Sunday, March 30, 2008

Beware of the off-ramp

WaPost published After a Baby, Full Time or Part? It is subtitled, When Family and Career Collide, Working Mothers Struggle With Their Answers. Fathers, presumably, experience no such conflict.

I say, beware of the off-ramp. How do you know you will find an on-ramp when you are ready? In science, there is no on-ramp. Well, NSF (National Science Foundation) ran a one-time call for proposals for women who experienced career hardship due to family obligations. 7 years ago. I haven't seen anything else since. Until I see on-going programs with all the science funding agencies, until I see national labs allowing part-timers to act as P-Is (principal investigators) of projects, I would warn women to steer clear of the off-ramps. Don't even mention conflicted feelings about leaving your child.

2 comments:

  1. I can absolutely see how there would be no on-ramp in a science career. A very scary thing indeed. All that hard work and expertise blown away with a kiss. I believe parents who are happy make for good parents. If that includes full time jobs, so be it. Time is relative, truth is not. And children are better equipped than the rest of us to "handle the truth."

    Btw, let me know when you are in 'my' neighborhood. I also need to go back to the bookstore- they called me a week ago!

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  2. Your posts on this issue always make me sit back and think, Grace; thank you! I'm fortunate to work in a field where it's quite possible to ramp up and down between different levels of activity, but I need to be reminded that I'm one of the lucky few. When one stops and thinks about it coldly it's so obviously absurd and unfair that women pay such a massive financial penalty for doing the important social work of raising children; why are we not making a bigger collective fuss about it, I wonder?

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