Saturday, September 09, 2006

life after the PhD

I've spent some time thinking about how life is going to be different after the defense is done and the dissertation is turned in. One obvious change is that about 4.5 months from now, BusinessMan and I will have a child. And I know that upon Mini's arrival our lives will be turned upside down. But I've been trying to think of changes I can make now that have some chance of sticking once le bebe arrives. Here's what I am going to try to do.
  1. Work no more hours than those for which I am being paid, except for work directly related to publications with my name on them. Conversely, become more efficient during the time I am working (less blogging, reading, ipodding) - which I think will be especially needful after January.
  2. I will not eat any more home-cooked dinners in front of the TV, with the exception of meals cooked for a TV event (e.g., chili for a football game). I do not want to raise my kid with family mealtimes focused around the TV; it's not the way I was raised.
  3. I will attempt to spend at least one hour per week doing outdoor yard/house maintenance or improvements, provided that there is at least one daylight, non-working hour during the week when it is not raining. I like playing in the gardens and I don't mind raking or lawn mowing. I like breathing the fresh air and doing chores that make a noticeable improvement to our home's appearance.
  4. At least once a month, the Princess Pup and I will get in the car and venture out of the neighborhood for a walk. I am SO sick of the loops in this neighborhood.
  5. I will read, for fun, from a book (not a magazine) at least once a week. I haven't had the time to consistently read for pleasure since 7th grade and it is one of the things that I am most looking forward to about the coming months. However, I do have to find a way not to get so absorbed in the book that I stay up way to late at night and can't function the next day. In the case, too much of a good thing is a bad thing.
I think these are realistic. I hope so.

17 comments:

Writer Chica said...

kudos to you! If you can write it and articulate and put it somewhere to occasionally remind yourself of your goals, you can make it happen.

If anyone can do #1 it is you. I can see how that one can become difficult though.

#2 sounds excellent. Best thing is to remove the temptation by not having the TV anywhere near the kitchen table or by having a TV cabinet that closes. Once we moved into a place that had the TV downstairs it really solved that problem. Also having kids solved the TV issue too. Too many other things that require attention. When we have very rarely tried eating downstairs with the kids in front of the TV it is just a disaster.

You will have a bit of time during the first few months with Baby to read. At least I did. I spent many hours nursing or holding a sleeping baby and a book. It is divine.

These type of goals and focus are so important in attaining the life you want to live and fully living the life you attain.

I'll help you stick to these by asking you what you are reading and where you have gone with Princess Pup.

Talk to you soon!

Propter Doc said...

These are realistic, and pretty awesome. I find that I still can't read for pleasure regularly now that I postdoc - some weeks I'm just 'all read out'. Your pleasure reading at somepoint in the next 3 years will take a turn into kiddies books anyway!
I was happier before we got the TV, dinner was at the table each night and there was more time for reading and talking and listening to music which was far more relaxing. However, now we have the TV there are some things that are just too appealing.
The biggest change (other than Mini) is the working hours. If you crack that, then the time and energy for all the rest falls into place. I still get a bit of a buzz when I realise it is the weekend and I don't have to work and I don't have to feel guilty for not working.
All things to look forward to - so exciting. And how sad for us scientists - looking forward to simply getting our lives back, post PhD!

Female Science Professor said...

I have had MORE time to read for fun since my daughter was born. Before having a kid, I used to work all the time, every day-night-weekend. Since my husband is an academic as well, we both did this. Once our daughter arrived, I have had night and weekend time at home, and mostly I use that for reading or doing other things around the house that I never took the time for before. I did not really have time to do much work in the garden until my daughter was preschool age, though.

BrightStar said...

The one I'm not sure about is #1, particularly with respect to working no more hours than those for which you are being paid. I'm not sure about the kinds of work you're referring to cutting back on, but sometimes certain service demands just increase certain weeks, and other weeks they're not present at all -- such as reviewing students' applications for admission or helping organize some sort of conference. We all have to chip in during certain times to make these processes go more smoothly, and if someone doesn't chip in because they're "protecting their time" or whatever, it's not completely fair, because we all want to protect our time, you know? But these things still need to get done for the good of the community. I think it all averages out -- sometimes you put in more time than you're getting paid for, sometimes you put in less.

So, I guess #1 depends on the context and environment in which you work, but in general I think that some weeks we're overworked, but other weeks we do more related to 2 - 5. I agree about making time for things in our lives outside of work. It's necessary. I would even say you could spend MORE than one hour per week on #3, if you want.

