When is enough enough?

I went touring a new day care center for my 3 year old yesterday, and I was happy to see that they have- in addition to the play area, the art area, the block area, the reading area, and the sensory table area- a science area. Yep, a whole area (read: table and bookshelf) devoted to science. Start em young!

Wait. Do I want my daughters to follow in my footsteps?

The sad answer to that question is... no. Unless they really really really insist. It is a tough profession, especially for women. I was sitting at a seminar two days ago in which the only female that made the cut in the search for a new faculty member was presenting her work. I sat in the back, so as to leave the front and center open for the old boys network - I mean- current faculty. Yes, those chairs were all filled with ... men. No, wait, I apologize; In the interests of full disclosure, I should tell you that there was one female. I'd never seen her before, but apparently there is a female faculty. They kept interrupting the candidate with questions- a normal occurance in this sort of situation. But what is not normal is that twice when they stopped her to ask a question, one of the other faculty would answer it, and then they all went off on a discussion amongst themselves while she stood at the front of the room perplexed and desperately trying to get a grasp of the situation. She seemed quite intelligent, her research is very good, she has papers in top notch journals (Science, Cancer Cell). They had invited her to come. And then they barely gave her a chance to speak.

This didn't happen with the men. She seemed equally competent, but the faculty didn't seem interested.

I sat in the back, and I realized that if I really wanted the job I wouldn't let that bother me. But I also decided that I could never have that job, when, 15 minutes later I snapped out of a glassy eyed daze just in time to hear the conclusions, and I realized that I have a hard enough time staying alert during these things, forget about asking intelligent questions of the speaker.

Then one of the professors made a completely inappropriate 'joke' and I began to wonder... why would I want to work with these people?

So here I sit, tucking my daughter into bed, and asking myself: why do I need daycare, why do a sacrifice my time that I could be spending with my young girls in pursuit of an academic research career that I am becoming increasingly more convinced that I will not enjoy? I've invested so much time in this career path... I can't quit now. Can I?

It is the eternal dilemma.


Lisa said...

It doesn't seem to me like you are quitting....it seems like you are moving in a new direction. And enjoying it. You won't ever give up all the time you have invested because it's knowledge and experience and all that good stuff that will bring you to new paths. Nothing wrong with that at all!

Nicole said...

I hear you loud and clear on this one. The balancing act is tough. I just found your blog and really enjoy it!