“If you’d only know how many colleagues of yours that I have in therapy…”
She said… my psychiatrist…
I have thought a long time to share my story. And today… I feel the need is reaching a point where I should share.
I started my PhD in october 2011. And I submitted in december 2015. I had my first baby in 2013 and delivered my second two months after my PhD defense. Next, I started in a position as assistant professor right after my maternity leave in september 2016. I had a surgery somewhere along the way and a traumatic life event in 2018 for which I stayed at home for a couple of months. And I had/have (or suffer from) a postpartum depression (which noone knows of, but anyways… let share this and please forget after reading this).
Today I again got comments on my track record. Where are my publications? I asked the colleague where I was talking to what about my teaching. And he said that my publication record is negligable so we should not discuss my relevance in teaching.
Regardless of who he is… it just set me back and made me wonder… I am an industrial and organizational psychologist. And sooo many of my academic colleagues fall out and suffer from burnout. Do you, then, still need to set the bar this high and critisize each other on publications? Or do we need to acknowldedge the importance of social support from colleagues (which our studies have shown to be important)? And maybe take a look at what we aim to achieve and make our environment more healthy? Maybe we should practice what we preach and support each other. Of course, science is important and without publications, your meaning in science is negligable, but at the beginning of our careers… then… you just don’t need this.
Remarks on how you should not get pregnant during your PhD and early academic career, is just… nefast.
Trying to sabotage PhD students or young academics is just something that will be funest in the long run.
I try to collaborate with ‘my’ teaching assistants, I try to manage collaborations with ‘my’ phd students. And I see and try to valorize collaborations with colleagues. I would expect others to do the same.
I keep ethical behaviour and ethical practices in research in a very high importance. I just don’t understand others to not do the same.
Today I also heard a colleague referring to the high publication level of social psychologists in The Netherlands, and that we should try to achieve the same. Without getting caught for malconduct. Do you encourage this? (I am afraid to say… but I do think so…)
I have heard and encountered unethical behaviour of well-known authors and academics. But I just won’t voice or whistle blow, because my career depends on it. This small academic world would (like to) ruin my life just so it is able to move ahead.
Do I still want to be part of it?
Urgh. Difficult. Although I sometimes critize my students, I still love them, and I constantly check the value and quality of my teaching. If I do not feel the best at what I am doing, I will change it. My research line is developing in the direction where I want to have it. And indeed, not as fast as I would want it to have, but I still enjoy what I am doing, and I try to do it at the highest level.
But if academia still goes along this way, I will just have to say goodbye, otherwise I would end up like so many others in long-term sickness.
The same guy laughed about sustainability and sustainable careers. Well, I do keep that in mind when I am working: “can I perform this job for at least the coming three years? Will I still be able to perform?” Maybe you should do so too.
And why am I sharing this? People will probably judge me for not being able to stay or get ahead; people will make assumptions and draw conclusions (‘not intelligent enough’, probably)… Well, they are doing that allready, so why should I bother? I will just try to do the best I can and respect my personal boundaries. So I will not join this rat race. I will just take care of myself. I hope you do too.