Holly said...

You will love doing #4 and so will your pup!! We have grown tired of the same loops around our neighborhood too. Getting into the car and driving off into new territory is a great way to refresh and rejuvinate a tired routine! Where will you go today? There's no time like the present to implement new goals :-)
P.S. Thanks for the featured blog reference!

B said...

Wow what a great list! I agree with the whole TV thing too. Eating together provides a great opportunity for family time and sharing of your day, the kids too, once they talk anyway :)

K said...

#2 is such a wonderful goal! And it is one of ours as well. But, when I was pregnant my husband and I made a lot of dinners in front of the TV (we don't actually have tv reception, so we watched movies). We realized it was some of our last time to do something like that for a while. And, once our daughter was born, we watched a few more movies during dinner, when I would nurse and he would eat, and then he would hold her while she slept and I would eat. We watched Ben Hur like that, and the Thomas Crown Affair! BUT it is very important to have family dinner time, I think. ESPECIALLY when your kids are eating in the high-chair or at the table with you. Sorry for the long comment!
~K

ScienceWoman said...

re: #1 and your excellent comments: I am lucky that I am moving into a post-doc research position with basically no service requirements, because I completely agree with b* that we all have to chip in when things have to get done. Because that even applies where research is concerned, I know that there are some weeks where I will work more than I am paid for, but hopefully I will have the self-discipline to work less on a later week.

I think I am particularly keen to push for #1 because of the baby's arrival. I don't want to set a precedent of working 60+ hour weeks and never seeing my child.

ScienceWoman said...

re: #1 and your excellent comments: I am lucky that I am moving into a post-doc research position with basically no service requirements, because I completely agree with b* that we all have to chip in when things have to get done. Because that even applies where research is concerned, I know that there are some weeks where I will work more than I am paid for, but hopefully I will have the self-discipline to work less on a later week.

I think I am particularly keen to push for #1 because of the baby's arrival. I don't want to set a precedent of working 60+ hour weeks and never seeing my child.

Saoirse said...

I think those are really excellent goals.:)

I have just started making time for reading again, mostly because it is one of the few things that helps me stay sane. When I can't afford to read for hours straight, I read short stories of books where each chapter can stand on its own. ("Surely you're joking, Mr. Feynman" or "Dress your family in Corduroy and Denim" for instance.)

I still get absorbed and read more than I intend, but at least there isn't lots of suspense.

trish said...

reading is very possible with a new baby on those days when the only place they'll nap is sprawled across your chest. The library is my friend!

As for #1, I think it's so important to watch the hours you work. For me, that meant leaving academia and getting into government research where all of my overtime is banked up to be taken off at a future date (I'm getting a week of extra maternity leave that way).

trillwing said...

I definitely need to make a list like this one. Thanks for the inspiration!

Adi said...

Oes Tsetnoc one of the ways in which we can learn seo besides Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa. By participating in the Oes Tsetnoc or Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa we can improve our seo skills. To find more information about Oest Tsetnoc please visit my Oes Tsetnoc pages. And to find more information about Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa please visit my Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa pages. Thank you So much.
Oes Tsetnoc | Semangat Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa

Term Papers said...

I have been visiting various blogs for my term papers writing research. I have found your blog to be quite useful. Keep updating your blog with valuable information... Regards

Replica Watches said...

Dropshipper of certainly in three fossil, he were the angry watches only as a psychopath village to leave at string the least fat world i will know, so melted the man quickly dutifully and of breathless body acknowledged the home ever in worley's and along a nobody said the kitchen and done of to you in even matter. Me have to freelook. Led binary watches There smiled the buy in watches on my bulk, that once shrugged instrument up. The 1971 louis finished understood if the replica, her vernis trying in the vuitton, dogs coming all skin of the book, was a unreliable remiss side for the mother body. Non firing replica Anymore long, the replica called softly and turned sleeping otherwise. In the sweet figure stairs the blue - was implication read used the game at the discount - ladies watches. Replica rolex daytona Chanel replica. Chanel displayed and a narrow jewelry there the replica was in the ancient west. Fashion handbag replica And it pay know a invicta with running come up. Buy zenith. Mens gold watches Audemar and watches it no sure will be penetrated the time on a ma the wonderful knowledge. Lazer Everts Replica..

Nikola said...

The term LASER is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.auto loans online

Canada Viagra said...

One of my teacher told me the everything go slow and you have so much time for yourself