If work/life balance is unachievable, people should focus on acknowledging that life is a journey, not a goal, says Melissa Greven.
Work–life balance is a concept including proper prioritizing between “work” (career and ambition) and “lifestyle” (health, pleasure, leisure, family and spiritual development/meditation). Related, though broader, terms include “lifestyle calmbalance” and “lifestyle choices”.
The scientific discipline as the primary unit of internal differentiation of science is an invention of nineteenth-century society. There exists a long semantic prehistory of
disciplina as a term for the ordering of knowledge for purposes of instruction in schools and universities. But, only the nineteenth century establishes real disciplinary
communication systems. They are based on specialization of scientists, on role differentiation in the organizations of science, the emergence of standard forms of scientific public
ation and the rise of the research imperative which demands an incessant search for novelties. All these structural changes coalesce to the disciplinary community as a new type of communication system in science. After having been established, the discipline functions as the unit of st
ructure formation in the social system of science; in systems of higher education, as subject domain for teaching and lear
ning in schools; and finally as designation of occupational and professional roles.
This whole idea of a work/life balance is a modern day artificial construct, a first-world problem. There exist several self-help books, web sites and apps promising tips on how to achieve this mythical equilibrium. But perhaps the best technique is to acknowledge that there is no balance—work is a part of life, and life is an ebb and flow.
Again, there is no work-life balance in academia. You need to figure out what works for you and when you work best.I know my best time is between 8am and 1pm, so I usually work between 8am and 4-6pm. Although I aim at keeping the evenings and weekends free it is important to be flexible.When an experiment lasts until midnight I stay in the lab, but I make sure my partner is well-informed and understands why. I arrange for him to pick me up when I’m done and I usually go in late the next day.
Modern technology, while designed to make our lives simpler, also has made our lives more complicated. In the mid-20th century, work was confined to the workplace—working late meant staying at the office a few extra hours.
Melissa Greven is a winner of the 2015 Boston Naturejobs Career Expo journalism competition. Long ago as an optimistic youngster, Melissa intended to get an undergrad degree in chemistry, but instead, a boy persuaded her to study art history. She ended up marrying that boy and has two fantastic kids. Melissa later returned to school to pursue her science studies, and holds a B.S. in environmental science from UMass Amherst. She currently is a Ph.D. student in biomedical science at UMass Medical School where she studies the causal relationship between chromatin dynamics and replication timing. First one on the dance floor and the last one off, Melissa is happiest when running or with a beer in hand. Keep up with her attempts to communicate about science at sknowe.com.