not only do these countries do significantly better in ecology >> > > 'per capita' than the less family-oriented scientific powerhouses >(e.g. >> > > USA: 650, UK: 660), but it almost seems that if anything, their >> > > ranking in the gender equality index is correlated with their >> > > productivity, not an 'impediment' ... safe for Iceland, but do >> > > remember that Iceland suffered the largest financial collapse in >> > > world history in these last 5 years. >> > > Even when this small sample and oversimplified analysis is not >> > > proof >> >> > > of anything, I hope it can change peoples' perceptions that >> > > countries that have increased social welfare, gender equality and >> > > more protective labour laws are less productive. >> > > Andres Lopez-Sepulcre >> > > Laboratoire d'Ecologie, UMR 7625 >> > > Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris >> > > alo...@biologie.ens.fr >> > > http://web.me.com/asepulcre >> > > On Apr 27, 2012, at 6:43 PM, Cecilia Hennessy wrote: >> > > PERFECT response, thank you so much! If we Americans could stop >> > > patting ourselves on the back long enough to realize that other >> > > countries have successful ways of doing things too, maybe we could > >> > > learn from international example and progress more efficiently. >> > > cheers! >> > > >> > > On Fri, Apr 27, 2012 at 7:48 AM, Andres Lopez-Sepulcre >> > > <lopezsepul...@gmail.com >> > > > wrote: >> > > "...however, why should the USA modify the system producing among >> > > the best and most successful scientists in the world..." >> > > >> > > I would simply like to add a quick clarification. I struggled with > >> > > how to respond to this US-centric statement. There is no doubt >> > > that the USA is a scientific powerhouse and I have wonderful >> > > things to say about my experience as a scientist there, which has >> > > brought me wonderful collaborations I hope last long. However I am > >> > > not sure it is fair to compare a country of over 300 million >> > > inhabitants with another of 5 (Finland). In fact, I took the >> > > liberty do do a quick search in Web of Science for articles in the > >> > > area of 'Environmental >> Sciences and Ecology' >> > > for both countries in the last 5 years. USA showed 204,414 in >> > > front of >> > > 8,119 Finnish articles indexed in ISI. If one thinks 'per capita', > >> > > the USA has produced 650 indexed articles in ecology per million >> > > inhabitants, while Finland has produced 1,500. With this I do not >> > > mean to say that Finland is better or worse... but just to show >> > > that, when the comparison is done 'fairly', maternity leaves do >> > > not seem to be hampering Finnish ecology. Productivity can be >> > > achieved without equality and social welfare suffering. >> > > >> > > >> > > >> > > >> > > >> > > Andres Lopez-Sepulcre >> > > Laboratoire d'Ecologie, UMR 7625 >> > > Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris >> > > alo...@biologie.ens.fr >> > > >> > > http://web.me.com/asepulcre >> > > >> > > >> > > >> > > >> > > >> > > >> > > >> > > >> > > On Apr 12, 2012, at 6:52 PM, Amanda Quillen wrote: >> > > >> > > "...however, why should the USA modify the system producing among >> > > the best and most successful scientists in the world..." >> > > >> > > >> > > >> > > -- >> > > Cecilia A. Hennessy >> > > PhD Candidate >> > > Purdue University >> > > 715 W. State St >> > > Pfendler Hall, G004 >> > > West Lafayette, IN 47907-2061 >> > > lab: 765-496-6868 >> > > cell: 574-808-9696 >> > > >> > > -- >> > > David McNeely >> > > >> > > -- >> > > M. Jahi Chappell, Ph.D. >> > > Assistant Professor of Environmental Science and Justice School of > >> > > the Environment Faculty Affiliate, Center for Social and >> > > Environmental Justice Faculty Affiliate, Program in Public Affairs > >> > > Washington State University Vancouver Vancouver, WA 98686 >> > > >> > > Tel: (360) 546-9413 >> > > Fax: (360) 546-9064 >> > > Faculty Page: >> > > http://directory.vancouver.wsu.edu/people/michael-chappell >> > > Chappell Lab: http://agroecopeople.wordpress.com/ >> > > Email: m.jahi.chapp...@vancouver.wsu.edu >> > > >> > >> >> >> >> -- >> clara b. jones >> >========================================================================