I started this blog last summer, but didn’t finish, so let me kick off this year’s blog by finishing it…
A colleague sent me this blog from a Harvard Computer Science professor on how to have a balance and happy tenure track experience.
Very interesting advices! I especially liked her considering the job as a 7-year postdoc (FAS tenure track is 7 years) and to work in fixed number of hours and amount. Actually her advices could be good even for people with tenure. I thought life after tenure will be more relaxed, but the reality is that life after the tenure could be like on the hamster wheel. So it is good to read an article like this sometimes, slow down a little to smell the flowers and listen to our hearts. Indeed, we may not be the perfect parent, researcher or professor, but there will certainly be a place for us in this world, and that will just have to be good enough for me.
Once I was quite stressed out at work, and my PhD advisor Jun Liu kindly offered to chat over coffee. He asked me whether I liked what I was doing. I said yes but there was just too much to do. Jun said, “That makes the solution easier: pick the life style you want to have, and make work fit in it.” Another colleague Zhiping Weng also once told me that we don’t want work to kill us, so if sometimes we have to let some balls drop because we are too swamped, there is no need to feel guilty. Before that, I often felt guilty for not contributing enough on writing a grant, delaying paper submission deadlines, or giving an unsatisfactory talk. These conversations definitely made my life much better! I have learned to not feel guilty on past failures, so I can save some energy to do better the next time.